Baby Personality Types

Though all babies may seem just the same at their birth, they do have different personality traits. These personality attributes of a child roughly determine his nature, character and approach, after he grows. It is not necessary that the characteristics your child exhibits in the nascent stage will remain unchanged. There is a high possibility of him becoming a completely different personality after he matures. However, knowing the personality type of your baby helps you in dealing with him. It becomes easy to understand the child and also to determine what type of treatment to give him. So, to know the various baby personality types, read on.

Highly sensitive
The children in this category are over-sensitive to the slightest of change around.
This makes them fearful and cautious, needing a lot of support, especially in a new environment. Moreover, they are prone to mood swings and can also lead into depression easily. However, these children are very perceptive and detail oriented. They may overreact in certain situations or with people they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. As a result, they become panicky and noisy in crowded places.

Self Absorbed
Children belonging to this group are usually passive and need a lot of encouragement to respond. They do not respond easily to people and objects around. These kids are lost in their own world. This seems to keep them aloof from the humdrum activities of life. As a result, hey have low concentration levels and are required to work harder. They are also content with their way of thinking and remain self absorbed in their own world of fantasies.

These types of kids tend to defy all rules and regulations. No restriction works for them. In case of impositions, they become upset. They are argumentative and engage in power struggles. Unlike the self absorbed children, defiant children are headstrong and wish to do things in their own way. This makes them successful in studies and work in future. However, they are hyper and need to practice restraint.

The set of children belonging to this category are restless. This is the major cause for being inattentive. Though they show interest in a lot of things, they are not able to sustain it. They cannot hold onto one single thing and flit from place to place and toy to toy. These children overreact and under react to different stimuli, depending on the situation and have discovered to be inattentive.


Kids belonging to this category are extremely impulsive. They naturally act first and think later. Generally, these children are healthy. They also have fighting ability. They indulge in sports and other physical activities. They are enthusiastic but do not stick to things for long, in case of too many obstructions. These children need to be reflective and patient. They grow up to become successful in their endeavors as they are active and creative, provided they practice restraint.

If you have just had a child, you must be realizing the importance of sleeping at night. As soon as you put your head on the pillow and are just about to drift off to sleep, your new-born starts wailing. Bone-tired and weary, you have no option, but to go to him and be there till he feels secure enough to go back to sleep. The only consolation that can be given here is the fact that almost all the new parents have to go through this particular problem. However, following the right steps and sticking to them can help you put your baby in a sleeping routine, gradually, and ensure you that precious good nights’ sleep. In the following lines, we will tell you how to make your baby sleep at night.

Ways to Get Baby to Sleep through Night

Daytime Activity
Try to make your child indulge in some kind of activity in the day. Keep him engaged by talking to him, playing with him, singing songs to him, and so on. Make sure that he is exposed to light and normal household noises. This makes the baby know that the daytime is meant for activity. At the same time, the stimulation will help your baby in getting better sleep at night.

Pre-bedtime Routine
Establish a pre-bedtime routine for you baby. This involves soothing activities that make him relaxed. You can bathe him in lukewarm water, sings lullabies or read stories to him. If you play bedtime music, try to stick to the same tunes. Make sure that the pre-bedtime activities are not stimulating for the child. Following the same things daily will get your child into a sleeping pattern.

Create the Right Ambience
The right ambience goes a long way towards helping your child to sleep at night. Make sure that his sleeping room is dark and quiet, away from the slightest of interruptions. Even the hum of a dishwasher or dryer can interfere with the sleep of your baby. When you prepare him for sleep, talk in hushed tones, use dim lights and make calm movements.

Make Sure Baby is Awake
Put you baby to bed when he is drowsy, but still awake and not fast asleep. This will help him associate his bed with the process of falling asleep. At the same time, try to ensure that your baby takes all of his naps, even in the daytime, in his bed only. This way, whenever he is put down in bed, he will know that it is the time to go to sleep.

Give Time
Remember that most of the babies create a bit of fuss, like crying, before going off to sleep. So, don’t pick him up as soon as he creates the first noise after being put down to bed. Wait for a few minutes and if the crying does not stop even then, speak to him calmly, stroke his back and reassure that you are there. However, do not pick him up. This will make him feel secure, while making him aware of the fact that crying will not cancel his sleeping routine.

Do Not Panic

A baby is bound to wriggle, squirm and twitch in his sleep. This is perfectly normal and is bound to happen with your child too. Do not rush to his aid as soon as he makes the first fussing noise. Wait for a few minutes. It might be possible that he is just settling down for sleep. However, if you feel that it has been going on for considerable period of time, go to him and reassure that you are there.

Baby Sleep Cycles

We all know that babies have varying sleeping patterns. They require much more sleep in comparison to adults. On an average, babies under the age of three months sleep nearly twice as much as their parents. Moreover, half of this takes place during the daytime. Newborn babies or infants do not sleep for a very long stretch at a time, as they need to wake up for small feeds. Up to three months, babies sleep in cycles through the day, with longer spells at night. Though the duration of the cycle varies from baby to baby, a normal baby sleeps for about two hours at a time in the day and four to six hours at night.

Just like any other adult, babies also experience different phases of sleep. There are different levels of sleep that we switch over to and from, such as drowsiness down through light sleep and dream sleep into deep sleep. This is basically a cycle, following which we come back up again through dream sleep and light sleep to the surface, before going down again. This sleep cycle holds true for both babies and adults and occurs about five times a night. On a biological note, these sleep cycles appear in babies even before they are born.

While the baby is in dream sleep, his eyes dart back and forth under his eyelid, which is known as REM or Random Eye Movement. The rest of the body still appears to be still, except for occasional twitches or irregular breathing. On the contrary in a sound sleep, the baby breathes deeply and regularly. Mostly the body is quite still at such times, it may occasionally make little sucking movements with her mouth or "startle". These sudden jerks of the whole body are known as hypnagogic startles and are completely normal.

You and Your Newborn Baby:
a guide to the first months after birth
by Linda Todd

Regardless of whether labor is long or short, whether it is hard or easy whether a baby is born vaginally or by cesarean, most parents recall the first hours and days after birth as crystal-clear images surrounded by haze. It is in this haze that you first take in your baby and make a giant leap from pregnancy to parenting.

Despite all the anticipatory parenting done before conception and during pregnancy, despite weeks of feeling movement within and fantasizing about your baby, despite months of having strange dreams, worrisome thoughts, and musings about what kind of parent you will be, the first time you hold your baby in your arms and call yourself mother or father, mama or papa, mommy or daddy, an awareness floods over you that life will never be the same again. Another human being is now dependent upon you for survival. More than anything else, you want to be the best parent possible.

Your awareness of your baby's dependency and your desire to be a good parent will together be a great source of energy and a great source of stress. Both are part of being a parent.

Becoming a good parent means much more than knowing a lot about babies. Ask pediatric doctors or nurses what it was like for them to be new parents. They will tell you that all their knowledge about babies was not enough to keep them from being over whelmed by their own babies. All new parents feel the same way. All new parents work at knowing, understanding, and loving their babies. Your baby will work just as hard at learning to know, understand, and love you. This is the process of attachment-the work that parents and babies do together to form a deep and lasting love. It is what becoming a family is all about.

This book is written to give you some help as you make the transition from pregnancy to parenting. It offers ideas on things you can do to make this time of change easier. It is written as much to encourage as to teach you. Besides providing the information you need about taking care of yourself and your baby, it can help build your confidence in your own wisdom about your family's needs. You will find the postpartum period easier if you know what to expect during this time, if you actively participate in health-care decisions, and if you build a network of support that nurtures your growing family.

New families in the United States face some challenges that families in most other countries do not. In the United States, where nearly 99 percent of women give birth in hospitals, the average hospital stay after childbirth is two days for a woman who has given birth vaginally, three to four days for a woman who has given birth by cesarean. In many communities, new families are discharged from the hospital within twenty-four hours of birth. Such early discharge will probably become the norm by the year 2000.

In most other countries, both industrialized and developing, the postpartum period is seen as being at least as important as the prenatal period. Because of this, women giving birth in hospitals have longer stays. More importantly, services are brought to the homes of new families. No matter how long the stay in a hospital or birth center, the family's transition to home-and to sole responsibility for the newborn-is overwhelming. in many countries all new families are visited at home by midwives, nurses, or other trained personnel who teach parenting skills, assess the mother's and baby's health, and provide moral support (and sometimes, as in the Netherlands, government-paid helpers do the housekeeping!). In the United States, such services are now provided to only a small minority of women.

Other Changes You May Notice.

The day after birth, you may ache all over from the work you did in labor. Your arms and legs may be sore from pulling back on your legs while pushing out the baby.

Although achy legs are normal, tenderness, pain, or warmth in your calves and swollen or reddened veins are warning signs that you should report to your doctor or midwife immediately. These signs could indicate thrombophlehitis, an inflammation of a vein that can result in formation of a blood clot. Postpartum women are at slightly increased risk of this because the vein walls normally relax somewhat in pregnancy. To reduce the risk of thrombophlebitis, increase circulation in your legs by doing foot rotations (see page 2 1) and by getting up and walking soon after birth. Thrombophlebitis is treated with bed rest, elevation of the affected leg, hot packs, and the use of elastic stockings. Medications may also be needed to prevent infection and clot formation. The affected leg should not be massaged.

Joints that relaxed in pregnancy to allow for the baby's growth and birth will return to their pre-pregnancy condition within several weeks of birth. Many women, however, feel that the rib cage and pelvis remain slightly expanded for the rest of their lives.

Abdominal muscles are relaxed after birth, so the abdomen is soft and still rounded. All women have some degree of separation of the abdominal muscles, which lessens with exercise.

Any stretch marks you have will seem more obvious after birth than before. Although stretch marks never completely disappear, they fade to silvery white lines in the months after childbirth. Darkened areas of the skin, such as the areola and the linea nigra, a dark line from the belly button to pubic bone, may tighten but may not completely fade.

Many women note changes in their hair after birth-most commonly, profuse hair loss. This is because pregnancy hormones stimulate hair growth. With the drop in these hormones, the extra hair that grew in pregnancy will fall out. This begins around three months after birth and usually ends within a couple of months.

Perhaps the most common feeling of new mothers after childbirth is that of being bone-tired. This seems especially true of women who have just had their first babies. Often, fatigue is combined with such excitement in the first days that sleep is difficult. The usual aches and pains of the early postpartum period can make it even harder to sleep. But beyond the first few days after birth, most women find daily naps are essential to their well-being.

Caring for Yourself after a Cesarean.

Each woman recovers in her own unique way after cesarean birth, just as after vaginal birth. Pain medications can help during the first few days (the medications given are considered safe during breastfeeding). The nurses will assist you in getting up the first time, learning to cough or huff to keep your chest clear, dealing with the gas that can follow surgery, and learning to hold your baby in ways that are comfortable for you. If assistance is not available when you need it, press your call button and ask for help.

All new parents can benefit from assistance at home after childbirth, but for a woman who has had a cesarean birth such help is essential for at least the first week. Not only are you undergoing a transformation to a nonpregnant state and learning to care for your new baby, you are recovering from major surgery. Adequate help, allowing you to rest often during the day, can make a great difference in how quickly you feel strong and well. Taking care of yourself and your baby should be your only duties until you feel ready to take on more.

These activity restrictions are usually recommended:

Limit stair climbing as much as possible.

Don't lift anything heavier than your baby for the first two weeks.

Ask your mate or a friend to do laundry, vacuuming, and other tasks that require bending, lifting, or pushing for at least the first few weeks after birth. Then resume such work gradually.

Do not drive a car for the first two weeks.

Take showers instead of tub baths until the incision is completely healed and dry.

Ask your doctor or midwife for specific instructions on the care of your incision.

Accepting Your Initial Responses to Your Baby.

Like her labor, a woman's initial response to her baby is something she remembers for a lifetime. Women greet their babies in as many ways as there are mothers. Before they give birth, most women anticipate a rush of loving feelings, or even tears of joy. others anticipate instantly "feeling like a mother." Some women actually experience these things. Many do not.

Sometimes, a woman experiences a temporary holding back from the baby whose birth caused pain or emotional trauma. A new mother may have a feeling of distance-which in retrospect may seem like disinterest. Or she may feel a strong need to attend to herself, pain and exhaustion compete with interest in the baby. in retrospect, she may see herself as selfish. Coolness, distance, self-centeredness-none of these fit with any woman's conception of a "good mother." Because of this, many women say they feel guilty about their initial responses to their babies.

Many women speak of feeling outside of themselves after labor. It is as though one's personal boundaries are hazy. Is it any wonder that women feel they are not taking their babies in-"as they should?" They can hardly take themselves in! This is to be expected. Most women say it takes days to come back into themselves. This is the natural rhythm of things. Something amazing is going on. As boundaries are reclarified, they are also redefined. You are now a mother. Your baby is no longer one with you, as in pregnancy. But the new boundaries are extended, to connect you for a lifetime to this other person. This connection is the essential work of the first months of parenting. You may have all the loving feelings you anticipated, but if you do not, give them time to evolve, as you do the work of taking on your new role.

Signs of Illness in a Newborn.

Many parents doubt whether they will recognize if the baby is sick. When you have no experience with babies, being told that a sick baby behaves differently from a well baby is of little comfort. if everything about your baby seems unfamiliar, it is hard to have confidence that you can and will recognize changes that indicate your baby is ill. Besides, healthy babies can cry for a couple of hours each day. Crying does not tell you as much in the first weeks as it will when your baby is older. So how will you know if your baby is sick? Asking yourself these questions may help:
Is there a change in the baby's behavior? Is the baby crying more than usual? Has the tone of the cry changed? Is the crying at a different time of day than usual? Is the baby more irritable than usual? Is the baby sleeping more or less than usual? Does the baby seem lethargic or listless?
Has the baby's appetite or digestion changed? Is the baby eating less than usual? Has the baby vomited more than once? If the baby is vomiting, is the vomiting forceful? (This is called projectile vomiting.) Are there signs of constipation? That is, are the stools hard or more solid than usual? Are there signs of diarrhea? That is, are the stools watery, or more runny than usual? Are they more frequent than usual? Is the baby urinating less frequently than usual? Has the color of the urine changed?
Has there been a change in the baby's breathing? Does the baby seem to have trouble breathing? Does the baby sound congested? Does the baby have a runny or stuffy nose? Is the baby coughing?
How does the baby look? Is the baby's skin pale or flushed? Is there a rash anywhere on the baby's body? Do the baby's eyes look glassy or dull? Is there any discharge from the eyes?
Does the baby have a fever?

Any of these changes could indicate illness. if you notice any of them, or other worrisome changes in Your baby, call your baby's care- giver. When you call the office, be prepared to describe:
The signs of illness about which you are concerned.
How long the signs have been present.
What you need: to have the caregiver return your call; to speak to the caregiver immediately, if you feel this is an emergency; or to arrange for the baby to be seen as soon as possible.

CRIB SAFETY TIPS if you have a used crib or are considering buying one

Make sure it has no corner posts. older infants can catch clothing on these.

Check that the crib slats are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart. Never put a baby in a crib that has missing slats.

Make sure that the mattress is firm, and that it fits tightly within the crib rails, with no more than a 1-inch space (two fingers width) between the rails and the mattress.

Assure yourself that all guide rods and support brackets are firmly in place and secure, and that no screws are missing.

Check the locks and latches on the crib. They should be smooth, and tight enough to prevent accidental release.

Be certain the paint used on the crib is lead-free. If it isn't, the old paint should be removed. if you're pregnant or nursing, have someone else do the stripping, preferably away from your home, or at least outside the house and away from any play or garden area. New paint should be a high-quality, lead-free enamel recommended for children's furniture. Some babies do chew on their cribs, and ingesting lead can cause brain damage.

If your crib is new, remove and discard all plastic packaging materials, including the thin plastic mattress cover. As with a used crib, check the guide rods, support brackets, locks, and

latches, and make sure no screws are missing. With any crib, new or old

Place the crib out of reach of any cords, electrical sockets, or other hazards.

Keep crib rails up at all times when the baby is unattended.

As soon as your baby can pull himself or herself up, move the mattress to the lowest position. There should be at least 22 inches between the mattress and the top of the rail.

If you plan to use a bassinet or cradle instead of a crib, many of these same safety tips will still apply.

Some Basics about Feeding

Expectant parents know they will have a lot to learn after their babies arrive. They know it will take time to feel confident about diapering, bathing, and soothing a baby. Most have been told that feeding, too, will be a learning experience. It is not until after the birth, however, that the true meaning of this is dear. Parents often say they had not anticipated that the baby, too, would need to learn to feed. Also unanticipated is the profound concern parents have that their babies be adequately nourished.

Even as adults, many people are greeted by their mothers with the questions "Are you hungry? Do you want to eat?" These are questions you will find yourself asking your baby. It is natural for you to feel somewhat anxious when the baby's answers are not as clear as you might like. Following are some basics about feeding that can guide you as you gain experience.

Postpartum Fathers

Feelings after Birth. Fathers who are present at birth are, more often than mothers, captured by the baby immediately. Whereas women may need minutes, hours, or a few days to feel connected to the baby, fathers often feel the power of this connection at the moment of birth. Unless the mother or baby is in some danger just after birth, the father is likely to find these moments life-changing and exquisite. These feelings are often blended with a sudden awareness of exhaustion.

A father also experiences new feelings about his mate. He may speak of his amazement at her courage, strength, and endurance during labor. He now faces the task of integrating his memory of her in labor with his previous knowledge and feelings about her.

A father may have to work through feelings he experienced while supporting the mother in labor. One of the most common feelings fathers speak about after labor is that of helplessness. Unless he is told, a man may not know how much his presence and emotional support really meant to the laboring woman.

A man may also feel that the labor experience has altered his whole life view. He may have gained a sense of the miraculous and spiritual, of a deeper meaning to life.

Not all fathers, of course, are able to share the birth experience. A lot of fathers who missed their babies' births worry that not having been there will affect their relationships with their babies. Birth is a special moment in the parent-child relationship, but it is only one moment. The years of child rearing provide many other shared moments that are just as important in the development of a relationship between father and child.

Selecting a Baby Sitter

Parents, either couples or single parents, all require time off now and then, time away from their children, to get their second wind, visit with friends, or perhaps take a course that interests them. Parents tend to find their children much more delightful when they have had some time to themselves. However, time away from home is enjoyable only when parents are secure in the knowledge that their children are in good hands.

How do parents go about providing safe services so they can enjoy that important time away from home? First of all, try to avoid feeling as if you are hiring a substitute parent when you select a baby sitter. No matter how conscientious the sitter, she will not care for the child in precisely the same way as a parent, and it's both unfair and unwise to expect a carbon copy parent. Once convinced that the sitter is a decent, kind individual, then it is best to allow that person to be herself (within the framework of the family's needs and rules) and to react with her own good judgment.

The Interview

Before placing a child in the care of an utter stranger, an interview should take place and references requested and scrutinized. This is the time for direct questions and answers and also an opportunity for the parent's instincts to come into play. Does the prospective caregiver seem to be a warm, flexible human being? Does she have views on discipline that are reasonably close to yours? Does she seem to like children and to be comfortable around them? It may be wise to be somewhat cautious about a prospective sitter who seems overly concerned with neatness and cleanliness, who seems inflexible or depressed.

The interview is the proper time to discuss hourly or evening rates. Does the sitter charge or is the parent willing to pay a higher rate after midnight? This is also the time to settle the matter of transportation. Does the sitter provide her own or does she expect to be picked up and returned home?

It is only fair to give the sitter general information and specific instructions about your child and your home. Be very clear about what you want her to do in your absence. Describe the routines in your home, particularly the ones that involve the child. Do you read him a story before he goes to bed? Do you feel strongly that he should not watch certain violent television programs? Do you have very definite ideas about discipline! A parent has every right to expect the sitter to follow these general guidelines, still leaving plenty of space for fun and initiative and creativity.

Advance Preparation

Prepare a sheet of vital information for your sitter, and leave it in a convenient place such as directly over the telephone. The list should include:

  1. Your name, home address, and phone number. This may seem unnecessary but, in an emergency, sitters have been known to "blank out" while trying to give this critical information over the phone.
  2. The phone numbers of your doctor, the police department, and the fire department.
  3. The name, address, and phone number where you can be reached.
  4. The name and phone number of nearby neighbors to be contacted in an emergency. (This should be cleared with the neighbors in advance.)
  5. As a back-up, the phone number and name of a relative or close friend.
  6. The time you expect to return. If there is any change in plans, and you find you are going to be late, be sure to let the sitter know. There may be people she will need to notify so they won't worry about her.

Active Duty

After the sitter arrives, plan to stay on the premises for at least 15 or 20 minutes. 'Me child should be told in advance that Mother and Father are going out and that "Susie" will stay with him. Even if he initially seems accepting, it is not unusual for a youngster to burst into tears when he realizes his parents are actually going to leave him.

Although his tears may be genuine, they will most likely fade fast once he recognizes the inevitability of his parents' departure and that there is nothing he can do to make them waver. This is especially so, if the sitter is quick with a reassuring statement such as, "You know, when I was your age, I used to cry when my parents went out too. You can make other Suggestions for breaking the ice or staunching the tears. The sitter can tell the child she likes his house-and-why. She can tell the youngster that she knows somebody else with the same name he has, a topic that almost never fails to fascinate a child. Suggestions like these from a parent serve to convince the sitter that you deeply care about the quality of the time she will be spending with your child.

During the interval before leaving home, take time to show the sitter the location of essential things. If you live in an apartment building, point out emergency "its or fire escapes. Leave candies and a flashlight handy in case of a possible power failure. Test the batteries. Explain where to find Band-Aids and review simple home remedies for a bump or a bruise. However, juvenile sitters should not be expected or allowed to give medication to a child.

If the parents are going out for the evening, the sitter should be told what snacks the child is permitted as well as snacks for herself. (if you plan to use the sitter again, be generous with snacks.) If the parents are going out during the day and meals will be involved, appropriate and simple instructions should be given. It's difficult to find one's way in a strange kitchen, so necessary implements should be set out.

Family Policies

Each family and situation is different but there are general rules and procedures that should be covered in any babysitting situation.

1. Is it okay to use the telephone! Perhaps it would be wise to specify the length of phone calls in case you need or want to reach home,
2. Is the sitter allowed to invite a friend for company or to work on a homework assignment? Same sex? Different sex? More than one? A group of friends on a baby sitting assignment is seldom a good idea.
3. What are the rules about answering the door? Certainly a sitter shouldn't let anyone she doesn't know into the apartment or house, no matter who they may claim to be. It's too bad if a good friend or relative is refused admission but actually that's a sign that the sitter is doing her job well.
4. Leave instructions on how to answer the phone. If you are expecting an important call, describe how you would like it handled, take a message? Call back the following day?
5. Be sure to reaffirm any important routines and habits that were covered in the interview: What time the child is to go to bed. is a night light turned on; is the door to his room left ajar; does he have special stuffed animals he likes to take to bed, etc.
6. Does the child have homework! If so, is the sitter willing and/or able to help?
7. Is the sitter expected to do some simple household chores, such as washing dishes? if so. is extra pay involved?
8. Jot down any special words the child uses for certain items or functions.

In one baby sitters' manual, the sitter's creed was given; "Keep Them Happy, Keep Them Safe". That, after all, is what babysitting is all about.


25 Things Every Mother Should Know:
How you mother your baby does make a difference
by Martha Sears, R.N.

Twenty-eight years ago I (Martha) became a mother for the first time. Even though I had "R.N." after my name I was pretty frightened. All those babies I'd played "Mommy" with in the hospital were other people's babies, not my own. I had to learn how to be a mother to my little Jimmy from scratch. It was intense and personal learning, and I have been privileged to experience it intensely and personally seven more times.

My husband, Bill, learned along with me all the things we discuss in this book for brand-new mothers. My voice, speaking mother-to-mother, will dominate the book, with Bill's interjected here and there to give his perspective as a father and pediatrician.

This is not a traditional baby-care book. You won't find anything in it about diaper rash, cord care, or how to give a bath. You can get that information from a lot of other sources. Instead, this book is a guide to mothering your baby, and it is as much about the process of becoming a mother as it is about babies. It will help you to get to know your baby better, and we hope that it will also help you understand yourself as you take on this new, motherly role.

We believe that babies have a lot to teach mothers. Listening to your baby and responding to his or her cues will lead you into a parenting style that will help both of you thrive. Biology and infant behavior will help you get started and build your confidence as you and your baby develop a two-way trusting relationship. But this is not an ideal world we live in, and there are forces you'll meet along the way that can make you doubt your mothering intuition. We hope that this book will prepare you for some of those bumps in the road, and will help you meet the challenges and changes ahead.

Mothering and fathering eight children has taught us a lot. We are very different persons from the ones we were before we had children, and most, if not all, of these differences are for the better. Although personal growth is sometimes hard, we've had a lot of fun along the way. Fun in your life with your baby is what will convince you and the baby that life is good. Enjoy your baby!

How you mother your baby does make a difference.

Mothering in the twentieth century has become a tricky business. We can take our babies' survival pretty much for granted, and in this way we differ from all the mothers who have come before us. Instead we worry about whether our babies will grow up to be happy and productive, a more complicated issue.

Nobody yet has scientifically tested and perfected a parenting system that guarantees children will turn out okay. Much of the research focuses on what goes wrong, rather than what goes right, and psychologists from Freud onward have often laid the blame on mothers. This creates a lot of anxiety, as mothers struggle to raise psychologically healthy children. Mothers often feel that the stakes are high on everything they do, and the possibility of making serious mistakes makes the job of parenting seem frightening.

In reaction to Freud, there's another school of thought that suggests that mothers aren't all that critical to their children's psyches. Children need dependable caregivers, yes, but these are more or less interchangeable, and group care not only is satisfactory, it also makes children independent at an earlier age. Babies do prefer their parents, but they really don't need all that one-on-one attention that goes along with traditional mothering. It's interesting that these theories have evolved at a time when more and more mothers of young children are in the workforce.

So where do you fit in? How important are you, a responsive, nurturing, trustworthy mother, to your baby's development? How do you know if you're making a difference?

In the parenting business, science often fails us. It's hard to study behavior that is as complicated as mother-and-infant interactions, much less relate these interactions to how children behave and feel years later. "Experts" speculate, spinning advice out of tiny threads of evidence, but who really knows?

I believe that experienced parents--parents of children who are turning out well---have the answers. Bill and I have talked to thousands of wise and seasoned mothers over the years, and while we don't pretend that this is a scientific sample, we do feel confident about relaying what we've learned from all these families. We believe that how you mother your children makes a difference in the kind of people they become.

The mothering advice that we have given in this book reflects a style that we call attachment parenting. For babies, attachment parenting includes closeness right from birth, responding sensitively to cries, baby wearing, sharing sleep, and breastfeeding. The involvement of the father, both directly with the baby and in support of the mother, is also important. These practices together make up a very nurturing style of baby care, one that yields a wonderful sensitivity between mother and child. The mother understands what the baby is thinking, most of the time, and the baby responds well to the mother's care. Babies who experience attachment parenting rarely need to cry to get their needs met (though they may cry plenty when something hurts or bothers them), because they can communicate in other, more subtle ways. Mothers who nurture in this style feel confident that they are doing the right things for their children, because they feel they can perceive their babies' needs, and because their babies are happiest when they are most responsive. Even high-need babies can be mellowed by this style of parenting into children who are fun to be with.

There are long-range benefits to attachment parenting. As a baby cared for this way turns into a toddler, he is easy to manage. His mother has a pretty good idea of what he is trying to do or say, so the young explorer is less likely to get terribly frustrated. Since he trusts his mother and wants very much to stay in her good graces, a word of warning or some creative redirection from her is often all that's needed to head off problem behavior.

As children of attached parents grow older, the benefits continue. These kids internalize their parents' sensitivity toward them. They have an inner sense of what is right and are bothered when situations violate their values. They know themselves well and can remain true to their own character in the midst of a crowd going in another direction. They are compassionate and understanding with other people. Having learned intimacy from their early closeness with their parents, they go on to establish and maintain healthy relationships with other people. They bring their parents joy and pride.

So, are you important to your baby? Yes, you are. You as his mother know him best and are the person he trusts most and will look to for guidance in the months and years to come. You are his window to the world and his faithful interpreter of what is going on inside him. Your relationship is built on a long history of knowing each other, a history that begins even before birth. Because this relationship is grounded in love and trust and many small interactions, it can tolerate mistakes and misunderstandings. No single moment is critically important. What counts is the harmony that is developing between you.

So relax and enjoy your baby. This is a special time in your life, and while it's full of worries and adjustments, it is also full of wonder. You have much to look forward to. Being a mother can enrich every corner of your life. Get ready for a marvelous journey.

When you bring home a new baby, remember you are modeling parenting for your older children. Also, you are bringing up someone else's future husband or wife, father or mother. The parenting styles children learn are the ones they are most likely to follow when they become parents. Here is an example of how modeling affects children: A mother brought her newborn, Erin, and her two-and-a-half-year-old, Tiffany, into my office for checkups. During her examination, Erin began to cry. Tiffany rushed to her mother, pulled at her mother's skirt, and exclaimed, "Mommy, Erin cry; pick up, rock-rock, nurse!" This little child had just described responsive parenting according to her mother's model. When Tiffany becomes a mother and her baby cries, what do you imagine she will do? She won't consult a book or call her doctor. She will intuitively pick up, rock-rock, and nurse.

Baby Care Instructions

Is your mummy caring you the RIGHT way?


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