What's best for the baby? The answer to this most commonly asked question will shock you!
Every mother to be asks herself these questions and a quick google of the phrase reveals no surprises, with the most popular searches being:
- best age to have a baby biologically
- best foods for baby brain development
- best age to have a baby
- how to improve baby brain development during pregnancy
- best age to have a baby for a woman
- baby brain development food during pregnancy
- how to increase I.Q. of baby during pregnancy
Articles discussing the essentials of what you need, occupy the many pages of Google results with everything from medicines to diapers and furniture. Yet the single MOST important factor that will influence the baby's well-being is most often ignored.
Mum, what’s MOST important for the health of your baby? Can you number these in order of priority?
- Watch where you go; avoid crowds like shopping centers and restaurants
- Wash your hands and ask anyone who’s going to hold your newborn to wash their hands ﬁrst to prevent the spread of cold, ﬂu and other viruses
- Don’t stop breastfeeding
- Teach your older child and (any pets, e.g. never leave child alone with dog or cat) what to do
- Let your baby get used to noise. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise
- Learn to soothe your wailing newborn
- Help get your baby to latch on
- Keeping your baby awake during feedings
- Help your Baby Bond with Dad / Partner
- Regular checkups with the health provider
- Respond to your baby; when your baby is sick, hungry, upset, or just needs some comfort. Babies reach out for you in countless ways: babbling, making sounds, or smiling. When you respond in a loving and consistent way, you help your baby’s brain develop.
- Provide a safe and loving home for your baby. Develop daily routines that your baby can count on. Keep your home calm.
- Help your baby explore his surroundings, both inside and out. Play helps babies learn, and you are your child’s ﬁrst playmate. Playing simple games will help them learn about the people and the world around them. Remember to talk to your baby as you go through your daily routines. Tell your baby what is going on, point out interesting things that you see together, and help them develop their other senses—hearing, touch, taste and smell.
- Make sure you are in the best possible physical and mental health
If you have numbered the last point as No.1 then you are correct! The fact is you have to do all of those things above, they are all important. However, looking after yourself should be priority Number 1.
You are your baby’s most important asset! Caring for yourself is as important as caring for your baby.
Regardless of how ‘equal’ we now are in sharing our domestic, financial and parenting responsibilities, the mother remains the cornerstone of the family. You get sick and your whole family is in trouble.
Supported by the latest evidence some of the most important learning happens while we're still in the womb. Some of the amazing things that scientists are discovering about what foetuses learn while they're still in their mothers' bellies1:
- They learn the sound of their mothers' voices.
- Babies cry in the accent of their mother's native language. French babies cry on a rising note while German babies end on a falling note, imitating the melodic contours of those languages. Now why would this kind of foetal learning be useful? It may have evolved to aid the baby's survival. From the moment of birth, the baby responds most to the voice of the person who is most likely to care for it -- its mother. It even makes its cries sound like the mother's language, which may further endear the baby to the mother, and which may give the baby a head start in the critical task of learning how to understand and speak its native language.
- By 7 months of gestation, the foetus' taste buds are fully developed, and its olfactory receptors, which allow it to smell, are functioning. The flavours of the food a pregnant woman eats find their way into the amniotic fluid, which is continuously swallowed by the foetus. Babies seem to remember and prefer these tastes once they're out in the world. A good reason not to be a fussy eater yourself ?
- “Much of what a pregnant woman encounters in her daily life -- the air she breathes, the food and drink she consumes, the chemicals she's exposed to, even the emotions she feels -- are shared in some fashion with her foetus. They make up a mix of influences as individual and idiosyncratic as the woman herself. The foetus incorporates these offerings into its own body, makes them part of its flesh and blood. So what a foetus is learning about in utero is not appreciation of Mozart but answers to questions more critical to survival. Will it be born into a world of abundance or scarcity? Will it be safe and protected, or will it face constant dangers and threats? The pregnant woman's diet and stress level in particular provide important clues to prevailing conditions. The resulting tuning and tweaking of a foetus' brain and other organs are part of what give us humans our enormous flexibility, our ability to thrive in a huge variety of environments, from the country to the city, from the tundra to the desert. It seems that foetuses are taking cues from the intrauterine environment and tailoring their physiology accordingly. They're preparing themselves for the kind of world they will encounter on the other side of the womb. The foetus adjusts its metabolism and other physiological processes in anticipation of the environment that awaits it. And the basis of the foetus' prediction is what its mother eats. The meals a pregnant woman consumes constitute a kind of story, a fairy tale of abundance or a grim chronicle of deprivation. This story imparts information that the foetus uses to organize its body and its systems -- an adaptation to prevailing circumstances that facilitates its future survival.
- Foetal Origins Research is not about blaming women for what happens during pregnancy. It's about discovering how best to promote the health and well-being of the next generation. That important effort must include a focus on what foetuses learn during the nine months they spend in the womb. Learning is one of life's most essential activities, and it begins much earlier than we ever imagined.
To watch or read this fascinating research summary go to https://www.ted.com/talks/annie_murphy_paul_what_we_learn_before_we_re_born/transcript?language=en#t-512305
So what’s best for YOU, is by default best for baby. There are so many references online, so to save you some time we have compiled a list of those good things in chronological order.