~Beyond Feeding and Holding~
By: Kori Bower
Most parents know that a baby’s basic needs are food, sleep, and love. Doctors direct us on the best diet for the baby and a quite, peaceful baby easily identifies sleep with eyes closed. But how do you really show a baby love? Experts know that reasonably recognizing and fulfilling your child’s need for food and sleep is an expression of love that is imperative to a sensitive period in the development of your infant’s brain, physical growth, and emotional and social development. Meeting these needs forge a secure attachment between the primary caregiver and child. Other loving interactions can include holding your baby in front of you to explore your face. Studies show that newborns can learn the facial pattern of their mother’s face and distinguish hers from an unfamiliar person by visual sensitivity to the broader outlines of faces. Read a short board book to your newborn child at bedtime. This fosters secure attachment, operant-conditioning gives the child cues to prompt that it is bed time, and it strengthens their language skills, revealed in studies that recorded ERP brain-waves capturing infants’ ability to recognize meaningful sound variations around 5 mo. old. These are just a few ways to lovingly interact with your infant beyond holding and feeding.