From the moment you get the first glimpses of your child through the ultrasound machine, it can be love at first sight. No parent forgets this moment, and it’s often the moment that can make everything seem so much more real. From now onwards, everything you do can be geared towards ensuring you provide your baby with the best life. Parents have this innate need to protect their children and ensure they get the best of everything. This need can be extra pronounced in the early stages when your child is completely vulnerable and dependent on you.
Caring for an infant, although rewarding, can also be pretty challenging. New parents often find it hard to understand what their child wants or how they can care for them best. What makes matters even harder is that infancy is an incredibly crucial period where you need to ensure normal development.
If you are willing to learn more about how to ensure normal development in your infant, keep reading below.
1. Watch out for any warning signs
Many parents often believe that the warning signs of developmental issues only show up a few months or even years following birth. While this is true, in most situations, the warning signs exhibit immediately after birth. In such situations, spotting the signs early can help ensure your child gets immediate attention. And you can reduce the impact of their developmental problem. However, any delays can be equally problematic.
Birth injuries are an unfortunate reality that parents often aren’t prepared to deal with since they occur for several reasons. At times, these can be unavoidable and can be congenital. However, in many cases, they can be avoidable and caused by medical negligence before or during birth. Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy, preeclampsia, and fetal macrosomia are some conditions that healthcare providers can preempt and deal with in many cases. At childbirthinjuries.com, you can learn more about the warning signs and what you can do next to ensure your child gets the care and compensation they deserve.
2. Speak to your child
Many parents feel they don’t need to start speaking to their children too much since they can’t understand anything yet. However, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is that children are incredibly hyperaware, especially in these first few months, and vision and audio are primarily how they understand the world around them. Imitating the sounds that your baby makes, using high-pitched sounds and exaggerated expressions can help your child recognize that you’re speaking to them.
Speaking to your baby can fire up the synapses related to communication and language, and the more you engage with them, the easier development will be. There are also some rules to follow when speaking to your child. First, it’s always better to spend more time speaking to them alone, without any distractions in the form of people or sounds. You also want to stay focused on them when they speak back at you by staying engaged and maintaining eye contact. This simple addition to your routine can make your child learn much faster and improve their language acquisition.
3. Ensure proper nutrition
Ensuring your child gets proper nutrition is imperative if you want them to develop normally. Infants go through big growth spurts, and if they’re getting the right nutrition, you can expect them to double their weight by the time they’re 5-6 months of age. However, if your child isn’t getting the right nutrition, not only will they fall behind on their weight milestones, but they can experience developmental issues too.
Breast milk is the ideal nutrition for every baby during the first few months. Breastfed babies typically have much lower rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and ear or stomach infections. Breastfeeding also helps the infant build immunity, as the mother’s immune cells pass through to the child. Breast milk also adapts as the baby’s nutritional needs change, making it the best way to ensure your child is getting every essential nutrient they need. However, if you can’t breastfeed, consulting with your doctor to get the best formula can be an excellent alternative.
4. Keep an eye on their milestones
Even when your child is in the first few months of their life, there are several developmental milestones you need to keep an eye on. Achieving these milestones early or on time means your child is developing as they should. However, although small delays can be normal, prolonged delays may mean something is amiss. In the first few months, there can be several milestones to keep an eye out for, like motor developments.
In the first month, your child will gradually be able to lift their head to look around, stare at faces, and respond to light. They will also respond to sounds and see black-and-white patterns. In the second month, they’ll be able to follow objects and start making sounds. Later, your baby will be able to start recognizing faces, can smile, and hold their head up for longer periods. As they grow older, they’ll start recognizing objects, too, such as food and toys, and attempt to grab them. If you feel your child hasn’t achieved some of these milestones, getting in touch with a healthcare professional can help determine what to do next.
5. Ensure hygiene
Babies can have a pretty vulnerable immune system. This factor, coupled with the fact that they can’t clean up after themselves, can open them up to a host of diseases if they aren’t kept clean. Hygiene is thus one of the most vital factors to consider in your baby’s development. Diapering will take up most of your time, and you can expect your baby to go through at least ten diapers a day. Ensuring you clean them up well and prevent rashes is essential for healthy development.
In the early days, before your baby’s umbilical cord falls off or their circumcision wound heals, you want to ensure you only give them a sponge bath. It can help prevent any infection while also keeping your baby clean. When bathing your baby, pay extra attention to any folds of skin, under their arms, genital area, and generally any hard-to-reach places where germs can accumulate.
Caring for a child can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time. However, this guide can help you better understand what your child needs and can help you ensure they develop normally. When caring for an infant, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so if you feel anything is off, heading to your doctor is the best choice.