Baby Care: First YearWritten by on April 4th, 2009
Look at her. Feel the rush of nurturing emotions. Her puffy, slitted eyes open occasionally to look at you. They are probably blue or grey in color, but may change. She can see and follow movement, and she can focus on you at about ten inches, the distance from her nursing position at her mother’s breast to her mother’s face. Her nose is flattened and her head is elongated from her trip down the narrow birth canal. You feel a soft area on her head (called the fontanel) where her skull bones come together. There’s a tough membrane under this soft area so it’s ok to touch. She might have hair, but it may fall out and its color may change. The tops of her ears may be pinned back or folded over. Red pimply patches (called milia) may cover her forehead, nose, and eyelids. They will disappear within a few weeks. Don’t squeeze them. Her neck is obscured by fat rolls.
Touch her. Stroking your baby stimulates her to breathe more rhythmically. Her pink-purple skin may be covered in a white substance, and she may have hair on her shoulders and back. Her hands and feet are wrinkled and bluish. Her arms and legs are flexed toward her chest and abdomen. Feel her quick heartbeat. It’s twice as fast as yours. Her breathing is light and irregular for the first few hours.
Your touch is therapeutic. Babies grow and develop better when they are regularly touched. Regular massage sessions also help you and her stay connected. (Read pages 93 to 98 in this course’s text, The Baby Book, for information and instructions on infant massage.)
Talk to her. She recognizes your voice. Her father’s voice may be particularly familiar since lower tones are heard more easily through amniotic fluid.
Respond to her cries. She is trying to communicate a need to you. With practice, your parent-infant communication system of cue and response will get better and better.
…and much more to learn about caring for her and helping her thrive during her first year.
Students taking this course will gain guidance and inspiration for use throughout their parenting journeys. They will learn valuable information on many aspects of baby care including postpartum family adjustments, basic newborn care, bonding and attachment, growth and development, feeding and nutrition, safety, and health. Through supplemental reading and creative exercises, they will learn about their babies and themselves.