Emotional Development Pregnancy - 6 Months
Developing a relationship with your unborn baby is important as it supports your baby's attachment to you and others once they are born.
Pregnancy may stir up hidden feelings, hopes and fears for parents, carers and other members of the family. You may have thoughts about what your unborn baby might be like, what they look like or how they will make you feel once they are born.
As pregnancy progresses so does the relationship between you and your baby. You might feel that you are getting to know them already by their movements and the feelings you get when you think about them. Have a look at our Antenatal Mood page for more information about this.
Your labour may be short or long, difficult or easy. It may not be as you expected and this is okay, at the end of it you get to say "hello" to your baby!
Holding, cuddling and skin to skin contact will bring feelings of safety and security. It can also stimulate hormones, such as Oxytocin, which help us feel good, and triggers nurturing feelings and behaviors.
Giving birth can be a life changing event for parents, especially if this is your first baby. You may feel a roller coaster of emotions. Don't be surprised if you feel overwhelmed by the experience.
Don't forget that in order to meet your baby's needs as they grow and develop you need time to think about yourself. Take time to talk about your birth experience and how you are feeling. This could be with your partner, friends, family or other health professionals.
If you have a day that is not going as you expected, try skin to skin contact with your baby. This stimulates the feel good hormones (Oxytocin) and may help your baby settle.
It is important to remember that not everyone feels the same. If you are struggling with your feelings or are worried that you are not bonding with your baby, please see below for who to talk to.
The most important thing you can do to help your baby develop a sense of security is respond to them when they need you.
Babies are born with very raw and powerful emotions. Babies are very social beings and develop emotionally through the relationships they have. A child's earliest relationships and experiences play an important part in their later development.
At first, a baby develops emotionally and physically from having all their needs met. A newborn baby struggles with any delay and needs a quick response. Security comes from not having to wait too long to be comforted, fed or held.
As your baby grows they will start to learn who their special people are and can be worried by new faces and situations. The way they are held, soothed and introduced to the world are very important in developing feelings of safety and security.
Babies are always learning and developing. Sometimes you will try things and sometimes you will get them wrong. This is a healthy, normal part of being a parent or carer and will support your baby to understand their feelings and how to manage them.
If you would like to learn more there are free online courses provided by the Solihull Approach *Click Here* and enter access code JON70.
Supporting a baby's emotional development is just as important as looking after their physical needs.
Your baby will be communicating with you and you can support this by listening, watching and turn taking with them.
You could try:
- repeating the noises they make
- cuddling and making eye contact
- copying the faces they make
- sticking your tongue out and see if your baby copies
This is part of what is known as the Dance of Reciprocity.
You may notice whilst your baby is babbling or holding eye contact with you, they stop and look away. This is your baby showing you that they need a break in the interaction, as it can be overwhelming or tiring. They may then turn back to you and start babbling again. Your baby is telling you they are ready for more turn taking and interactions.
You will become attuned to these patterns as your baby grows and develops. Some parents say they start to recognise the different ways their baby communicates with them. Your baby might be telling you, by their cries and movements, that they are hungry, tired, have a wet nappy or just need to be close to you.
These are the building blocks of learning early communication and social skills, and will help to develop your bond.
When babies sleep, how long they sleep for, being asked whether they 'sleep through the night' can be worrying and tiring. No two babies are alike and although it is tempting to take advice from friends and family about how to respond when your baby wakes in the night, it is important to consider your own instincts and feelings about what your baby needs. Find ways to help your baby go to sleep which are comfortable for them and suitable to their stage of development. For more information about baby's sleep click here.
Babies don't only wake because they are hungry, they wake because they need you and you may not know why. This can feel difficult, especially when you are tired yourself. As you respond to your baby, they learn that you are there when they need you. By giving them this confidence, you help them to begin to settle themselves.
Remember, as your baby grows they will continue to need you to comfort them at night.
For more information about safe sleep click here.
Feeding a baby can be a worry as it doesn’t always feel as if its going to plan. To find out more about both breastfeeding and bottle feeding, as well as introducing solid foods at 6 months old, please click here.
The most important thing to remember, however you choose to feed your baby, is that it is an enjoyable interaction.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum. CLICK HERE