An Experts Guide on How Parents can Support Baby Development in the First Few Weeks

Supporting Baby's Development

"Babies flourish under environments of love and affection through serve-and-return interactions with their parents"

Recently, Mizzie The Kangaroo founder Sandra Ebbott had the pleasure of speaking with Lauren Williams, a midwife at Vera Women's Health, about how parents can best support their babies in the crucial first few weeks of life.

Creating a Loving and Nurturing Environment

Lauren Williams emphasised that babies thrive in environments filled with love and affection. "Babies flourish under environments of love and affection through serve-and-return interactions with their parents," she explained. Serve-and-return interactions are the back-and-forth exchanges between a parent and child, such as eye contact, babbling, and smiling.

Key Activities to Foster Development

Lauren shared several key activities that can greatly benefit a baby’s development in the first few weeks:

  1. Eye Gazing: Babies are born with the ability to hold their head up just enough to gaze into their parents' eyes. This simple act fosters a deep bond and helps in developing social skills.

  2. Babbling: Engaging in babbling with your baby encourages them to start forming sounds and words. It's a crucial step in language development.

  3. Reading Stories and Singing: Reading to your baby and singing songs are wonderful ways to stimulate their auditory and cognitive development.

  4. Floor Play: Allowing your baby to spend time on the floor helps strengthen their muscles and promotes motor skills. Floor play is an essential activity in the first few weeks.

The Role of Genetics and Environment

"The way that we develop is influenced by both our genetics and epigenetics, as well as the environments in which we grow up," Lauren noted. This means that while genetics play a role in development, the physical and social environments are equally important. Creating a nurturing environment where babies feel connected, protected, and loved is crucial for healthy brain development.

Tips for Parents

To sum up, here are some practical tips for parents to support their baby's development in the first few weeks:

  • Engage in Serve-and-Return Interactions: Make eye contact, smile, and respond to your baby's cues.
  • Spend Time on the Floor: Encourage floor play to help develop motor skills.
  • Read and Sing to Your Baby: Stimulate their senses and cognitive development through stories and songs.
  • Create a Loving Environment: Ensure your baby feels safe, loved, and protected.

For more expert tips and insights, visit our blog and learn how you can support your child's journey from the very beginning.

Transcript

So how can parents support their babies in the first few weeks in terms of development?  

Babies thrive best under environments of love and affection having serve and return interactions with their parents. Eye gazing, babies are born with the ability to hold their head purely to bond with their parents. So eye gazing, babbling, reading stories and singing to their baby and definitely floor play is a big activity in the first few weeks.

The way that we develop is both interactions between our genetics. and epigenetics and the environments in which we grow up in, which means it's not just what we are inherited, but it's the physical and the social environments in which babies are born into that builds on that architecture of the brain. So feeling connected and protected and loved is the most important thing for parents to do for their babies.


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