Tag Archives: newborn

How to help your baby through new situations

Today we’re going to talk about how your baby learns to feel about new situations and people. I call it the Quick Glance.

Have you ever noticed that when you encounter a new situation or a new person your baby quickly looks over at you? Just like a cub in the wild, your baby is trying to ascertain  – Is this person a threat? Are we in danger? Are we running? Are we staying? 

Sometimes your baby glances over at you so quickly you barely notice it. And in that instant they gather all the information they need.

Psychologists call this Social Referencing. I like to call it the “Quick Glance.”

The Quick Glance is when your baby tries to understand your emotional state through your facial expression, vocal tone, and body language, in order to form their own response toward other people or events in their environment.

The “Visual Cliff” study is a perfect illustration of this.

In this study, babies between 9-12 months are brought into the lab and put on a table with borders. At the midway point the table has a visible drop that is covered by plexiglass so it looks like it drops, but it doesn’t. A toy is placed at the other end of the plexiglass.

So what do the babies do? They want to reach the toy, But when they approached the plexiglass with the visible drop, they hesitate and freeze. And then they quickly look over at their mother.

They search her face to find signs – is she relaxed? Smiling? Nervous? Tense? And they only keep moving forward when they’re satisfied that their mother is calm.

Your baby is expert at picking up your subtle cues. The thing is, often we’re not even aware of our facial expressions and body language. And sometimes we feel one thing but try to convey another – like meeting someone you feel uncomfortable with but smiling during the interaction. 

Your baby is watching it all.

 

So what can we do to help our babies with their Quick Glance?

 

  1. Own It.
    Simply being aware of the fact that your baby is seeking out your cues will make you be more careful about what you are conveying to your baby.
  2. Be Consistent.
    This one is a tough one – your baby is confused by inconsistency. When you smile on the outside but are feeling tense on the inside, or when you feel ambivalent, your baby has a hard time discerning how to make sense of the situation. We can’t always do this, but try to sync your behavior with your expression (if only we could all do this all the time.)
  3. Calm Down
    Especially when your baby is doing new things, like trying new food, climbing up to the slide, learning how to crawl or walk, etc, they are going to look to you for reassurance. Keep your face relaxed and your expression open and positive. The best way to do this is daily meditation, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day.

Here are some extra tips for relaxing your face:

  1. Pick up the corners of your mouth ever so slightly.
  2. Massage your forehead moving to your temples.
  3. Massage your jaw (we hold so much tension there!)
  4. Massage behind your ears
  5. Meditate! A few minutes a day relaxes your face for the rest of the day.

Want to learn more about the Quick Glance and other ways you and your baby communicate? Check out my FREE masterclass called The Biggest Mistake New Parents Make.

Does your friend want to know more about how to communicate and connect with her baby? Send her this Tuesday Tune In and tell her to sign up for more below.

Join our outdoor and Zoom classes to learn more tips about how to help your baby.

 

 

9 things I wish someone had said to me when I had my baby

I was so cocky going into motherhood. Were you?

Even if someone had shared the wisdom I needed when I was crazed with my first baby I’m not even sure I would have listened.

But boy do I wish I could have taken in what I know now. It would have saved me endless heartache, anxiety, and self-reprimand.

So just in case there’s a mom to be out there who might have slightly less bravado than I did, and may just be open to hearing some sound advice, here goes:

9 things I wish someone had told me and I had LISTENED to before I had my first baby:

  1. You don’t need a perfect schedule.
    Babies end up pretty much the same with or without the obsession on when to feed, when to nap, when to sleep. (And man, I obsessed hard.)
  2. You won’t get a truly good nights sleep for about a year.
    You may sleep-train, co-sleep, or go with the flow. But no matter what you do your baby will have periods of sleeping through the night and periods of hourly wake ups for the entire first year.
    I fought it like Rocky Balboa with the first two. By the third I accepted it and we were a happier family for it.
  3. Creating good habits with your baby is important.
    Even if your schedule is loose, a morning routine, a sleep routine, and feeding routine will be anchors for years to come. And when the time is right those practices will help you slip into a more consistent schedule like a boss.
     
  4. The MOST IMPORTANT  thing to focus on is your connection with your baby.
    Forget all the noise around you about the latest gear, the conflicting internet articles, your MIL telling you you’re doing it wrong. What matters MOST is your bond. Foster it naturally and tenderly. You’ll know you’re doing it right when it FEELS right.
     
  5. It’s all in the BORING moments.
    The magic happens when your baby is simply looking around the room, or playing with yarn in the rug, or searching for your hair as they nurse, or crinkling a dry leaf outside. That’s the stuff. Not the instagrammable moments.
    In fact, do yourself a favor and catch THOSE moments on video. You’ll want them later. I so wish I had more of those.
     
  6. Focus on the time you are WITH your baby, not on the moments you’re not.
    Let the guilt go. Give your full attention to the moments you are with your baby – the diaper changes, bedtime routine, bathtime, middle of the night feedings. If you can be fully present for those then you’re ahead of the game.
     
  7. Model self-care from day one.
    Teach your baby that you’re a better mom when you take care of yourself. Make it a priority to take distance when you need it, go for a solo walk, meet a friend, read a book. And do it unapologetically, because it benefits your baby as much as it benefits you.
     
  8. Make every effort to meet other parents with babies your baby’s age.
    Go to classes with them, go for a walk in the park, go for a smoothie. You need the support. But more than that, this is one of those periods in your life when you are primed to make Best Friends. It’s like roommates in college. Going through it together will make you blood sisters for life.
     
  9. Know that there is NO RIGHT WAY.
    Parenting is about trial and error, taking a deep breath trying something and then trying something else. What worked yesterday won’t work today anymore. And that’s ok.

 

I don’t want to sound cocky here but you know what I wish? I wish there had been a Baby in Tune class when I had my first baby. I would have learned this stuff there. I would have found my best mama friend. I would have learned how to develop good habits with my baby and how to deepen our connection.

But alas, I didn’t have it. So I created the class because I wanted YOU to have it. 

 

On that note – we have new classes starting!! Some are in person in NY and some are on Zoom with me. I’d so love to see you there. Sign up for those here.

 

Also – have you ever wanted to lead baby classes? Or learn more about what it takes? My Baby Class Formula FREE Training starts TOMORROW!!

Join the Facebook group HERE.