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WELCOMING THE BABY, NOURISHING THE SENSES


The impressions and experiences of the first months of a baby lay the foundation for their whole life.[1] Studies have shown that how a child is received, the mother's attitude towards the infant, and what the infant experiences in the first months has a significant effect in long-term health and development[2]. Intense or constant negative adult emotions, even if not directed at them, can deeply affect the child. Overstimulation and interruption can exhaust them and hold them back from important learning tasks, just as under-stimulation and lack of needed attention and care can also inhibit their development.


In view of this, what are the impressions a baby has in the first months of its life? What does the newborn need to best start to learn and grow? Because the baby comes from such a sheltered place, in the first weeks and even months, it is reassuring for her to be close to her mother or within hearing distance of her voice, where she is close to something familiar. It is of great benefit for the baby to breastfed for the first six months, if this is possible for the mother.[3] By creating a quiet, simple, warm, nurturing environment, we allow the child to 'awaken' at their own pace. We can provide quiet rooms that are visually appealing and not too cluttered or busy, that are free of strong perfumes and smells, and have gentle lighting, and we can clothe and swaddle the baby in warm, soft, natural fabrics.


By giving gentle, loving care, and by responding to their cries and expressions, we foster a sense of trust and faith in the world. And by respecting the learning tasks they have in the different stages of development, and not rushing them, we allow them to learn when they are ready. Creating an atmosphere of peacefulness and gratitude, and surrounding the baby with beauty, natural human sounds, sounds of nature, singing and gentle, live music [4] (avoiding recorded music) eases their way into life and allows them to grow and learn freely.




See The importance of breastfeeding and colostrum

The baby's surroundings 


Baby equipment


How to make decisions


Clothing and care for the baby


Respecting the baby's first tasks


Observing stages


The negative effects of media


ARTICLES


Pikler's Trust in the Wise Infant

Nourishing the senses, eyes and ears - Joan Salter

Development of movement in babies - Emmi Pikler


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[1] Kabat-Zinn, Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. Everyday Blessings - The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. Hyperion, New York 1997


[2]Dunber, Flanders. The Effect of the Mother's Emotional Attitude on the Infant. Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine Vol. 6, Issue 2, 156-159, 1 April 1944, June 2009 <http://www.pschosomaticmedicine.org/cgi/reprint/6/2/156.pdf>


[3] Gartner, LM, et al.. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. National Guideline Clearinghouse www.guideline.gov Pediatrics 2005 Feb;115(2):496-506., 8 March 2009, researched August 2009 <http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=6499&nbr=4072&ss=6&xl=999>


[4] Arnon, Dr Shmuel. Live Music Calms Premature Babies. BBC News online, September 3, 2004, researched June 2009 < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3624442.stm>


[5] Pikler, Emmi, Friedliche Babys, zufriedene Mütter. Pädagogische Ratschläge einer Kinderärztin Herder Verlag, Freiburg, Germany 2000


 



The New Born Child, Late 1640 


by Georges de la Tour


Hands continue the infant’s first connection to the world (outside of nursing). Hands pick her up, lay her down, wash and dress and maybe even feed her. How different it can be, what a different picture of the world an infant receives when quiet, patient, careful yet secure and resolute hands take care of her—and how different the world seems when hands are impatient, rough or hasty, unquiet and nervous. In the beginning, hands are everything for an infant.” 


From Peaceful Babies—Contented Mothers by Dr. Emmi Pikler[5]


 


Mother and child by J Kirk Richards