Raising your baby is probably one of the most important things you'll ever do, and you might be worried about making sure that they are properly stimulated and mostly just happy.
You don't have to be an expert, there's plenty of things you can do at home to make sure that you give your little one the best start in life. Other than caring for their basic needs, keeping them entertained, well fed and stimulated, we've put together some of our best tips on how to make sure that your baby is happy.
Shower them in love
Experts say it's impossible to show too much love and attention to a newborn.
This sounds obvious, but it's important that your baby learns that you love them unconditionally from day one. Respond to their cries - which doesn't mean that you have to jump up every single time, but just make sure that you show them lots of affection as and when they really need it. Building a strong relationship like this is important, as the caring pattern of you picking them up ad comforting them when they cry (by feeding, changing their nappy, cuddling them, etc), shows them that you are a reliable person in their life, and they will begin to develop a trust and love towards you in return. They will very quickly associate you with happiness and relief from discomfort.
Being physically close to your little one by cuddling or swaddling them is enough for them to begin to build that emotional bond.
Back to basics
A healthy baby is a happy baby. It's important that you keep on top of all the basics, such as keeping them well fed, hydrated and up to date with all of their vaccines and health checks. Sleep is also very important. This is a time where the brain cells make connections which help your baby to learn and process what they have seen, heard, and experienced throughout the day. Although they sleep unpredictably, you can help by setting more regular nap times and bedtime routines.
Talk to your baby
Research has shown that talking to your baby can be extremely beneficial. Doing this from a very early age can help them develop conversational and language skills that will set them ahead in their future life. It doesn't have to be anything too profound - most people like to use 'baby talk', which is a simplified version of the english language. You can simply describe what you are doing in the moment when you run them a bath or change their nappy, for example, "Daddy is just getting you a nice clean nappy," or "Mummy is making sure the water is not too hot."
Reading books also helps them in a similar way. Reading out loud from a colourful, stimulating book can help them to visualise what you're talking about, and make connections with vocabulary early on.
Work on your own temper
If you want to set a good example of how people behave, then you must first try to work on your own temper. This may be difficult (more so for some than others) but getting worked up or stressed out in front of your baby is not going to be very helpful, especially when they begin to grow into toddlers. Instead, you must show a level of control and calmness, which will reflect straight onto them in the situation - again making them trust and respect you instead of being fearful or on edge.
Mastering a skill always makes people happy. Choose activities that will gently challenge your little one's skills - for example, opening a box or feeding themselves with a spoon for the first time. Try to resist the urge to do it for them straight away, and allow them some time to try and figure it out for themselves, which will encourage problem solving skills. If they struggle for a long time, show them how to do it, then hand it back over to them and encourage them to try and do the same. When they manage it, make sure to praise them and tell them how clever they are - this way they will develop a feeling of self belief and accomplishment.
We often finish off our blogs with this point, but make sure that you're having fun! The cuddly bear or bright bouncer might make your little one happy in the moment, but what will really make your baby deeply happy is you.
Play games, talk to and sing with your little one - if you're having fun, they definitely are. All the simple little games that you play in your day to day life that make them laugh the most is what helps them to feel truly euphoric, and in turn helps you to develop that deep, unbreakable bond from an early age. Whether it's peek-a-boo, tickling, knocking down towers, or making lots of noise by hitting their toys about that makes them laugh the most, encourage it!
Go with the flow, and allow them to discover what they enjoy doing with you - this will ultimately shape them into the happiest of humans, with fond memories of their childhood.