Margret Adams, BSN
NEWBORN TO ONE YEAR
You have completed the important preparations in planning for a child, followed through with your medical care, done your research on your role as a parent, and delivered a healthy baby. So, what’s next?
The most important thing parents can do after the birth of their baby is form an attachment (bond) with the baby. The process of bonding can be accomplished by physical and visual contact as soon as possible after the delivery of your newborn.
After you have bonded with your infant the next step in the process is caring for your baby. This requires meeting your infant’s basic needs of nutrition, comfort, security, and safety.
Current recommendations regarding nutrition are to breastfeed your baby whenever possible for at least the first six months. Some of the benefits of breastfeeding are: breastfeeding provides the most natural source of nourishment for your child, provides an early source of immunity against illnesses (infants have fewer problems with digestion, constipation, and diarrhea when breastfed) and most importantly breastfeeding enhances the bonding between mother and infant. (Please consult a lactation specialist with questions and for help breastfeeding.)
Newborns and infants are dependent upon parents providing a secure and comfortable environment that will keep the child out of harm’s way. This means providing a clean, smoke-free home environment, keeping the home at a comfortable temperature, and keeping noise at a moderate level so as not to disturb an infant’s rest, cause stress or hearing problems. Safety encompasses having a safe sleeping environment by having a separate bed for the infant and placing the infant in the recommended safe sleeping position of sleeping on its back to prevent SIDS. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Your baby will go through many changes during the first year of its life and it is important for parents to be aware of what to expect during the different stages of development in order to make sure your child is developing as expected.
I strongly recommend that parents read, watch, or listen to current information about the first year of a child’s life. Some of the information that has been passed down by our families may not always be the most up-to-date or accurate, so using as many resources as possible will help you insure that your baby gets the best possible start to life.
A note on resources: There are many community resources available to help parents. Here are just a few: MOM’s First, Fatherhood Initiative, your hospital and pediatrician, and of course the people in your community because we all know it “takes a community” to raise our children.