Watching your baby grow from a tiny human is an exciting journey. Through the ups and downs of parenting, you're doing great so far!
While your baby develops into an infant, there are essential factors to understand. Babies won't be babies forever, and their thought processes will undoubtedly differ from yours.
We can all agree that some Nigerian parenting styles must go in this digital age. (Don’t let the grannies read this).
This is the stage where you bond with your baby because they need to develop with certain normalcy.
Before we go into these tips to aid your baby’s transition into infancy, let's understand who an infant is.
Who is an infant?
Infants are babies from one month to one year old. Your baby will grow rapidly during their first year of life. This growth encompasses their physical, emotional and psychological well-being.
How do I know my baby is developing?
Developmental milestones are easily identifiable skills your baby can perform, such as rolling over, sitting up, and walking.
These milestones are usually classified into three categories: motor, language, and social/emotional.
Motor development in infants
Motor development refers to your child’s ability to move around and manipulate the environment.
Initially, your baby’s movement will be more of a reflex and uncontrolled. But as they grow, they will learn to move and use their bodies to perform various tasks.
Some of the common characteristics your infant might display include;
- Supports head and upper body on their stomach
- Stretches out their legs and kicks when on their stomach or back
- Opens and shuts hands
- Places their hands in their mouth
- Grabs and shakes hand toys
- Swipes and bats at dangling objects
- Pushes down legs when on a flat surface
- Follows moving objects with eyes
- Turning their head to face the direction of the noise
Language development in infants
As their brain continues to develop, they also develop the ability to communicate, comprehend and produce spoken language.
Babies learn language by taking in information through their senses of hearing and sight as they learn to process the meanings behind those sights and sounds.
They use their mouth, tongue, and ears as they learn to mimic the sights and sounds of other people to create their sounds and communications.
Babies need functional hearing abilities and a well-formed mouth, lips, vocal cords and tongue to learn from their environment. They also need a well-formed brain.
The brain allows the baby’s instinct to mirror, copy and mimic facial expressions and movements they encounter.
If you notice any slight deviation in the speech or movement, seek your paediatrician's attention as soon as possible.
Social and emotional development in infants
Emotional well-being during the early years profoundly impacts social relationships as your child grows.
This part of development shapes how a child sees themself, dictates who they become, and their understanding of the world.
Emotionally healthy children are better able to establish and maintain positive relationships later in adulthood.
Some characteristics in this phase include;
Smiles at familiar faces
They enjoy playing with other people
Laughs at funny faces you make
Positive parenting tips for every Nigerian parent raising a toddler
There are some things you can do to help your baby develop appropriately during each phase of development.
Remember that every parenting style is unique. Never employ a foreign technique that your child doesn't like.
For a better transition, follow these steps;
- Talk to your baby
- Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words
- Smile more towards your baby
- Read to your baby
- Sing to your baby and play music
- Praise your baby and give them lots of loving attention
- Spend time cuddling and holding your baby
- Play with your baby when they’re alert and relaxed
Parenting isn't a walk in the park. Every milestone comes with challenges, and our job is to equip you with the best resources. Sometimes being hard on your child makes them deviate from you. Note that they can be unusually cranky during this phase. Be gentle with them, as always. You got this!