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Remember that the most important psychological task your baby needs to accomplish during the first year of life is the establishment of trust. She learns about trust primarily from you

  • When your baby learns that she can trust you, she is on her way towards mental health
  • Your very young baby is focused on her physical state, mostly on her digestion. Try to keep her as comfortable as possible and get treatment from your doctor or paediatrician if you are concerned about her physical health.
  • Your baby is in the oral phase of psychological development. She has a basic need to suck, even when she is not feeding.
  • Within reason, feed your baby when she is hungry, not when the clock tells you it is time for a feed. This applies especially to the early months
  • Give breastfeeding your best shot. It has huge psychological benefits for babies
  • Don’t be afraid to give your baby a dummy if she is willing to use one
  • Don’t be afraid to pick up your baby when she cries
  • Close contact with your baby during the first few months of life is essential. She needs your loving touch and your affection almost as much as she needs your milk
  • Take as much maternity leave as you can. At least 3 months is vital. Take more time off if you can. You and your baby need time to get to know each other
  • Babies cannot be spoilt and they cannot be naughty. Take your baby’s cries as evidence that she is feeling distressed. Even if you can’t relieve her pain (as is sometimes the case in colic) you can offer her comfort. If you calm and soothe her by rocking, carrying, singing, massaging, etc, you are showing her that she is safe, you love her and things are going to be ok
  • Never be violent with your baby