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Holding your baby in your arms, you might sometimes wonder, what is going on inside that little head. What might they be thinking? But believe it or not, even though they have a body clock which can give tough competition to those feeding apps in the app store, infant really have an intellectual capacity of a goldfish, initially. Their migration to the simpleton goldfish status to the smart dolphin status is pretty rapid, and you have a very important role to play to make the migration successful.
Even though babies don't really understand much, but during the time they spend with their parents and caretakers, they learn exponentially. One of the most important things they learn, is the concept of trust.
Some adults are trusting by nature. Their first approach with anyone would be on the basis of trust. Others are cynical by nature. They will test the waters first to make sure if the concerned person is trustworthy or not. But what about babies. They don't over think situations. How do you gain their trust? What can you do?
When your little one arrives, all they know is the touch of their mother and father, and the feeling of hunger. Falling asleep is pretty much in their hands, so I am not including it in the list here. So, basically, if you want to earn the trust of your infant, you need to hold them when they need you, to cradle them to sleep, when they are suffering from colic, or when they are startled. And, you need to feed them when they start feeling hungry. They two needs to cater to, and if you manage to take care of both in a timely and loving manner, you will gain your baby's trust in no time.
Feed them on time
Like I said, babies have their own body clock. They surprisingly wake up just when it's feed time (even though they might have just gone to sleep about 10 minutes back). Almost at the same time when you have scheduled your next feed alarm on the phone app. The smart thing to do would be to stay prepared. This worked out pretty well with my kid. I was and am still proactive about his feed timings. Everything is set and prepared right before he starts looking at me with those "Mommy, I am hungry" eyes. Now he knows that mom does not forget. So, even if I do run a little late due to meetings, chance guests, or if we are travelling, he understands that delay and he knows that food is on the way and mommy will never forget. Thus, he does not make a fuss and *touchwood* he is pretty patient with me.
Hold them tight
The second important factor in gaining the trust of your infant is to make them feel secure. The moment they come into this world, out of their mother's womb, it's a weird feeling for them. In the womb, they were tightly packed in; surrounded in warm water and little buzzing sounds and vibrations, listening to the beautiful sound of their mother's heartbeat while they rocked when she walked. All of a sudden, from that cozy haven they are brought out in the open where a swaddle is just not enough. It cannot give them the warmth that they felt inside. I guess, they might be feeling pretty much like we would if we were left free in space.
That is why, just after the baby is born they are placed in direct contact to their mother's skin. They feel the warmth, security, and protection and of course the familiar smell of the amniotic fluid.
I know there are conflicting opinions when it comes to this topic, so I will speak only for myself. When I was at the hospital, post-delivery, the nurse brought the baby to me and while I cradled him in my arms, she told me to limit holding him a lot. I listened to her. Once I was back home, I just held him when he needed to sleep or to feed him. But, I could see he was not comfortable in his crib. He was fidgeting, continuously. Throwing his arms about, as if he was falling. So, I picked him up and kind of kept him in my arms for as long as I could. I believed, there will come a time when he will be independent, fearless, when he wouldn't want us to hold him, but till then I needed to soothe my baby. He is new to this world and everything is so vast for him. His hazy sight doesn't allow him to see much. All he knows is the touch of his mother or father. That tiny, little being is so dependent on me, that I thought I will get plenty of chances to discipline him but maybe right now was not the time.
My baby who is now a toddler knows mum is there. He is mostly by himself, playing, exploring, but when it is his nap time or feed time, he knows where to go. If by any chance food is not immediately available, he still gives us the benefit of doubt and keeps his cool.
All kids are different, what might work for one might not work for another. But infants are all the same. So, maybe you can give this a shot and see how the trust building exercise goes for your infant/baby.