Raising a Happy Baby – The Secrets
Every parent would love nothing more than knowing they are raising a healthy and happy baby. Ensuring that your baby is happy is not just good parenting, your hugs, smiles, encouraging looks, sweet songs, and silly games, all serve your baby in very specific ways. Not only do they give babies emotional support and lead to greater bonding, but these acts of affection also shape their social learning and stress management skills.
Babies reflect symbols of affection; meaning, a happy parent will definitely make a baby happy.
What makes babies happy may surprise you, because happiness isn’t something you give babies, it’s something you teach them. Over-indulged children — whether showered with toys or shielded from emotional discomfort — are more likely to grow into teenagers who are bored, cynical, and joyless.
The best predictors of happiness are internal, not external, and they help kids develop a set of inner tools they can rely on throughout life.
The good news is, you don’t have to be an expert in child psychology to impart the inner strength and wisdom it takes to weather life’s ups and downs; with patience and flexibility, any parent can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of happiness.
Here are 11 ways to make your baby happy and set them up in the right path for life:
- Keep Baby in a safe and protected environment
Ensure that your baby is in a safe and protected environment. This means that his/her clothing and bedding should be appropriate to the climate of the place that you live in. This includes feeding him/her age-appropriate food of varying textures, tastes, and colors, bathing in time, and changing diapers as soon as they are soiled. This also means responding to distress signals immediately. Keeping your baby warm or cool depending on the ambient temperature will also ensure happiness.
- Get connected.
Every Mom must imbibe the 4 B’s right from birth to toddler stage.
Birth bonding: As a new mom, ask to be with your baby as much as you want to in the hospital, from birth to discharge.
Breastfeeding: Besides all the health benefits it bestows on both infants and their moms, nursing helps mothers and newborns get to know each other more quickly.
Baby wearing: Babies who are held and carried close to a caregiver (in arms, a sling, or other carrier) fuss less and often seem more content than babies who aren’t. Try to “wear” your baby as often as is comfortable.
Believing in your baby’s cries. Crying is your child’s language; she uses it to communicate, not manipulate. Happy babies know that their mothers are always a cry away.
Your presence makes them feel safe, protected, cherished, and loved. Even if you are a working parent, ensure that you spend quality time with your baby and that you are never short of hugs, kisses, and smiles.
- Babies need space
Babies learn about their environment by exploring and as soon as they can crawl, they will be off at a pace that will really surprise you. Do not restrict early explorations. Ensure that the space she/he has access to, is Baby proof. You can also make sure your baby is getting enough exercise by gently moving their arms and legs, simulating flying or swimming movements, and singing appropriate songs to the movement. You can also dance with your baby – babies love dancing.
- Get behind the eyes of your baby.
You’ll have to make many on-the-spot parenting decisions. Take a few seconds to get behind your baby’s eyes first – ask yourself ‘how I’d want my mom to respond if I were her’ and you’ll be amazed how your reaction quells sensitive situations rather than escalates them, as getting angry can do. Many of the normal urges to yell at or discipline (yes, there will be those times) can be avoided.
- Stimulate your baby’s mind
Buy toys and books with care. Different sizes, colors, textures, and materials stimulate the baby’s mind and this in turn keeps the baby occupied and happy. When you put toys out of sight and introduce them after a while, the baby looks at them like they’re new. This way, you don’t need to keep buying new toys. Babies also love to look at pictures and reading from large picture books will keep them occupied and happy.
- Rethink “fussy.”
Babies fuss because of their temperament, not because of our parenting abilities. Once you see your child as a personality to be nurtured rather than a behavior problem to be fixed, life gets easier for both you and your baby.
The lesson: Redefine your high-need child in positive terms rather than negative ones like “fussy” or “difficult,” and focus on her wonderful qualities rather than her exhausting ones.
- Talk to your Baby
All through the first year, you can do a lot to encourage your baby’s communication skills by making sure that you spend time talking to your baby. Encourage their early attempts to communicate with you with loving attention – Smile often at your baby, especially when she is cooing, gurgling, or otherwise vocalizing with baby talk and Look at your baby as he or she babbles and laughs, rather than looking away, interrupting, or talking with someone else.
Early speech and language skills are associated with success in developing reading, writing, and interpersonal skills, both later in childhood and later in life.
- Foster healthy sleep attitudes.
Help your baby learn that sleep is a pleasant state to enter and a fearless state to remain in. This means developing a sleeping arrangement that works for the whole family.
Where should your baby sleep? Answer: Wherever it leads to the best night’s rest for everyone. Personally, I believe that the younger the baby, the closer she needs to sleep to her parents.
In the early months, this could mean in a crib or bassinet in your room, in a sleeper attached to your bed, or nestled next to Mom. Realistically, you will juggle various sleeping arrangements until you arrive at one that works for you and your baby.
- Take care of You.
In your zeal to meet your baby’s needs, it is easy to neglect your own and those of your marriage. Just remember: A happy mother equals a happy child, so never feel guilty about taking time for yourself. If Mom and Dad are doing fine, their baby is likely going to be fine, too.
Learn to find a Balance between being a mom, a wife and a working mom (that’s why we are superwomen).
- Learn to read your baby’s emotions
As your child matures from a newborn to a more interactive baby by the age of 6 months, she’ll become a master at showing you when something makes her content or upset. Her face lights up in a heart-melting smile when you enter the room, or she wails when someone takes away her favorite toy. And you’ve probably noticed that she flips between smiling and crying faster than you can say ‘cat in a hat’ in her mouth.
- Have Fun with your Baby
What makes your baby happiest is much simpler: You. And that’s the first key to creating a happy child. Connect with your baby, play with her – if you’re having fun with your baby, she’s having fun. Create a ‘connected childhood’ which is by far the best step to guarantee your child will be happy.
Play creates joy, but play is also how your child develops skills essential to future happiness. As she gets older, play allows her to discover what she loves to do — build villages with blocks, make “meals” out of kitchen ingredients, paint elaborate watercolors — all of which may point her toward interests she’ll have for a lifetime.
Raising a happy baby ensures that the baby grows up to be a well-adjusted child. It is not difficult to keep a baby happy as long as you are willing to put in some time and effort.
Let’s get started Parents.