Infant Development, Baby Care & Breastfeeding

Understanding how to create a secure attachment with your baby is one of the most important aspects of new parent education.  In this article I summarize the topic as explained by Doulas Davies in his book Child Development: A Practitioner’s Guide (Social Work Practice with Children and Families).

Attachment (8.5MB)

This is a PDF of the adult attachment interview protocol intended for practitioner’s use.   I find it a powerful self-insight tool.   You and your partner can interview one another using these questions, or alternatively you could journal your responses.  Greater awareness of your own early attachment experiences and their influence on your personality will increase your ability to consciously form the type of relationship with your child that you desire.
Adult Attachment Interview Protocol

This handout gives a very short overview of some of the fields of science that shed light on the sensitive nature of labor and the hours after birth, and how experiences during this time can effect bonding and behavior.
The Sensitive Nature of Birth and Early Experience

The more you understand about your baby the more amazing they are! Increased understanding also helps you parent intentionally.  Knowing more is fascinating.  It’s easier to be attentive to signs you expect to be able to see, and connecting your knowledge with your experiences will involve your adult mind and increase the enjoyment of parenting a newborn.  In this handout I offer a collection of information bits, also from Davies’ book, related to baby’s development from birth through 3 months.
Interesting About Babies

In addition to this article I recommend Your Baby Is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby by Kevin Nugent.  See my book review here.

Another popular book is Your Amazing Newborn by Kennel and Klaus.  Amazing Baby is a lovely coffee-table style book by Desmond Morris.

You can read about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact on many many web sites.  Here is a brief summary: The Importance of Skin to Skin Contact.  And it works with dads too: Paternal Skin to Skin Offers Baby Same Benefits

Colostrum is wonderful!
What is Colostrum?  How Does it Benefit my Baby?

Breastfeeding goes best when it’s a family endeavor.  Dad’s strong belief in its importance and, when possible, practical support makes a big difference. Here are some tips on how to help a breastfeeding mom. By the way — this website is a fabulous resource encouraging strong relationships and offering very practical insights into life with a new baby. It has articles on many different subjects relevant to this time.
How Dads Can Help With Breastfeeding

Here is a good checklist for dad to consult when observing for improvements or helping in times of struggle.
Latching-on Checklist

Breastfeeding resources abound.  Where to start?

  • kellymom.com: A great web site when looking for your own answers to basic questions.
  • Call Deb to discuss questions, (734) 604-1841 or email me
  • Barbara at the Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor is a fantastic lactation consultant when complications arise, and also offers a free support group on Friday’s and a boutique for nursing supplies.
  • Indigo Forest is a tucked away treasure of warmth, encouragement and great products for breastfeeding and far more.  They also have a free mom’s group, breastfeeding support and a scale for moments of concern about weight gain.

CDC Growth Charts: Your doctor will be tracking your child’s growth, but keeping your own chart  may be reassuring during the early months of breastfeeding. It also provides you with a source of long-term information that may become useful if you have questions between visits or if you move or switch to a new doctor.  Different growth charts sometimes tell a different story, and having your own growth chart is useful if you ever find yourself researching alternative approaches to a health concern your child is facing because you are uncomfortable with the recommendation of your doctor.
Individual Growth Charts (CDC)

This pdf from March of Dimes explains the six states characteristic of newborns, and what to do for your baby in each state.
States of Term Newborn

Helpful breastfeeding video clips – I highly recommend watching the nutritive vs non-nutritive pattern clip.
Breastfeeding Comprehensive

The Happiest Baby on the Block is a book (or dvd) that promotes the “Five S’s to Calm Babies”: swaddle, shhh, swinging, sidelying, and sucking.  It’s practical and works for a lot of babies!  This link takes you to a page that shares the table of contents in detail, which is just about as good as reading the book.  It’s not complicated to learn – just takes a lot of work to carry it out around the clock!

There are so many great reasons to carry your baby often in a sling or baby carrier.  You can try different baby carriers locally at The Little Seedling or Elephant Ears.  The folks at Elephant Ears will be happy to extend a 10% discount if you mention that I sent you.

What is body awareness, and what does proprioception have to do with it?  This article discusses what difficulties with proprioception look like in a preschooler.  That may seem a long way off at this point, but I share it with you to encourage you to keep your baby moving and to affirm that all that bouncing, rocking, and carrying you will fill the hours with is valuable indeed!  Problems with proprioception are a growing issue in our culture which encourages over-use of helpful parenting aids such as baby swings, click and go car seats, videos for entertainment and so on.  We all need an extra pair of hands often when caring for a baby, and the extended family, which may have provided those hands in the past, no longer lives in our house.  Parenting aids are great and a sanity saver – but limiting their use is important.
Movement and Body Awareness

What do I do with a baby all day? Playing with your baby is a joy if you clear your mind’s agenda of other activities and responsibilities.  But even then it can be mind-numbing to fill hours staring at your baby or walking around the neighborhood once again.  Babies need nothing more than diverse experience.  If they are in your arms as you go through life they will have all of the stimulation necessary to promote optimal development.  However, if YOU need game ideas to keep it interesting and fun, they abound… and your baby will love them.  Here is one list of games to play:  Many others can be found by googling “play with your baby” or picking up a book from the parenting or early childhood education section of your favorite book store or library.

The first article on this page has a couple fantastic tips for how fathers can be involved in breastfeeding – an involvement that studies have shown to have a large impact on the duration of breastfeeding.  The many other links on this page will take you to other articles written by fathers about their thoughts and feelings and experiences with breastfeeding.
Fathers and Breastfeeding

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For Healthy, Happy, Families