Early childhood care and stimulation should begin during pregnancy to promote mother and child bonding. This is very important for an infant’s well-being and overall development. There are many different ways in which parents could stimulate their child from pregnancy through early childhood. Some of these are as follow:
KEEPING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PREGNANCY
Keeping a positive attitude toward pregnancy could ensure a supportive and caring environment for both mother and child which in turn:
- Ensures the mother’s well-being and appropriate care; it could also reduce the emotional stress on her. Take note that a relaxed mom would have a calming, soothing effect on the baby who is very sensitive to her moods and feelings.
- Promotes sensitivity to the developing infant’s needs during the pre-natal stage as well as in the awareness of the infant as a human being.
COMMUNICATING WITH THE BABY WHILE STILL IN THE WOMB
Communicating with the baby while still in the womb is very important as it could promote attachment between mother and child, make the child feel that she could trust his or her caregiver, reassure him or her that he or she is accepted , cared and loved, and promote his or her sense of comfort and security.
Parents could do the following:
- Touch or rub gently the enlarged abdomen.
- Allow the fetus to listen to music or the parents could do the singing themselves.
- Talk to the child or read him or her stories.
- Introduce the infant to the home and immediate neighborhood.
- Bring the infant to parks and scenic places in the community.
BONDING IN THE FIRST ONE TO TWO HOURS AFTER BIRTH
Bonding between the mother and her baby especially in the first one to two hours after birth is of the utmost importance. This is due to the fact that, at birth, all the senses of the baby are fully functioning and he or she could already hear, see, smell, and feel.
At birth, a mom or dad should be doing the following:
- Immediately put the baby to her breast with skin to skin contact to let the baby feel his or her mother’s warmth.
- Establish eye to eye contact and talk to the baby softly and lovingly while his or her mom is breastfeeding.
- Talk to the baby when he or she is awake and initiate simple games with facial expressions and sounds.
CARING FOR THE PREGNANT MOTHER
Caring for the pregnant mom is important for both the mom’s and child’s well-being. Reducing stress and tension of the pregnant mom would help her cope with the demands of pregnancy and would promote child growth and development.
The husband should be doing, to the best of his ability, what could be good for his wife by:
- Making sure she gets proper nutrition, exercise, rest, and pre-natal health care.
- Helping her with the household chores and care for older siblings.
- Sharing with her experiences regarding breastfeeding, child care, and appropriate forms of infant stimulation.