Communication

By the time your baby is 3 month old, the bond between you and them is strong.  They look to you, for guidance to see if something or someone is safe.  This is interaction is called primary intersubjectivity, and is only limited to the face-to-face contact.  However, by the time they are 9 months or older, they start to interact with their environment and caregiver in a more complex way.  This is also a good time to “baby-proof” the house, since this is also a time when babies begin to explore said environment on their own.

Looking at his dad smiling, the child reacts accordingly

Up until your baby reaches 9 months old, their ability to follow your pointing or them gazing strength, is still weak.  So don’t despair, if your baby does not follow your pointed finger, to see what you are trying to show them.  Give them time and be patient.  After all, by the time they are one, such ability begins to strengthen, and as you together move to 2 years, the gazing and following the direction improves remarkably.

While gazing and following your finger is difficult, distinguishing their names from numerous others for infants is much easier.  In fact they understand and in some cases even can respond to their name as early as 4 months.
What’s more, by the time they are 6 months they can understand words for familiar everyday objects.  At 7 months, your child will try to communicate with your through babbling.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2-BlF2BRXE]

As the babies grow older, so does improves their understanding of language spoken around them.  By the time they are 9 months, they can “Wave buy-bye”, or “bottle”.
So by the time they are 12 months of age, infants can understand over a dozen common phrases, and in some cases even follow them.

Senses

Hearing:

It is normal for babies to actually hear while they are still inside mother’s womb.  Their hearing is so sharp that they can distinguish among different variety of phonemes when they are only 2 month old.  However, it narrows down to their native language at about 6 to 8 months, which is exactly a time when they start trying out to make their first sounds.

Shiny and colored objects usually attract Infa...

Shiny and colored objects usually attract Infant’s vision. The baby is 6 months old. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vision:

The basic anatomical structure for vision is always present. The first vision is blurry, they only see what is right in-front of her face.    However with age progression it changes. Between 2 and 3 months of age, they can coordinate their vision with both of their eyes.  Thus when they reach 7 and/or 8 months of age their visual senses are good as adults, making it easier for them to crawl.

Also the color perception for babies improves by the time they are 2 months old, along with color they start sensing boundaries to most of the things they see.

5 months old baby sees himself

 

 

Taste and Smell

Babies have main three senses of taste that is  overly-developed are sweet, bitter and sour.  Their facial expression are reflexive yet similar to adults.

However, they can smell and sense sweetness very well, that is how they can find their mother’s breast-milk for their nourishments.

That is why mother’s diet during pregnancy is also important.  The food which mother consumes in large quantities, would be a food of choice for the baby; so Mom’s choose wisely.

babies reaction to sour taste and smell

By putting the babies sense of taste and smell, and vision.  It should be simple to understand how babies, by the time they reach their 3 months, they prefer their mother’s face, her voice, and even her smell to any female stranger.  But this would be for a different subject, to follow.

Paying more attention

Infant explorers

 

Unlike in their future teen years.  Babies in 3 months of age can pay attention for most of 5 or ten seconds.  However, their ability to pay attention at longer periods of time, by the time they reach 2 years of age.

In fact there are four phases of how attention develops.

Phase I: Stimulus-Detection Reflex. This is when baby can sense changes in the environment, thus peaking their interest.

Phase II: Stimulus orienting. This is when their attention becomes fixed on an object that changed their environment.

Phase III: Sustained Attention: This is the phase when baby is truly “paying attention.”  When baby persistently controls and focuses full attention on the stimulus.

Phase IV: Attention Termination.  The baby continues looking at the object, but without trying to process the information about it.

While in its first year of birth, your babies brain develops, and along with attention so does their memory.  Some believe that the memory development grows from implicit memory (memories of past experiences), while others believe its from explicit memory (remembering something, from the past, without personally experiencing it).

TE-RAT-O-GENS

By: Therese Brion

What exactly are teratogens? Teratogen is just a fancy word for anything that can cause your baby from developing healthily in your womb.

Teratogens can range from a mother’s mental state during her pregnancy to exposure to drugs and alcohol. These different environmental factors can have a negative effect on your baby: low birth weight, premature birth, cognitive & physical disabilities/deformations, and sometimes even death. It is important to stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. Eating the right food, staying away from smoking or from people who smoke, keeping a positive/stress free attitude, and avoiding drugs and alcohol all together will make sure that your baby comes out healthy and happy.

Here’s some FAQ (frequently asked questions) of what to do and what not to do in order for your baby to develop properly in your belly!!

happy-pregnant-woman

  • Can I get a manicure during pregnancy? YES, but make sure to keep the area you are in is well ventilated. The fumes from nail polish and other nail products are strong and can be considered a harmful environmental factor.
  • Can I exercise during my pregnancy? YES, it is encouraged to stay fit during your pregnancy. Succumbing a little too much to your pregnancy cravings can be a little dangerous and cause some negative developmental effects on your baby! Keep your exercise low-impact and make sure your heart rate is monitored. Try yoga or power walking!
  • Can I eat fish during my pregnancy? YES/NO, watch out for fish that may have higher levels of mercury like swordfish or shark. Good options are tuna or salmon!  Steer clear from sushi, though, raw anything is a big no-no during pregnancy.

Now, on to the more serious stuff…

Alcohol and your growing baby. There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is one of the major defects that can come from consuming alcohol during pregnancy. This syndrome affects about 2 in 1000 babies every year. It is a syndrome that has a massive negative effect on your baby’s central nervous system, causing cognitive and functional disabilities.

Drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances are a sure way to create deviations in your baby’s development, specifically their cognitive development. Consuming these substances during your pregnancy has a long term effects on your child. They create learning disabilities and higher chances of your child having an aggressive or irritable personality.

Keeping yourself healthy is the number one thing to do during your pregnancy. What you eat, your baby eats. What you drink, your baby drinks. How you feel, your baby also feels. So, take care of yourself!!

Infant Emotions and their Emotional Expressions

emotional_babies

By: Karen Quijada

Emotions are normally referred to feelings caused by experiences, they can emerge slowly, explode quickly, emotions can be mixed together and vary in intensity. There are five universal emotions, these are the basic emotions- joy, fear, anger, surprise, sadness, and disgust. Regardless of what corner in the world you live in, you will be able to tell what someone else is feeling through their emotions. Children use their emotions to express some type of discomfort, if they  feel some type of danger, or if they want their needs to be met. So do infants experience emotions the same way we, adults, do? Can they distinct  emotions from joy to fear to anger? Or do these emotions grow as infants go into childhood? Or are they born with some emotions and as they grow new emotions emerge? There are 2 theories of infants and their emotions, the first is the Theory of Gradual Differentiation and the second is the Differential Emotions Theory. The Theory of Gradual Differentiation is that infants are born with general emotional reaction that are either positive or negative and as they grow their basic emotions emerge. For example when a baby cries he or she may feel discomfort but an infant will cry to express anger or sadness. While the Differential Emotions Theory states that our basic emotions emerge in their adult form from birth. So basically we are born and able to express anger, joy, fear, sadness, surprise, and disgust from birth.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that primary intersubjectivity is important. Primary intersubjectivity is an organized, reciprocal interaction between and infant and caregiver with the interaction itself as the focus. Meaning that whatever emotions the caregiver is expressing, the infant will pick up on it and react to it. In this video,  “Still Face Method that I came across, you will see how important it is to interact with your child and how quickly the infant will try to get things back to the norm when both the infant and caregiver where socializing. The video below is a procedure called the still-face method. Where the Mom and child interacted normally and after a few minutes the Mom was cued to pose a neutral “still face,” and to stop responding to the baby. As you will see in the video, the baby will begin repeat some of the same movements she had done earlier when the Mom was interacting with her but when she see’s that the Mom still doesn’t respond the baby becomes distressed. Remember that its important to interact with your baby it will lead to a healthy secure attachment!

How to help your child coordinate with the social world!

Due to their ongoing development and survival needs, infants are very dependent of others, especially their primary caregiver. I’m sure that now you have started to develop a new schedule to help coordinate with your newborn, but believe me  it will get easier to time coordinate with your newborn as he or she grows up. Just like you have  learned or are trying to coordinate your time with your child’s, soon your child will learn to coordinate their actions and wants with yours, especially the sleeping schedule. I mean you cannot always be with them, hovering over them every second of the day. You have to work, sleep, and take care of yourself. So how do babies become associated with the social world?? There’s three answers to that: 1)sleeping 2)feeing and 3)crying. Lets begin with sleeping!

top-baby-sleeping-photos12

SLEEPING

It’s probably been days since you had a good 8 hours of sleep at night without any disturbance, right? At this time, you’re probably feeling extremely tired, broken-down, weary or even annoyed by the tiniest thing. And that’s OKAY! Your body isn’t adjusted to this  new schedule. You have probably asked yourself, why do I feel I get no sleep when my baby is sleeping for most of the day??? Well to answer that question, babies DO sleep most of the day. In fact, they sleep around 16.5 hours a days during the first week of their life, around 15 hours a day by the end week four, and 14 hours a day by the end of their first fourth months!!!!!! So why are you so tired??? The answer is that babies sleep in little snippets that can last a few minutes to a few hours meaning that they can be awake at any time regardless whether it is day or night. But hang in there, as your baby gets older, their sleeping schedule will lengthen and slowly start to coincide with your schedule, meaning that in a few months you will start to get those amazing 8 hours of sleep you’ve been wishing for and those great sleeps you need to feel energized and be awake and alert throughout the day.  But for now when your baby falls asleep, do something for you! Whether its doing your nails, taking a shower, or getting some sleep. Take advantage of when your baby has fallen asleep because you never know when he or she will wake up. Now that we discussed sleeping let’s talk feeding!

breastfeeding_sepia

FEEDING

There are many different theories out there of when babies should be fed, and of course these theories vary due to cultures. So when should you feed your baby, on demand?  Every four hours? Or as often as every 2 to 3 hours? Today in United Sates parents are advised to feed their babies as often as 2 to 3 hours so that your baby isn’t starving. In my opinion, feeding your baby every four hours is quite a long time for a baby, infant, or even an adult to go without food. Studies have shown that babies that were fed every four hours were the babies that cried the most as opposed to babies who were fed when they showed signs of hunger. So what about feeding your baby on demand?  I think this is the best choice, but that’s my opinion. I like this option the best because babies should be fed when hungry, simple as that. Of course don’t over nourish your baby because that is also unhealthy. Also studies have shown that babies fed on demand are more likely to coincide their meal schedule with adults by age 7 or 8. So simply, it’s up to you to decided when you feed your baby. And now that we talked a bit about feeding lets move onto crying!

B706FE

CRYING

Crying is the one signal we all know when something is wrong with our baby. They cry to communicate with us and let us know that they are experiencing some type of discomfort since they cannot articulate their emotions and feelings. Of course many of us, especially in the United States assume that infants are now crying on purpose to get attention and I somewhat agree with that. I believe that infants can cry out of discomfort or simply to just get attention but of course as their parent, you know them best so you have to choose wisely of when to pay attention to their needs and when to ignore it. Like I mentioned earlier about the studies of babies being breast fed on demand are the babies who cried the least, keep that in mind! If you’re an anxious parent who is still trying to figure out what your newborn needs  when he or she cries, take a step back and try to listen to their cries and distinguish them. Try to recognize patterns and needs between the cries and this will help you as they get older and will make it easier by planning methods you will need when they are toddlers and are throwing tantrums at the grocery store. 
Getting used to a new schedule isn’t easy. You have to help your baby fall asleep and feed them and comfort them when he or she is in distress, but it will get better and easier as time goes by. Each day you will learn a new technique that can help  you the next time when you’re trying to get your baby to sleep, feed him or her, or trying to comfort them. It’s okay to feel confused, and anxious especially if you’re a first time parent but remember it will get easier, so for now hang in there because it will all be worth it! 

The Infant-Caregiver Emotional Relationship

By: Vivian Chan

Emotional attachment between the caregiver and infant develops around the ages of 7 and 9 months.

There are four phases of attachment:

  1. Preattachment Phase
  2. Attachment-in-the-making Phase
  3. Clear-cut attachment
  4. Reciprocal relationship phases

The preattachment phases begins from birth to age 6 weeks. This is when infants do not react when left alone with an unfamiliar caregiver. The “attachment-in-the-making” phases starts when infants are 6 weeks to 6 to 8 months old. They being to respond in different ways when left alone with unfamiliar people, and show preferences for their caregivers. The third phase is the “clear-cut attachment” phase which starts from 6 to 8 months to 18 to 24 months. Infants become upset when their caregiver leaves the room and leaves them alone. The last stage is the reciprocal relationship phases which begins from age 18 months to 24 months and up. Infants spends more time away from their caregivers and they gain feelings of security after being reunited with them.

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