3 Tips for Fostering Your Baby’s Healthy Emotional Development

emotional development

3 Tips for Fostering Your Baby’s Healthy Emotional Development

Just like physical development and cognitive development start at birth, so does your baby’s emotional development. Emotional development, sometimes called mental health refers to the development of social skills and regulation of emotions in babies. Understanding early emotional development is key in preventing mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety later on. Babies’ earliest experiences shape their brain so that future learning and development can occur. There are currently a lot of programs nation-wide to address early mental health concerns.

There are some important things to consider in fostering healthy social-emotional development in young children.

1. A key component of baby’s healthy social-emotional development is the ability to establish a close and secure bond with a caregiver. This attachment creates a foundation of security that sets the child up for a stronger sense of self-esteem.

You can begin to form a bond between you and your baby before they are even born by talking, reading and singing to them in utero. Studies show that babies prefer mommy’s voice to any other sound because of familiarity. Also, it is very comforting to them. You can also bond with your newborn by doing skin-to-skin contact and baby massage, holding and comforting your baby when she is scared, hurt or upset, and responding to her by smiling and reassuring her. Signs of a healthy attachment are when your baby looks to you for reassurance, help or comfort. Also, when your baby uses good eye contact, is interactive, and is more comfortable with parents than strangers.

2. As children develop, their emotional well-being supports growth in other areas, such as physical growth, literacy, cognitive development, and overall good health.

Young children who do not meet early social-emotional milestones are more likely to fall behind in the other important areas of development throughout their preschool and school-age years. Strong emotional health serves as a foundation for other important skills.

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Approximately 9.5%–14.2% of children birth to five-years-old experience emotional or behavioral disturbances, resulting in difficulties with social and emotional development.

Just as positive experiences create strong emotional health, negative experiences can cause adverse effects on brain development and children’s mental health. Children who live in families experiencing “toxic stress” in the form of parental loss, substance abuse, mental illness. Or even, extreme poverty have higher rates of mental health disturbances as they get older.

3. A baby’s mental health is closely intertwined with their parent’s mental health. When parents’ own stressors inhibit them from healthy interaction with their baby. Also, they are unable to meet their baby’s needs, it affects the baby’s mental health and well-being.

It is really important for parents to remember to take care of themselves first. If parents do not take care of their own needs and manage their stress, they cannot adequately care for their baby. Care for the care-giver is critical to a healthy, well-adjusted child and overall family wellness. Some stressors may be too much for one person to manage on their own. It may be necessary to ask for some help from family, friends or even organizations in the community.

If sleep deprivation is becoming unmanageable. It is important to raise the white flag and ask for help from family and friends. Or, if the baby blues begin to turn into actual postpartum depression, it is important to seek out professional help. If external stressors make it difficult to care for the baby, such as financial concerns or health issues, it is helpful to have other caring individuals nearby for support.

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Emotional development is an important part of baby’s overall wellness. Having an awareness of this and taking care to ensure that emotional development is healthy will help to give babies the best start possible. This will set them up to be well-adjusted, self-assured and confident.

About the Author /

Dr. Aimee Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working in pediatrics for 20 years. Ketchum works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Ketchum is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company.

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Instagram post 17920976449353517 💪 Mom Hacks for Staying Fit After Having Kids⁠
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Going to keep it real here, your fitness game is going to change after having kids. If you were crushing it before having babies, you're going to find that the free time for working out isn't what is used to be.⁠
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Regardless of where you were at, there are things you can do to make your heath a priority and be a good example to your little ones.⁠
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1. Don't rush back. There's no gold star here. Take your time, get the clearance from your OB/midwife and start when you're ready.⁠
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2. Schedule your workouts. Like most things in life now, you're on a schedule. Create time in your new life for you -- you'll thank yourself later.⁠
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3. Ask for Help. Chances are high that the Mom down the street is looking for some kid free time as well. You take an hour, she takes an hour and we're all better off for it.⁠
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4.  Embrace the little things. Your day will present opportunities to get your butt moving. Find them.⁠
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5. Get a new outfit. Because, duh.⁠
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6. Join a fitness community. It's scientifically proven that external motivators work when it comes to starting and sticking with a fitness routine. Utilize your community for support and motivation.⁠
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Words & 📸 : @juna.moms⁠
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Instagram post 17847795697730464 Royalty or not, we’re all just trying to do our best. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17863400905557801 Becoming a mother makes you realize you can do almost anything one-handed. 💁‍♀️⁠
📷: @hanna_wol⁠
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📷: @momthesedays⁠
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Instagram post 18004050754269786 "All the feelings apply to all the moms, in all the stages. We're more alike than not." ❤️⁠
(quote via @catandnat)⁠
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Instagram post 17844140491774206 ⁠🎵 I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole wide world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands 🎵
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When you meet your baby(ies) and your whole world changes. 💕
📷: @megbed
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Instagram post 18110828746014338 The first year after baby is the leading time when marriages break up. The extra stress, lack of sleep, and major life changes can all contribute to communication breakdown and losing intimacy. 💔 That's why protecting relationships is such an important part of postpartum planning (done in pregnancy). Parenthood is an emotionally provocative experience. These heightened emotions help you tune into your baby's needs, but it can also help you tune into each other.⁠
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Speak your partner's love language in postpartum. Send this resource to your loved one so that they can make you feel loved and supported in a meaningful way.⁠
Words & 📸: @birthbossco⁠
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Instagram post 17934950050319412 EXACTLY! 🙌 I wish more moms knew this and didn't feel pressured to say yes automatically to guests--of course, unless they want to! 😊 But you can always say no and not right now. Take your time to bond with your new baby. If you want people to come over, great! But don't feel bad if you don't and want more time alone with your family. People who love you should understand. ❤️⁠
(quote via @psychedmommy)⁠
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Instagram post 18003898246270151 YUP! Thought I would run a tight ship but turns out I can't contain this circus. 🤦‍♀️⁠
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Instagram post 17892508969418384 When you go out of town for a few days and your family realizes all that you do for them and the house. 😂⁠
(quote via @playdatesonfridays)⁠
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Instagram post 17857907638591275 Dinner time with toddlers can oftentimes be hectic and stressful. Sometimes they’ll eat what you’ve made them and other times they won’t. 😒 We’ve been there! This is why we are sharing two yummy dinner recipes that have been toddler approved that the whole family can enjoy—Taco Pizza and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! 😋
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We substituted sour cream in these recipes with @stonyfield YoBaby yogurt because it provides not only the calcium they need, but also probiotics, protein and vitamin D! 👍 (Our pediatrician says our little guy needs 2-4 servings of dairy per day!) The yogurt still has that tangy flavor that you’re looking for but with even more benefits! Cheers to full tummies and happy families! 🙌 #ad #stonyfield
📹: @trippfilms
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Instagram post 17873539714477826 Some days I feel like I am totally kicking butt and taking care of business as a mom . . . and other days I'm like, "Do I really have to adult today?" 😫😴⁠ #WeekendsDontExistWhenYoureAParent #NoDaysOff⁠
📷: @decade2doodles⁠
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Instagram post 18076599439134453 You're becoming the person you are meant to be. 💗⁠
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Instagram post 18010968127252794 Did you know that in some locations there are Mother's Milk Banks (@austinmilkbank)? They are nonprofit banks that collect donor human milk for babies in need. We love mamas like @lololovelyco who are donating their milk while also breastfeeding! I wish I had made enough milk when I was breastfeeding my son to have done the same. But I'm so grateful for mothers who can! Spreading the love to all of you milk making mamas! 🤱💗⁠
📷: @lololovelyco⁠
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Instagram post 17882796163445028 Happy Halloween! 🎃 Hope there is minimal (to no) whining and you don't have to break out your inner Mary Poppins to still create a magical evening with the family. ⁠
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And if there is some toddler nonsense, remember you can eat their candy while they sleep. 😜⁠
📷: @hipmomma007⁠
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Instagram post 18026714824240302 Pretty much. 😒⁠ #momofatwoyearold
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Instagram post 17882685211447052 Psycho moms have more fun. 🤣 But for real though, I would have been scared sh*tless if I was a child and this kid was in my class. 😱 #happyhalloween!
📷: unknown⁠
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Instagram post 17882232535453301 Some solid advice for new moms. ❤️⁠
📷: @debiandbebi⁠
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Instagram post 17880589438445237 You know your child better than anybody. Do what YOU feel is best for your child and your family.  No explanations necessary. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17849862544671402 When you're attending a breastfeeding support group and it's your turn to bring the snacks. 🤣⁠
📷: @bloomayoga⁠
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Instagram post 17856924145605814 Your kids are listening. 👂 They are listening to everything that you're saying and are watching your body language and your behaviors even when you think they're not. If you want your children to be patient, you must practice patience. If you want your children to be kind, you must show kindness. If you want your children to share, to include others, etc., you must teach them and lead by example. “Do as I say not as I do” does not work. The greatest lessons are taught by action and if you want them to be great, give them something great to look up to. ❤️⁠
(quote via @onefunnymummy)⁠
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Instagram post 17920417273345320 LOVE!!!! And nursing twins?! Betty was a boss. 💪🤱👶👶💗⁠ #imissrugrats⁠
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Instagram post 18110876884020847 Of course you love being a mom. You love your kids. You love your family. And you would NEVER change any of it. But it's okay to acknowledge that motherhood is hard and that there are parts of it that we don't always love. This does not make us bad moms. We have limits, we get tired and we're human.⁠
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I think sharing only the beautiful sides of motherhood to women who don't have children does them a disservice. It's important to have an understanding of what the reality is like so if they decide to have a baby welcoming their little one and becoming a mom is not as jarring or eye-opening. It doesn't mean that we should fear-monger. It's just being honest about all sides of motherhood--the crazy, exhausting, beautiful and best thing ever. ❤️⁠
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