The first year of being a parent can never be easy, no matter how prepared parents may think they are. No doubt, if not the most, it’s one of the most challenging jobs in the world. It often becomes tough for parents to get their ‘me time’ as they get occupied with a lot of work-related to taking care of their infant in the first two years of life.
During this stage, constant engagement with the child in terms of breastfeeding and caregiving might also take a toll on parents’ sleep cycles. Parents usually don’t realize how soon time passes, but it isn’t always bad. The first two years can be excellent for parents to notice the little things the infant does and may entertain for hours.
Tips to Make This Journey Even More Fruitful
Infants Between the Ages of 0 and 1
Infants are tiny and sensitive at this stage, so good hand hygiene before holding the baby is a must. In the pandemic-stricken world, newborns are vulnerable as they lack a solid immune system and are susceptible to germs, bacteria, and viruses. Also, while carrying or holding infants, supporting their heads and necks is very important till the 3rd or 4th month.
Most infants follow a steady sleep cycle during the initial newborn stage, waking up only for feeds or diaper changes. Babies usually need a feed every 2-3 hours until a particular weight milestone is achieved, post which the feeds can be on-demand which means when the baby cries for milk. This schedule can be stressful for mothers or primary caretakers, and it is essential to sleep or rest when the baby does the same.
Also, Read: How to Manage Your Twin Babies
It is imperative to allow infants to see, hear, touch, and use all their developing senses. It also promotes primary hand, leg, and eye movements. The infants gradually learn to control their actions. When looking into the eyes of a child, always smile. The infant mainly responds to facial expressions. Enjoy this phase, talking to the baby in a calm, quiet tone to engage and interact.
Touch, hold and make skin-to-skin contact to give infants a sense of peace and security. Encourage the infants to achieve their goals like crawling, clapping, moving, and some basic movements. When the infant tries to play, play with them, spend more time with the infants every day to understand their needs and actions better. Breast feeding is the best time for mothers to have conversation with babies, as baby can see mother’s smile and lip movements.
The most important challenge for all new mothers is breast feeding. As according to WHO normal baby should start breast feed within half an hour of delivery. Baby should be breast fed every 2-3 Hours .i.e. nearly 8 to 10 times per day. During initial 2 – 3 days mothers should be monitored by lactation consultant during breast feeding.
Infants Between the Ages of One and Two Years:
One-year-old infants, by this age, start doing a few things for themselves and get pretty good at routine tasks like trying to eat with their hands. Infants begin to observe the parents on how they do things and try to imitate them, like using a spoon, telephone, hairbrush, etc., although they might not get it correct in the first place. Encourage the baby during this phase and help get comfortable around the home environment.
At this stage, the infants also begin to make sounds, smile, and make hand motions, and parents need to assist them in this developing stage to adapt better.
Parents can ask their infant to find any object and give little tasks that will help them recognize things, places, etc. Parents need to ask simple questions and always respond to the child’s attempt to talk to help them start saying a few words in the beginning. Parents can offer their children anything to put in the container and then let them take it out, which will help develop eye and hand coordination—playing a game that can be questioned and answered, such as where is the sky? Where is the bird? What is in the wall picture? It also helps the child to remember a few things.
Also, Read: How to Set a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
Parents also can teach infants basic gestures like Hi – fi, Clap Hands, waving BYE BYE, Shake hands. Try to teach body parts with help of nursery rhymes audio. Slowly also making learning as fun by showing variety of colour flash cards.
After 15 – 18 Months baby can have diaper free time & learn to toilet train by parents, so as baby can express themselves before going playschool.
Being a parent is the most beautiful feeling, but parenthood is not easy. It is a phase of life where commitment and joy go hand-in-hand. Parents should congratulate themselves on making it through the first two years of parenthood.
Also, Read: Know How the Brain of Your Baby Develops
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