POSITIVE PARENTING

The First Five Years

A POSITIVE LIFE Publication by Dr. James F. Hubbard

 

Chapter One

From Birth To Three Months

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Expected Norms For the Period

Sleeping Time - The infant will sleep longer periods between feedings and by three months most infants will sleep through the night. The parents can expect less demanding night care as the baby grows.

Feedings - The infant starts out with frequent feedings, but these will decrease in number. The amount consumed will increase as the feedings become fewer in number. Bowel movements and the Urination pattern will tend to parallel the feedings. Diaper changes will be fewer. Some infants signal the need by crying but others will not make the parent aware of the need. It is important to make the change as soon as possible to avoid irritation to the babyís bottom.

Growth - The baby will grow in size and function. There will be a steady weight gain and an increase in muscular activity. The functioning begins in the neck area and proceeds to the arms and legs. By three months the infant will be a considerable amount of movement and the infant will be able to support the head. Putting the infant down on a flat surface helps increase the activity.

Affection and Interaction - At first there will appear to be little response to talking and caressing. The infant will later try to fixate the face of the parent with a concentrated looking. Next will be head turning and gurgling. At around three months comes a distinct response called the smile. It is important that the parent coo and talk whenever holding the baby even before the smile. The smile invites interaction from Daddy, Grandparents, friends, and even older siblings. The baby is now a real person.

Individual Differences - Sleeping through the night and the smile normally occur around three months. All infants are moving toward this goal, but there is a characteristic pace for each infant. Some may achieve these norms earlier than three months and some later. Parents need to understand this and not be concerned. It is a benefi- cial practice for the parent to record the arrival time to guide the expectations for the future growth as normal, early or late.

Crying - Crying is a signal that the infant is unhappy and may be experiencing some pain.. Crying is one of the signals for hunger. When the infant wakes up, the parent must get ready in a hurry for the feeding before real crying emerges. Too much crying may trigger indigestion when feeding does occur. If crying occurs after eating, there is likely to be gas. Putting the baby on the shoulder and patting the back may well relieve the pain.. Moving about and talking to the distressed infant will be beneficial also. The source of the indigestion may be in the motherís milk or the formula. Mother can watch her diet. She is still eating for two. Formulas are more easily changed. Crying may be no more than a need for affection.

There is an old saying that may be really true. The baby cannot get too much loving. When the baby is awake there is a need for affection and interaction. Touching and holding is especially pleasureable. Lying around untouched is like not eating Feeling in the begining is more positive in the head and neck area. The lips are also sensitive to touch. As the child grows older there is more area available for caressing. Mother may need help from others in this vital matter.

The childís unhappiness during the first three months may well be due to lack of visual stimulation. Looking at the walls of the crib or looking at the ceiling is not very pleasureable. The baby needs to be taken outside to a different environment. Holding the baby upright is essential for seeing things around him. Carrying the baby upright on the back or in the front permits visual stimulation.

Infants need protection from pollutants which disturb the breathing. This may be a real source of unhappiness. Staying indoors too much may bring this on from the air stir in the heating system. Fresh clean are contributes to both health and happiness. Mothers learn to take a walk in designated areas away fro, car exhaust.

The Use of the Pacifier - The pacifier will stop crying and may even get the baby back to sleep. Parents are urged to use the pacifier as infrequently as possible for two reasons: first it will lose its effectiveness. The infant will not take it. Second, it may replace a need far more important. Holding, caressing, interaction and visual stimulation technique is much more valuable and more lasting. The pacifier may be similar to the Biblical principle: if he asks for bread, would you give him a stone?

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         Copyright 2006 James F. Hubbard
All Rights Reserved
May Be Copied For Educational Purposes Only
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