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Newborns Need Reliable Caregivers

One major focus for babies in the first couple years of life is learning about trust. Their experiences and the conclusions they come to about who/if they can trust have an impact on their ability to trust for the rest of their lives. If babies have consistent, reliable and responsive caregivers in the early years, they are more likely to have healthy, trusting relationships with future peers and romantic partners down the road. 

While most of us don’t remember our infant and toddler years, those experiences have the biggest impact on our lives. How we relate to and respond to others, our ability (or inability) to self-regulate, our sense of self worth etc. all begin in infancy. 

What does this mean for parents and caregivers of newborns?

The relationship you are starting to build now matters. 

Respond to your baby’s cries. Show your baby you can be counted on to show up and meet their needs, physical and emotional. 

Look your baby in the eye and calmly talk to them. Tell them what you’re thinking, what you’re going to do next, what you wonder about. It’s ok if you don’t always know the purpose for your baby’s crying. Calmly tell your baby that you’re not sure what they need right now and wonder aloud about what it could be. If you find yourself getting frustrated, it’s always ok to lay your baby in a safe spot and take a few minutes to calm down/ask for support. Tell your baby you will lay them down and come right back.

Always tell your baby where you are going and when you will return, even if you are just stepping out of the room for a few moments.

Giving your baby as much information as possible helps them to relax and anticipate what will happen. When babies know what to expect, they feel safe and secure and learn to trust that you will always prepare them. They don’t have to wait in fear of the unknown. 

Remember, you are your baby’s tour guide as they experience life outside the womb for the first time. When you show your baby a pattern of consistency in responding and in your caregiving style, they will learn to trust you over time. 

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