Infant Care Myths

The most important criteria for judging a child’s progress are physical growth and mental development. While young parents are often obsessed by physical growth (height and weight), a similar care is needed for the mental development of a child.
In India all too often, there is a tendency to stress early development in areas where no progress can be made at this stage (eg. Toilet training) while discounting vital areas like stimulation and learning.

90% of a child’s mental development takes place in the first 3 years.

Mental development :-
There is a myth that a child’s learning should be left solely to the school years. Infact studies show that learning is maximum in the first 3-5 years of life and that the basic personality of a child is fully formed by the time he is 5 years of age.
You can help your child’s proper mental stimulation and development by :-

  • Talking – use simplified grown up talk rather than baby talk. This will help her learn to speak correctly faster. Urge her to talk back.
  • Reading – read out nursery rhymes, simple stories etc.
  • Singing
  • Pointing & naming objects, colours, body parts, the baby’s clothes and everything else in his world.
  • Playing.
  • Listening – listen to his babble and respond.

All of these stimuli should begin at birth or preferably even before birth, in the womb. This is what our traditions have always told us – even in the womb, Abhimanyu was busy learning from his father. Ignore any strange looks you might get from less informed persons – the results will bear you out.
Spoiling the child – Often your elders will tell you that too much love and attention can spoil your child. ,Don’t believe them Especially In the first few months of life, an infant needs the security and warmth of your love. It is this security that will make the foundations of his personality strong and positive, it is this security that will give him the courage to be curious, to explore and to learn. He is still too young to manipulate you. If you withhold love at this stage, the chances for spoiling the child are greater because he may misbehave in order to attract your attention. Similarly you may have heard that a baby will soon get used to the lap. She may, perhaps, for a while, but it is not a permanent condition. If she feels secure about you , she will be emboldened to explore her world. Your attempts to prevent her from getting used to your lap may make her feel that when she gets close to you, she must stick to you for she might not get another chance soon.

A child is spoilt by withholding love and attention rather than by giving love and attention.

Toilet training:

The development of any new skill depends upon the nervous system being ready for it and should not be forced.

A child is not physiologically ready to be toilet trained before two years of age. A younger child notwithstanding the tall tales of proud mothers, does not even connect urination and bowel movement to herself. So even if you begin training at this age, you’ll end up frustrated and having to begin again at 2 years of age.

Before two years it is the mother who becomes toilet trained not the child.

These are only general guidelines. It must always be remembered that no two babies are alike. All children develop at their own paces.

Related Links

Play needs
Infant myths
Newborn Look

An infant’s point of view
Daily care