No baby in the world is just like yours. Nature's pattern for development is universal, but each baby has his own style and timing. Here are some examples:
No two days are alike: sleeping and eating times may vary widely.
Babies have likes and dislikes from day one.
Some babies want to be held and carried almost all the time; others don't.
Some babies like vigorous handling; some like to be handled gently.
Some babies lie quietly and observe their world; others wave and kick like cyclists.
Some babies poop every time they eat; some poop every couple of days.
Boys and girls are different from the start in many more ways than just their genitalia.
Some babies reject everyone's care but Mom's for now.
Few babies can simply be put to bed. Most must suck, cry, or be rocked first.
Babies' sucking urge is so strong that it is usually not satisfied during feedings alone.
Most babies cry for two or more hours out of every twenty four.
Babies are often fussiest during evening hours.
Colic is intense crying for extended times throughout the day. Babies usually outgrow it by four months.
Some babies are easy, and some are just plain hard to live with at first.
Babies are learning all the time. They imitate and differentiate and categorize.
Babies begin their use of language with lots of different sounds. They imitate human sounds, rather than the clock or refrigerator. They concentrate on the sounds of their parents' speech: Swedish babies focus on Swedish sounds.
Babies like to look at faces, especially eyes. They can see clearly about ten inches away at birth - just the distance for focusing on your face when cradled in your arms.
Babies become extremely distressed when parents break a normal, happy exchange and stare blankly at them without speaking.
Babies have a variety of smiles, including a special one for Mom and Dad. Others smile after solving a problem, for strangers, and in relief after realizing that something frightening is not really threatening.
Babies learn very fast, perhaps taking in and assimilating more information in the first six months of their lives than in any other similar stretch of time.
Babies need to keep you close, so they come packaged with several traits that make it rewarding for you to stay near them. Parents need not fear that open, unabashed displays of affection will "spoil" an infant.
Babies' skin invites caressing, and their cheeks are made for kissing.
They fit perfectly in your arms.
Babies like an easy transition from the womb; they respond to hearing Mom's heartbeat, feeling warmth, being swaddled, and being walked.
They don't have adult motives like revenge or "teaching you a lesson."
They are forgiving.
They display relief when you are dependable.
They are wonderfully cute and fascinating.
Reading your baby's clues and responding to them effectively will help you make a good beginning together. Keep your baby close, learn with him, protect him, and celebrate love.
Source: HELP! For Parents of Children from Birth to Five: Tried and True Solutions to Parents' Everyday Problems, author Jean Illsley Clarke, First Rev ised Edition, 1993
Copyright 2000 by Jean Illsley Clarke, Self-Esteem: A Family Affair, All Rights Reserved.