The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: You Can't Spoil an Infant!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You Can't Spoil an Infant!

Infants cry for a number of reasons - hunger, discomfort, pain, boredom, and even overstimulation.  They rely on their caregivers to feed them, change them, keep them warm, care for their illnesses, stimulate them mentally, or leave them alone for a while to explore their world on their own.  They DO NOT cry because they want attention like a three-year-old might behave.  Therefore, when an infant cries, it's perfectly acceptable, and even desirable, to run to that infant to soothe her.

In fact, when an infant's needs are met, the child becomes bonded with her caregiver and will be able to form permanent attachments more easily as an adult.  Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson found that this trust versus mistrust stage, which lasts from birth to eighteen months, is the most important period in a person’s life. During this stage, infants learn whether they can trust those around him to provide for his care and comfort.  It's a simple philosophy: When his needs are met, he trusts those around him; when his needs are not met, he mistrusts those around him.  That trust and mistrust will continue into adulthood.

So how do you ensure that your infant learns trust rather than mistrust?
  1. Change diapers regularly.
  2. Feed on demand rather than on a schedule.
  3. Hold your baby and comfort him when he cries.
  4. Keep baby clean with regular baths. (Never leave the baby unattended in the bathtub.)
  5. Provide warm clothes during cold weather and light clothes during warm weather.
  6. Talk to your infant in adult talk rather than baby talk so he learns the proper way to speak.
  7. Install a safe mobile over the crib for alone time. (Make sure the pieces are baby safe in case one falls off the arms of the mobile.)
  8. Use the TV as a babysitter sparingly!
Happy Parenting!

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