One of the scariest days of your life will be the day that you bring your newborn home. Is the car seat installed correctly? Is my house safe? Will I be able to protect my baby?
These are all common questions for brand new parents. One question that you shouldn’t have to worry about, is whether or not you can trust the products you buy for your child.
You’ll find yourself reading labels on every product for the baby. Bath wash, lotion, chest rubs, clothes, toys, you name it, you are probably triple checking it!
The First 1,000 Days of Your Baby’s Life
We will go ahead and round up and say the first 3 years of your baby’s life. Here are a few areas that are worth focusing on with your baby to set them up for future success.
Bonding/Soothing/Love and How it Affects Your Baby’s Emotional Growth
Physical closeness or “falling in love” can promote an emotional connection that is huge for the baby’s emotional growth. This growth is so important that it can affect the baby’s growth in other areas, including physical growth.
The most sensitive time to form this deep connection is the first hours and days after birth.
Common forms of bonding include:
- Cradling your baby
- Stroking your baby in different patterns
- An infant massage
- Talking, babbling, singing, and cooing to your baby
Breastfeeding and the Amazing Benefits for Mama and Baby
Breast milk provides the best nutrition for infants. It has almost the perfect mix of vitamins, proteins, and fat, which is everything your baby needs to grow.
Here are some other amazing benefits of breast milk (especially for those exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months):
- It contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria
- Can lower the risk of allergies
- Can help baby to have fewer ear infections
- Can help baby to have fewer respiratory illnesses
- Can help baby to have fewer bouts of diarrhea
Breastfeeding is also a great time to do some skin-to-skin and eye contact which can help you bond with your child.
Breastfeeding also provides amazing benefits to mama! It can burn extra calories, help you lose pregnancy weight faster, and can also save you some time and money (formula can get expensive).
Building Your Baby’s Healthy Gut
Healthy tummy, healthy gut, healthy microbiome, whatever you call it, your baby has some major things happening in the first couple of years of life.
In the United States and other developed countries, there has been a huge shift over the past several decades in illnesses. This shift might be because of the microbiome, which is a community of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment, specifically in or on the human body.
This community of microorganisms does something called colonization within the first two years of life. Colonization can be affected by things like the type of birth delivery (birth canal vs cesarean section), diet (breast milk vs. formula), and maternal (and infant) illness during pregnancy that involves antibiotics.
Here are a couple of ways to improve your baby’s gut:
- Breastfeeding (all the benefits mentioned above)
- Although this is impossible to prevent, do your best at preventing any infections that require antibiotics. Antibiotics interfere with the natural bacterial colonization process. If mama is breastfeeding, the same goes for her, as it can be passed to the baby.
- Find a probiotic that’s safe for infants.
Reading (Benefits for Baby)
It’s never too early to start reading to your newborn baby! It can expose the baby to the sound of your voice, which can be soothing to them. It can help you build a routine that will last for years and years to come and it can help develop feelings of intimacy between you and your child.
Here are more reading benefits:
- Even though your child can’t understand what you’re saying, they can pick up the rhythm, tones, and inflections of your voice.
- The more words your baby is exposed to, the better prepared they are to eventually read on their own.
- Children who are read to as newborns have been shown to have a larger vocabulary and more advanced mathematical skills than other kids their age.
- A 2019 study found that kids who were read to every day were exposed to around 78,000 words each year, over five years, that equates to 1.4 million words heard!!
- There’s a direct link between how many words a baby hears each day and their language skills.
- It introduces emotion that can’t be received in music or through watching television.
- It exposes them to visuals: shapes, letters, and colors that they will begin to recognize as the months roll on.
Creating a Sleep Routine for Baby
Though your baby will not be on a consistent sleep schedule for quite some time, it’s never too early to start with a sleep routine. If anything, this can get mom and dad familiar with the routine so that it becomes second nature.
Here are some ideas to create a sleep routine starting day 1:
- White noise. Find a good sound machine. White noise can help remind your baby of the womb and help trigger the calming reflex. Put this on during naptimes and nighttime sleep.
- Swaddling. This helps the baby feel nice and snuggly (and again reminds them of the womb). It helps babies fall and stay asleep on their backs (as it prevents the startle reflex from waking them up).
- Bath. Newborns don’t need baths every single night but they probably could use some lotion or maybe a nice massage to help them calm down (and moisturize that new baby skin).
- Timing. Pick a “bedtime” and start the process. Again, your infant probably won’t sleep long but you can get the rest of your family (and yourself) used to the routine.
Setting Your New Baby Up for Success
Every single day to your baby is filled with newness and adventure. But the one constant they have in their life is YOU.
You have the opportunity to set them up for future success. Whether it’s building a solid sleep schedule, reading to them, or helping them build a strong tummy, the choices you make from day 1 of your newborn’s life can have some major impact.
Hopefully, you’ve found some great ideas to help your baby start their life off right! The Wink Family is here to cheer you on along the way!