Your Baby Boy: Falling in Love with your Son or the Importance of Attachment
As you are gazing into the eyes of your newborn baby boy, you are wondering: what now, how do I fulfill his needs? This was rather simple while he was still in the womb after all...
This is probably especially true if you are a first time parent.
The physical needs of your baby boy are probably obvious to you: you need to feed him, keep him safe and warm.
After keeping him safe and fed, the most important thing for your baby is to be loved! There has been a lot of research into human attachment in recent years and the findings are surprising.
A baby's experience of his mother and father actually shapes his brain. And the reverse is true, a mother or a father's experience of their baby also shape their brains.
Attachment and love from you will give your son the foundation of a secure personality. Unfortunately, there are still people who believe that boys need "toughening up". Nothing could be further from the truth! Some researchers think that they may actually be more vulnerable than girls to problems in attachment.
You must only remember one thing about the needs of your baby boy: he needs LOVE. Forget about all the trendy accessories and the must-have baby gear. Forget about the beautiful outfit that he will only wear for a few weeks. This is all secondary.
If you are stressing out trying to get everything ready before the big day, relax! All that your baby boy needs is you and your love. Of course, a bit of shopping never hurts...
Now we've set the record straight ;) let's look at your baby's development.
The infant phase is the fastest growth in life. You will be amazed at how fast he progresses and at what new developments a new day brings!
At first, your baby's movements will be instinctive, his sense of touch will be very important. By 4 months he will be more coordinated and he will have the ability to control the movements of his legs and hands better. By 7 months he will be able to sit up and hold things. Around the same age, he will start to be mobile and will probably attempt crawling. He will be able to point or reach for things. Around 9 months your mealtimes are probably going to get fun, as he'll want to start feeding himself! At that age, he will also start to try standing, a first stage before trying to walk around his first birthday.
Please keep in mind that the ages given are only to give you some idea of your baby's abilities, all children develop at their own pace. Try not to focus on a certain age for milestones but look at your child's behavior if you are worried that he might be delayed. Your mommy (or daddy) instinct is your best asset!
You might be wondering what you can do to help your baby boy reach these milestones. The answer is NOTHING. All you need to do is be there for your son, celebrate his achievements and keep him safe without being too anxious when he attempts new things.
Yes, he will fall when he learns to walk, he will make a mess when he feeds himself, but that is all part of the fun of learning!
During the first two months of your baby boy's life, most of his attention will be focused on you. Around 3 months, the "social smile" will appear, your son will reward you by lighting up when he sees you. But, it's not until the 6 months mark that your baby boy will be able to distinguish his mom's face in any given circumstances. By 7 months he'll turn into a true social animal and will be smiling at everybody he meets. By 12 months he will be more confident and will start to wave good-bye. His "vocabulary" will expand and he should have a vocabulary of about 4-6 words that you understand. He should now be able to follow simple directions. By 18 months his vocabulary will consist of 8-20 words.
If your son is in daycare or often in contact with other children his age, he will probably search their company when he is playing but they will be playing alongside, not together. It usually takes longer for little boys to be ready for "friends".
First, you are probably wondering what cognitive development is. If this is the case, let me give you a definition:
"Cognitive development is the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood."
Sounds tricky, right? Relax, you don't need to do anything. Your baby boy will achieve all this on his own, he is a learning machine! The world around him will provide him with endless opportunities to learn. You don't need to invest in expensive educational toys either, your kitchen cupboards are just as full of possibilities to your baby.
During his first year, his two most important achievements in cognitive development will be the discovery of "self" and that object have a permanence, i.e. they still exist even when he can't see them. Both these discoveries will happen around 6-8 months. Suddenly, your baby will start to make faces in the mirror, noticing that the face in the mirror is also changing, how exciting! Playing peekaboo will also be a great opportunity for him to experience object permanence.
See, I told you before, nothing very tricky, really. If you are a relaxed parent, who enjoys playing with her baby boy, then he will naturally be faced with situations in which he will learn. You don't need to enroll him in any classes to make him smart, the environment will provide him with all the needed interactions.
It will take a little bit of time for your baby to learn to control his emotions. In his first two months, he will mostly react positively when comforted and very negatively when in pain.
Very often, babies will start crying more after 6 weeks and around 3 months go through a tough period. It might be challenging to you but don't despair. At 4-6 months your baby boy will begin to regulate his emotions better and may seem like a different baby. He will enjoy being cuddled.
He will start to be possessive towards his parents until about 9-10 months. During this phase, he will usually become distressed when separated from his parents. This "separation anxiety" is normal and sign of a healthy attachment. It should get better around 12 months but your son will still feel easily threatened in his relationships. For example, he might not like it if his mother holds another baby.
A last word about attachment:
So, what IS the big deal about attachment? A baby boy's strong attachment to his primary carer (usually his mother) will give him trust and confidence in life. Why? Because he will learn that his parents are here for him. When they leave, they come back. They listen to him and fulfill his needs, physical and emotional.
Developing a strong attachment to your baby is particularly important. At age 15 months, most boys will have developed an attachment pattern that will last. Of course, the attachment he has with his parents can change later in his life, but it has been shown that this early pattern is long lived. In boys, problems in attachment have been shown to be associated with violence later in life.
Essential-Tips-for-Moms.com If you sometimes feel overwhelmed and alone, know that you are not. Take advantage of the research and findings on this site. Advice for moms includes everything from, how to be a happy mom, to finance, to parenting tips, to PMS, and more.
Dr Maud, a pediatrician, provides up-to-date health information and practical medical advice for parents of infants and toddlers
Child-Development-Guide.com A resource site dedicated to the growth and development of children from birth to teens with practical suggestions for parents, carers, early year's practitioners and students.