I love watching new babies reveal their little personalities — and it happens so soon in the first year of life. Early on you can see the little extroverts, the more cautious ones, the highly selective, and the curious, watchful types.
Our babies are all so different, and it’s neat (and frustrating, and confusing) to watch their individual personalities unfold.
But that said, over the time I’ve been teaching Mommy and Me classes, I’ve seen that a lot of new parent advice is applicable to most babies across the board.
Here are 10 pieces of advice for baby’s first year, starting with “Think attunement, not attachment” :
1. Think attunement, not attachment: Attachment is such an important concept in clinical and research psychology. But the way it gets translated in popular parenting circles can skew the original meaning of the term. Read more on this tip here.
2. The best place for baby is on the floor: The floor is where your baby flexes her muscles and practices her visual and other sensory skills. It’s the best home base for a baby.
3. Avoid labeling your baby: Picky, fussy, chubby, drama-queen. We can throw a lot of labels around in the first year before we think it matters. But here’s why you may want to reconsider.
4. Newborns nap after 90 minutes: If you’ve heard me talk about infant sleep, you’ve heard this before. A baby’s biological rhythm makes her drowsy about 90 minutes after waking.
5. Get friendly: leave the house, join a group, pick up a nice, normal mom at the park.
6. Step away from the flashcards: You don’t need to teach your baby. Here’s why.
7. Get out of the house: Sunlight is so important for your mood, energy, and sleep. Make it a point to leave the house at least once a day, even if it’s just to practice walking with a new baby sling.
8. Work on baby’s sleep: If your goal is eventual independent sleep for your baby, you’re probably going to need to put a little work and coordination in. Not all babies breeze into a full night’s sleep (read: most do not), so if that’s your expectation (for example, you have other kids and or you work), you’ll need to find a sleep philosophy that works for you and stick to it.
9. Don’t jump at every noise: See if you can hold yourself back from leaping out of bed and rocking or feeding your baby at every peep. You know when your baby needs you and when she’s just talking to herself and kicking her feet around in the crib, right?
10. Date night is nice, but: You might need to more than just escape to a movie together. Here’s why.
There are so many more pieces of advice out there. Can you add some tidbits for parents in the first year?