Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Become emotionally and physically prepared for pregnancy and birth. Research available options for
healthcare providers and birthing environments, and become informed about routine newborn care.
Continuously educate yourself about developmental stages of childhood, setting realistic expectations
and remaining flexible.
Feed with Love and Respect
Breastfeeding is the optimal way to satisfy an infant's nutritional and emotional needs. "Bottle
Nursing" adapts breastfeeding behaviors to bottle-feeding to help initiate a secure attachment.
Follow the feeding cues for both infants and children, encouraging them to eat when they are hungry and
stop when they are full. Offer healthy food choices and model healthy eating behavior.
Respond with Sensitivity
Build the foundation of trust and empathy beginning in infancy. Tune in to what your child is communicating to you, then respond consistently and appropriately. Babies cannot be expected to self-soothe, they need calm, loving, empathetic parents to help them learn to regulate their emotions. Respond sensitively to a child who is hurting or expressing strong emotion, and share in their joy.
Use Nurturing Touch
Touch meets a baby's needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement.
Skin-to-skin contact is especially effective, such as during breastfeeding, bathing, or massage. Carrying or babywearing also meets this need while on the go. Hugs, snuggling, back rubs, massage, and physical
play help meet this need in older children.
Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally
Babies and children have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too hot or too cold. They rely on parents to soothe them and help them regulate their intense
emotions. Sleep training techniques can have detrimental physiological and psychological effects. Safe
co-sleeping has benefits to both babies and parents.
Provide Consistent and Loving Care
Babies and young children have an intense need for the physical presence of a consistent, loving,
responsive caregiver: ideally a parent. If it becomes necessary, choose an alternate caregiver who has
formed a bond with the child and who cares for him in a way that strengthens the attachment relationship.
Keep schedules flexible, and minimize stress and fear during short separations.
Practice Positive Discipline
Positive discipline helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion
for others. Discipline that is empathetic, loving, and respectful strengthens the connection between parent
and child. Rather than reacting to behavior, discover the needs leading to the behavior. Communicate and craft
solutions together while keeping everyone's dignity intact.
Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic
goals, put people before things, and don't be afraid to say "no". Recognize individual needs within
the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional
health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself.
Becka has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education and Development, and has 18 years experience in the field. She is a Certified Parent Educator and Licensed Baby, Toddler, and Preschool Sign Language Instructor. You can visit her site, at www.learnandgrowtogether.com
Ramblings Of A Stay At Home Mom