Infant Interaction and Development
Our goal is to help you understand your baby's behavioral development to strengthen interactions between you and your baby. During the acute stage, your baby really needs a non-stressful environment with little handling, light and sound. At this stage, the best way to establish a bond with your baby is by simply making eye contact or stroking gently. As the baby progresses, your interactions together will increase.
While premature infants or seriously ill babies are limited in their responses, talking and gentle touching provide necessary stimulation for their physical and emotional development. Infants are active learners from birth by interacting with the environment through their five senses.
These factors are especially significant:
- Gentle touch and massage
- Soothing, rhythmic music
- Seeing the human face
- They can more easily see black and white. They will shut their eyes to bright lights. Newborns are capable of focusing; however, a range of about a foot seems to be best.
- They are comforted by mother's familiar scent and voice of parents.
- They are nourished by the taste of breast milk or formula.
Premature infants have many signals to indicate that they are experiencing excessive stimulation. Pay close attention to their body language. If they get tense, startle, arch their back, look away, grimace or hiccup, they are probably being overwhelmed by their environment. This combination of body language and crying is your baby's way of communicating, and you should react appropriately. Try to decrease stimuli by dimming the lights, shutting off the TV or radio, lowering voices, etc.
Proper Positioning and Bundling
Premature infants need assistance to maintain a secure, flexed position. Bundling your infant so that he or she can bring their hands to their mouth with legs comfortably "tucked" will provide security and warmth.
Back to Sleep Campaign
Recent research shows that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is more common with babies who sleep on their stomachs. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends placing babies to sleep on their backs. There are a few exceptions that your doctor will discuss with you regarding positioning should they apply.
In addition, make sure that your baby is sleeping on a firm mattress. Avoid using fluffy blankets, comforters, pillows, sheepskin or other soft materials; some babies have smothered with these soft materials in their cribs.