When it comes to children’s health, many people think about proper physical development first. Of course, kids need plenty of healthy foods, to spend time outside, get some activity, and get plenty of sleep, right? Sure, it’s a little different when they are newborns, but for the most part, people of all ages need similar things in order to be physically healthy. But many people do not consider the fact that emotional development is also a super important aspect of overall health.
Parents of newborns should definitely research healthy emotional development. In fact, this is a topic that every pediatrician should be super knowledgable about. It’s just as important as physical health—and in fact, when parents set up their baby for strong emotional development, it actually does boost their physical health, too. It’s all connected!
However, many people still do not realize that newborns have many specific needs when it comes to emotional development. Parents should be prepared to focus on this as much as they would focus on their newborn’s physical health. The good news? It’s not difficult or expensive to do it. Here are 20 crucial things that newborns need for proper emotional development, according to doctors.
20 Swaddling Can Be Helpful
Why do newborns love to be swaddled so much? Well, for starters, it’s very comforting and soothing if they feel stressed over anything going on in their environment. According to Mama Natural, this is because it actually mimics the feeling of being in the womb—and of course, this is the environment that the newborn is most familiar with. Everything else feels overwhelming at first! Let’s face it, the outside world can be a very chaotic place, especially if you’re a newborn who can’t totally express yourself yet. It’s tough out there! This is why swaddling is such a useful technique.
19 Exposure To Different Expressions
Alright, this might seem like an odd piece of advice, but hear us out. According to Baby Centre, newborns are basically fascinated by faces. It’s human instinct to want to check out other people’s faces—it’s how we learn to recognize each other and get to know each other! Newborns should be exposed to a variety of faces—in other words, it all comes back to socializing. For newborns, it really is so important not only to spend lots of quality time with their parents, but to be around people who aren’t mom and dad. They can be social butterflies!
18 The Chance To Discover Colors
Did you know that newborn babies are actually not able to see color right away? Yup, it’s true—according to Baby Centre, it can actually take babies a few weeks before they are able to begin distinguishing between different colors. At first they can only see in black and white! It can be fun for parents to introduce newborns to brightly colored toys—it will really fascinate them! This is why so many toys for babies are so bright and bold. Encouraging newborns to learn about the world through their five senses is a good way to prompt their curiosity.
17 Exposure To Different Textures
So, now that we’ve established that newborns take a few weeks before they are developed enough to see different colors, it’s time for another fun fact that most people don’t know! According to The Bump, newborns also take a few weeks before they can really distinguish between different textures. And when they do, they find it so interesting! It can be a good idea for parents to allow their newborns to play with different fabrics, toys, and even blankets that have various textures. Sometimes promoting healthy emotional development is all about supporting curiosity and that natural human instinct to explore.
16 Listening To Music
Why is listening to music so beneficial for the emotional wellbeing of newborns? Well, according to What to Expect, it’s actually because newborns are able to hear music while they are still in the womb. This is so interesting—many parents sing to their unborn babies, but it’s so cool to know that yes, they can actually hear it! Hearing those same songs after they are born can be very comforting. It’s a familiar sound in an unfamiliar environment. It is also one of their first connections to the sounds of their parent’s voices, which will always be a source of comfort.
15 Time In Brand New Environments
Can it be a little bit scary for newborns to be in unfamiliar environments? Yes, of course—but remember, at first, the whole world is an unfamiliar environment, and day by day, they will see more and more of it. According to What to Expect, bringing newborns into new environments is actually so good for their emotional development—yes, even though it can be stressful for them at times! They need to get used to being in new places somehow, so might as well just give it a go and see how they feel! Newborns are naturally curious, so it can be fun.
14 Quality Time With Dad
Now, we all know that newborns definitely need plenty of quality time with mom, and time spent with both parents, but what about having some quality time with just dad? Of course, this is totally necessary! According to What to Expect, it’s so crucial for fathers to be equally involved in their newborn’s life. This means making time for plenty of cuddles, bonding with the baby whenever possible, and simply taking an active role from day one. That’s how you demonstrate equal parenting starting from the very beginning. Fathers can be great role models for their children throughout their lives.
13 Skin-To-Skin Contact
Skin to skin contact is so important for newborns that we just had to spend some more time elaborating on it! According to Mama Natural, skin to skin contact with both mom and dad is absolutely non-negotiable for the emotional development of a newborn child. This is why so many parents all over the world carry their babies around with them throughout the day—it’s not just so that they can work and go about their usual responsibilities, it’s so that the child knows that they are always loved and cared for. This practice promotes secure attachment for kids.
12 Hearing Lots Of Conversations
Yes, it’s obvious that newborns can’t talk, so it’s easy to see why some people might wonder what a newborn would really gain from listening to adult conversations. But according to What to Expect, there is actually some value in this. Basically, this is how babies start to develop their initial language skills. Simply by being exposed to different people using a wide range of vocabulary, they will be gaining their earliest knowledge of language. Sure, it won’t benefit them right away—they’re clearly not capable of holding a conversation yet—but later on down the line, it definitely will.
11 Staying Clean And Comfortable
Doesn’t taking a shower and getting into comfy pajamas at the end of a long day feel so amazing? Pretty much every adult can agree on that statement. There is really no better feeling. According to What to Expect, newborns also need to stay clean and comfortable in order to be emotionally healthy. Think about it: for a newborn, needing a diaper change is so uncomfortable, but they don’t have any way to express that besides crying. That’s why parents need to stay on top of things like that: it puts the baby into a state of upset when they’re uncomfortable.
10 Hearing Laughter
Now, this one might not seem like such a big deal—is hearing laughter really so essential to the emotional development of a newborn baby? Actually, it may be surprising, but the answer is yes. According to Mama Natural, babies can benefit from hearing the sound of laughter. Why is that? Well, it’s all part of socializing. It helps them get used to different emotions. And newborns generally respond positively to laughter! Just hearing it can make them happy—it’s a natural human instinct. As a newborn grows up a little and learns to laugh themselves, it is joyful to watch.
9 “Socializing” With Groups
As we mentioned in passing earlier, socializing is important for everyone—yes, even newborns! According to Baby Centre, babies can really benefit from being socialized with groups. Of course, it is up to the parents to bring the baby around family and friends (once they feel their child is ready for it, of course) and keep an eye on them to make sure that they feel comfortable. But in terms of emotional development, it’s super important for newborns to get used to being around groups. It will generally help them feel more comfortable with socializing as they start to grow up.
8 Spending Time Outside
When you were a kid, your parents probably encouraged you to play outside—and it’s important that kids of all ages are taught this from a young age, including newborns! According to Mama Natural, taking newborns for walks outside can be beneficial for both their physical and emotional development. Newborn babies should get the chance to see the world outside their homes, even if they can’t fully understand it yet! They will enjoy hearing the sounds and seeing the sights of the world around them—this is their first introduction to the natural world, and it generally is fascinating for them.
7 Plenty Of Playtime
Did you know that playing is actually hugely beneficial for people of all ages? Sure, adults may not “play” the way that kids do—but playing sports, getting creative, or even playing with a pet is an important way for older people to let off steam, relax, and still engage their brains. According to Baby Centre, play time is absolutely crucial for the emotional development of newborns. They need time to play—it is one of the primary ways that they learn about the world around them. Playing by themselves (or with another newborn) will help them learn and grow.
6 Doctor’s Visits For Check-Ups
For all the busy moms and dads out there, keeping up with doctor’s appointments can feel like a hassle—but it is so important to stay on top of it. According to What to Expect, every newborn is going to need regular check ups with their pediatrician, and this is essential for both their physical and emotional development. After all, if something seems to be wrong, it is best for the parents to know right away so that they can take steps to address it. Parents always want the best for their babies, and doctors can help them figure it out.
5 Extra Time With Mom
There is just something about the sound of their mother’s voice that can soothe a newborn instantly. According to The Bump, it is super important that newborns get plenty of quality time with mom. It’s one of those things that seems obvious at first, but just think about how busy we all seem to be these days. Working moms especially may feel like they never get a break. This is why it’s crucial for parents to balance domestic responsibilities in their households—that way, some nights dad can handle the cooking and cleaning, while mom spends some extra time with baby.
4 A Healthy Sleep Routine
Everyone knows that newborns need lots of sleep! According to Baby Centre, newborns need to get about fourteen to seventeen hours of sleep each day. Yes, that means they need to sleep for the majority of the day. It is not only necessary for their physical development, but their emotional development as well. After all, if you have ever spent time taking care of a newborn, you know just how cranky and upset they will be if they do not get several naps throughout the day in addition to a good night’s sleep! A healthy sleep routine is a necessity.
3 Being Fed At Regular Times
Newborns need to eat several times each day (and night). But this is not just for the sake of their physical development—according to Baby Centre, regular feeding is also totally crucial for their emotional development. This is because when newborns eat, they have valuable close bonding time with their mother. Breastfeeding is not just about eating—it also makes the newborn feel safe and comfortable. However, even babies who are formula fed can thankfully get this bonding time. At the end of the day, it is really about getting skin to skin contact with mom—that’s the most important thing.
2 Comfort When Crying
There is a lot of debate over this topic amongst parents—while some parents will simply let their kids “cry it out,” others will respond every time they hear their child cry. According to Mama Natural, giving a newborn comfort when they are crying is very important. This is another practice that promotes healthy emotional development and secure attachment. Kids need to know starting from day one that if they are upset and in need of help, their mom or dad will come to the rescue and be by their side. This is a major source of comfort for newborns.
1 Snuggles With Mom And Dad
It’s so important for kids to see that their parents have a healthy relationship—and parents can start doing this from day one! A newborn won’t remember it, but they will respond positively to happy emotional cues from their parents, which will certainly be great for their overall emotional development. According to Baby Centre, spending time snuggling with both mom and dad can be great for newborns. Not only do they get to spend some quality time with both of their parents, they will be in a positive, upbeat atmosphere, and they will also get some of that crucial skin to skin contact.