Your baby has feelings from day one

Your baby has feelings from day one

Your baby has feelings from day one

With careful observations and studies, researchers confirm we now know that babies and toddlers are deeply feeling beings.
Don’t you want to understand those feelings to have a even better communication?

For long time, we believe babies didn’t think or feel much before the age 2, when they can express themselves with words. But a 6-month-old can feel fear, anger, sadness, grief, as well as he can experience peaks of joy, excitement and elevation. 

Babies can experience peaks of feelings.

As children express their feelings without filter, its up to the adults around them to teach how to manage those full range of emotions. It has been demonstrated that it’s an important factor for success in school, work and relationships in the long-term.

What can you do?

1. Help to understand all emotions

Feelings aren’t right or wrong and your role is to help your child to embrace all of them. Sadness and joy, anger and love, are part of the collection of emotions your child will experience.

But be careful, because a lot of parents are confuse about this set of emotions. It’s important to understand that having an happy child doesn’t mean he has to be happy all the time. They can have others feelings and still be happy in the global point of view.

Emotions are survival reflexes:
Anger is the results of frustration coming from needs that are not fulfilled ;
Fear is the alert that follow a menace real or imaginary 

Feelings are not the problem, it’s what you do – or not do – with them that can be a problem. Try to listen what your child share with you because emotion are not caprice, but claims for his needs.

When a child is falling, don’t minimize it and instead of saying “it’s nothing, don’t cry”, let him express and share his emotion, he will calm down easier.

You should accept all emotions but you can prohibit some behaviors. Don’t say to a child he is mean for example, but that his action is not acceptable.

2. React appropriately

The idea is simple: let your baby know his emotions are important and you are listening.

  • Stop playing with your 4-month-old when he.she looks away, it’s a signal he.she needs a break.
  • If the child is sad because his.her mother has to go to work, try to go to the window to wave a good-bye.

By reacting to his feeling like this, you will help him to build self respect.

. Be observer

Start to be curious of the way your baby is expressing his emotions. The sounds he makes, the facial expression he uses, his gestures, …

. Be receptor

Babies need adults to give a sens to the emotions they externalize. In your role, you will help to understand those.

And at the end, explaining his emotions will improve the proximity with your child.

. Be decoder

Use all the empathy you have and be receptive to understand your child. 

  • Why does he hit his little sister? Usually, it’s defense mechanism, a protection the child uses when he feels attacked ;
  • Why is he often distracted? It may reveal an insecure feeling ;

. Be the ally

 The emotional engagement is difficult because the emotions of the little ones can be intense. But your child needs you, not as a judge, but as an ally to deal with those extreme feelings. Don’t ignore him because he will feel abandoned. 

woman breastfeeding
Photo by Luiza Braun on Unsplash

Your child feels extreme emotion and try to share it with you.

3. Label the emotions.

To recognize the emotions, you can say them.

  • Don’t say directly that he cannot take the toy of the other one, say first that you recognize he wants that toy ;
  • Instead of saying that he’ll be serve when it’s his turn, explain that you recognize he is impatience to eat ;

He will feel listened and not directly stop in his action.

On top of saying you recognize his feeling, you can try to find an alternative too, like finding an another toy similar to the one we wants from our first example. 

Naming is the first step to help to understand and learn to identify the emotions. You’ll teach him that these feelings are normal.

  • Acknowledge the anger of a 2-year-old at having to leave the playground
  • Recognize the frustration of 18-month-old to see his block tower falling again and again
  • Empathize with your child’s sadness when he sees his grand-parent leaving after a long visit

 

father and baby playing

All emotions are important (even anger) and are claims for specific needs.

Okay, but how do you teach your child to react at those emotions ??

The tools box to teach how to react

  • Let him use toys or words if he is old enough to express himself ;
  • Give him a lot of place and time ;
  • Let him play violent game like poking a doll if it’s what he needs (if no harm to himself or others) ;
  • Read fairy tales, it opens the door and help to speak about emotions ;
  • Ask to draw how angry he is with a red crayon ;

And now you can complete this list with your own experience with your child, it’s the most important one!

 

 

Sources : • First Feelings: The Foundation of Healthy Development, Starting From Birth https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/294-first-feelings-the-foundation-of-healthy-development-starting-from-birth • How Emotional Development Unfolds Starting at Birth https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/276-how-emotional-development-unfolds-starting-at-birth • Infant Developmental Milestones : Social & Emotional Development http://www.kamloopschildrenstherapy.org/social-emotional-infant-milestones • Comment accueillir les émotions du jeune enfant https://lesprosdelapetiteenfance.fr/bebes-enfants/psycho-pedagogie/comment-accueillir-les-emotions-du-jeune-enfant. 2014;35(6):614‐623. doi:10.1002/imhj.21455

Recent Articles

Your baby has feelings from day one

Your baby has feelings from day one

With careful observations and studies, researchers confirm we now know that babies and toddlers are deeply feeling beings. Don't you want to understand those feelings to have a even better communication?For long time, we believe babies didn't think or feel much before...

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

Researchers have been looking at how babies' sleep is managed. And according to them, that needs to change!Baby' sleep is a real source of fatigue and stress for their parents. Often the same advice and injunctions can be found. The stated goal: the child must learn...

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

Researchers have been looking at how babies’ sleep is managed.
And according to them, that needs to change!

Baby’ sleep is a real source of fatigue and stress for their parents. Often the same advice and injunctions can be found. The stated goal: the child must learn to sleep at night and manage his sleep and nighttime awakenings on his own. A whole program, which does not necessarily work …

Babies don’t need to learn how to sleep.

Be reassured, a team of Australian researchers has studied the question for us and proposes a new approach for the sleep of babies from 0 to 6 months: the Possums Sleep Intervention model.

Have we discovered the secret to put your babies to sleep?

You’ve probably heard the classic “Let her cry a little.” Or “He-he needs to adapt to you and not the other way around.”

Does that sound counterintuitive to you? Maybe you’re even uncomfortable with this advice. Who is serene when a little one is screaming alone in his room?

Fortunately Koa Whittingham and Pamela Douglas – two Australian researchers from the University of Queensland – have taken an interest in the question.

After analyzing the plethora of methods and conceptual frameworks around the sleep of the little ones from 0 to 6 months. They related them to
– their concrete experiences: they both work with parents as psychologist for one and as pediatrician for the other.
– current knowledge on the physiology of babies and the biology of their sleep.

The result? A series of benevolent advice to improve the support of toddlers in establishing a healthy relationship with sleep.

1. Do not wait before intervening

You’ve no doubt read that you shouldn’t respond immediately to your baby’s protests and wait a few minutes to see if he or she goes to sleep alone.

The child comes forward because he needs his parents – for example, to reassure him. If you don’t intervene, he will simply learn that there’s no point in crying for reassurance.

But his need is unchanged, he’s just not going to communicate it to you anymore, or less often.

So it’s blurring the communication between you.

woman breastfeeding
Photo by Luiza Braun on Unsplash

Your child should be able to sleep when he is sleepy, even if you have just fed him.

2. Let baby fall asleep right after feeding or bottle-feeding if she.he wants to.

At about 3 months, parents are often advised to delay falling asleep a little bit after the feed. This will help to separate breastfeeding from falling asleep.

Australian researchers advise the opposite.

Your child should be able to sleep when he is sleepy. He will associate the notion of drowsiness with the fact of sleeping. And thus develop a healthy relationship with sleep. It may even save you a lot of trouble in a few months time.

3. Don’t be too rigid about sleep schedules.

Between about 0 and 3 months of age, your child lives on the time of his or her internal clock. And the internal clock is set around 25 hours. This makes it difficult for him to follow a 24-hour schedule. And his total sleep time varies for you from day to day.

Plus, there’s a wide variation in sleep needs between individuals – and yes, even among toddlers. Your baby isn’t an average, so don’t panic if he doesn’t sleep the number of hours listed in the textbooks. If your child needs to take long naps during the day, he may just be a heavy sleeper, but that doesn’t mean he won’t sleep at night.

4. Getting rid of lists of signs of fatigue

You may have been provided with a list of common signs of fatigue in children – some of them may seem quite obvious to you.

But apparently these lists can be misleading. Each child expresses himself differently. With a list, one naturally tries to “check off” one or more items on the list. On the contrary, without them, you will be closer to your child: you will learn to decipher his language and better understand its manifestations.

The authors of the study also point out that some babies show signs of the fatigue listed when they are bored by lack of stimulation. Learning your child’s signs of fatigue will help you avoid confusing them with signs of boredom.

5. Stimulation is positive, even before bedtime.

You’ve already heard that too much stimulation makes it difficult to initiate sleep.

However, researchers have discovered that it is actually positive and helps the child feel tired so that he or she can sleep. Your child associates fatigue with sleep, and that’s bingo!

In fact, the more tired your child gets, the greater the tendency to fall asleep, and if he or she has the opportunity, he or she will simply fall asleep.

father and baby playing

The connection between baby and parents is made through feeding and sensory stimulation.

Okay, but how do you get your baby to sleep at night??

For Dr. Koa Whittingham and Dr. Pamela Douglas, the logic is simple: babies don’t need to learn how to sleep. If their other needs are taken care of, they’ll simply sleep the time they need.

. Make baby sleep close to you, even during the day

They advise, during the first 6 months, to make your child sleep within reach of your touch. That is to say near your bed at night and in the same room as you during the day.

During the day, naps are therefore taken in the same room as you, with the noises of everyday life: the natural light and sound cues will help your child gradually make the difference between day and night and settle into this rhythm.

If your child needs to be fed or reassured, you’re close by – which is convenient for you, and good for your child, who feels reassured to have his needs met.

. Stimulate baby during the day

The principle is to guarantee abundant sensory stimulation during the day, feed your baby on demand and let sleep take care of him when he needs it. Try not to actively prevent your baby from falling asleep when it’s dark, but don’t let this stop you from doing your daily activities, even noisy ones.

. Touching your child to reassure them

The connection between baby and parents is made through feeding and sensory stimulation. Touch is very important to calm and reassure your baby. It’s not the only sense that comes into play, but it’s apparently crucial. And if you hold him/her in your arms, he/she will also feel the rhythm of your breathing and the beat of your heart, which will also bring comfort.

During the day, naps are taken in the same room as you, with the noises of everyday life: the natural light and sound cues will help your child to gradually learn the difference between day and night and to settle into that rhythm.

If your child needs to be fed or reassured, you’re close by – which is convenient for you, as well as being good for your child who then feels reassured that he or she has his or her needs.

What about the parents in all this?

The Australian research team believes that for a baby to be well, his parents have to feel well too – it makes sense. How you live and what you feel will of course have an impact on your child and their sleep.

When baby arrives, after you’ve taken some bearings, know that you can maintain an active lifestyle! It’s good for you and helps you feel fully satisfied. What will help you feel serene?

 

• Get a little exercise every day

Simply go out for a walk or even start a gym program, for the more motivated.

• Getting up at the same time every day

This allows you to enjoy the morning sun, a real boost for morale and energy. You can then take naps during the day while your child sleeps.

• See your friends

They’re all going to want to see your child anyway. Go for a coffee or visit a friend. And take your child with you: it’s great for them to be exposed to the outside light and see new faces.

• Play around

It’s important to keep up activities that make you happy. Especially if you’ve given birth, as postpartum hormones will try to play tricks on you and can be a real blow to your morale. Keep doing what you enjoy and don’t hesitate to bring your baby to your activities: your presence will reassure her. He/she will also quickly get used to outside noise, being around people and seeing unknown things.

Photo by Kyle Nieber on Unsplash

Finally, you should know that our two Australian researchers have made it clear that perfection is not necessary – lucky again! – and that when it comes to meeting the needs of your child and yours, there is room for “mistakes” and experimentation. They advise you to be flexible and caring towards yourself, the important thing being to cultivate joy and positive emotions in your home.

Sources : Whittingham K, Douglas P. Optimizing parent-infant sleep from birth to 6 months: a new paradigm. Infant Ment Health J. 2014;35(6):614‐623. doi:10.1002/imhj.21455

Recent Articles

Your baby has feelings from day one

Your baby has feelings from day one

With careful observations and studies, researchers confirm we now know that babies and toddlers are deeply feeling beings. Don't you want to understand those feelings to have a even better communication?For long time, we believe babies didn't think or feel much before...

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

How to make baby sleep : the Possum sleep

Researchers have been looking at how babies' sleep is managed. And according to them, that needs to change!Baby' sleep is a real source of fatigue and stress for their parents. Often the same advice and injunctions can be found. The stated goal: the child must learn...

Pin It on Pinterest