Baby DevelopmentCongratulations! The much-awaited day has come, and your new baby has finally arrived. The days, months, and years ahead will be some of the most precious you will see in your lifetime as you watch your baby’s growth and development. This is no doubt an exciting time, but as you probably have already realized, it’s also a great responsibility.

As newborns, babies rely on their mothers for their every need, much like they did in the womb. You will be feeding, changing diapers, and soothing your baby around the clock. This in and of itself can be quite a job. In addition to these basic needs, however, the love and attention you give your little one during this early stage of development is equally important.

Once your baby acclimatizes to his new environment and becomes secure in the fact that he will be fed and kept warm and dry, he can turn his attention to cognitive, social, and language developmental tasks. You can facilitate your baby’s growth and development by engaging him in interactive play and talking to him on a regular basis. While your little one may not understand the exact meaning of the words coming out of your mouth, he will understand the feeling behind those words, and gradually, he will come to understand the art of conversation and the emotions that the intonations of your voice express.  The simple act of talking to your baby (even if it’s only in babbles), will facilitate not only his language development, but his cognitive, social, and emotional development as well.

As your baby begins to respond to you by making babbles and gestures of his own, it’s important not only to interact with him, but to monitor his development as well. While it may not be exactly fair to compare your child to other children of the same age, it’s also a natural tendency. You’ll find yourself evaluating your own child’s developmental milestones in terms of your neighbor’s and friend’s rate of development, and there may be times when you become concerned. Rest assured that typically, this concern is unwarranted as all children develop at their own unique pace. If your instincts tell you that something isn’t right, however, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s pediatrician. It’s far better to express a concern and find out that it was unnecessary than miss an important sign and see your child suffer as a result.

The first few months and even years of your child’s development will be an exciting but very busy time. As you navigate the demands and joys of motherhood, don’t forget to document this special period of your family’s life. Take pictures, film videos, make scrapbooks—whatever you can think to do to preserve these precious memories. Before you know it, your helpless newborn will be a rambunctious toddler, and you’ll wonder where the time has gone. Make sure to also take time for yourself as much as possible. If this seems selfish, remember that by caring for yourself, you are also caring for the most important person in your baby’s life—you!