Babies experience stress if they are not raised in loving, stable environments by caregivers who give ample attention to physical and emotional needs. Lack of adequate care may result in delayed development, increased illness, and in extreme cases, even death.
Infants may feel stress when:
- Receiving too much attention/stimulation
- Lacking attention/stimulation
- Lacking secure attachments with adult caregivers
- Around adults who are stressed
- Their security is threatened
You can reduce or avoid stress in your baby if you understand a few basic facts about the first year.
- Need lots of energy in order to grow.
- Can grow tired learning about their world.
- Sense the emotional climate around them.
- Are completely dependent on their caregivers for survival.
Points for Action
Help your baby grow well in the first months:
- Provide conditions for adequate sleep.
- Allow frequent feedings (breast milk/formula).
- Provide a healthy diet when solid foods begin.
Help your baby cope with over-stimulation:
- Provide quiet times away from other people.
- Avoid bright lights when baby is in the room.
- Avoid loud or startling noises.
- Remember that taking the baby to the mall or on outings is good for you both, but extra activity may require the baby to sleep more.
Help your baby feel safe and secure:
- Respond quickly when your baby cries.
- Show your love with a warm touch: cuddling, rocking, hugging.
- Talk, sing, and say rhymes to your baby.
- Have fun together during bath time.
- Move baby around with you as you go through daily routines.