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Every parent wants to know that they have a happy baby.
When you see their broad, toothless smile, hear their squeals and see their jubilation when they greet you, it not only melts your heart but signals that you’re doing something right. Your baby is happy, and you’re the reason for it.
With the multitude of things that you need to do, making sure that your baby is happy should be at the top of your list! But how do you make sure that your baby is happy?
If you’re asking yourself this question, you’ve come to the right place. In this article are the 6 ingredients for your happy baby formula.
So, what is the magic formula for having a happy baby? Mix these 6 ingredients to make a truly happy baby.
1. Show Your Baby Love and Affection
We all know about the basics of caring for a baby, but to have a happy baby, you need to go beyond that. Children need love, care, and attention to thrive. Just providing your baby with the basics of feeding, cleaning and putting them to sleep will not make her happy.
In fact, a study that followed orphaned children in Romania who only had their basic needs of feeding, clothing, and cleaning met found that the children had severe emotional and psychological problems because of a lack of love and affection.
Babies need love and affection to thrive. They need attentive and gentle parents who can respond to their needs and be attuned to them. Parents who are attuned to their babies understand that when a baby cries, it’s because they are trying to communicate that something is wrong and that they need attention.
Showing your baby love means having empathy and knowing that attending to her when she cries will not spoil her.
Actions like showering your baby with hugs and kisses will show her that she is loved, valued and precious. This love and affection will help your baby to develop an attachment and bond with you.
Research has shown the positive impact of a loving relationship with a primary caregiver on children’s brain and later development such as better memory, self-esteem, impulse control and emotional regulation.
2. Take Care of Your Baby’s Physical Needs
A healthy baby is a happy baby. A child’s first three years are characterised by rapid growth and development. As such, babies need nutrients to nourish their growing bodies and brains. Poor diet for babies can result in death, malnutrition and stunted growth. Likewise, babies should be fully immunized against harmful diseases and viruses in order to survive early childhood.
You can make sure that you are taking care of your baby’s physical health by following the age-appropriate paediatric recommendations and your national vaccination schedules for infants and young children.
3. Read to Your Happy Baby
Much like everything on this list, reading to your baby is one of the best ways to make your baby happy. Reading is fun and is a major booster for your baby’s brain development, language and reading skills. More than that, reading with your baby is a great opportunity for bonding.
It is a pleasure to find a cosy spot with a great book full of pictures and excitement and see your baby reacting to the story as the words come alive.
To get your child in the habit of reading and developing a lifelong positive relationship with books, it’s best to start as early as possible. And there is no better time than when they are babies.
Where ever you are on your reading journey with your baby, I highly recommend my recently published children’s book, My Happy Baby.
This book is truly a story of how to have a happy baby. As you read this beautifully illustrated story about a happy baby and her adoring parents, you will see how love can be manifested in your baby’s growth and development.
4. Play with Your Baby
Did you know that play is the work of the child? Through play, babies learn about and explore their world. Play is fun and helps to develop your baby’s brain, encourages creativity and imagination, and is the foundation for learning.
The great thing about playing with your baby is that it doesn’t take much effort. A simple game of peek-a-boo is all you need to get your baby to engage.
However, you shouldn’t stop there because there are many different activities and opportunities for you to engage your baby in play. For example, you can play with your baby during tummy time or bath time by using objects in your environment to create a fun and exciting experience for him.
5. Stimulate Your Baby
Similar to play, providing stimulating experiences for your baby is the key to making her happy. When you stimulate your baby, you are taking part in activities that engage her senses like sound, sight, touch, smell and taste. Infant stimulation can be good for your baby’s sense of curiosity, brain development, memory and attention span.
As your baby grows and develops, you should ensure that she is getting the necessary, age-appropriate stimulation. Some ways to stimulate your baby include:
a. Talk to her as you go about your daily activities. Try to ensure that you use these opportunities to prepare her for transitions. For example, tell her when you are about to change activities, give her a bath or start a new play activity.
b. Get toys that stimulate her senses with bright colours for sight, music and songs for sound and plush animals for touch.
c. For taste, introduce her to different tastes and textured foods at the appropriate times with the guidance of her paediatrician.
6. Allow Your Baby to Get Enough Sleep
It is recommended that babies 0-3 months sleep for 14-17 hours in 24 hours and 12-15 hours for babies between 3-6 months old. As your baby grows, you can expect that beyond 6 months, he will begin to sleep through the night.
Ensure that you become familiar with his cues that tell you when he wants to sleep which may include yawning, fussing, rubbing his eyes or crying.
To ensure that he is getting the recommended sleep, try to avoid loud noise in the environment that can interrupt his sleep.
You may consider bedtime routines that are a surefire way of putting your little one to bed, like reading a story, singing a lullaby or playing soft, calming music at a low volume.
How do you like our formula for a happy baby?
Tell us in the comments!