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  • Susan Barbour

Help! What’s Going on in my Infant’s Mind?! Reflective Parenting

Answer: “A lot!” Learn Reflective Parenting — A 30 second Self-Help Introduction –- Yes, infants DO have minds! and, They remember! However, their memory is a different kind of memory than adults use. It forms the basis of later kinds of learning, language and development.

Yes, your infant knows and recognizes you, better than you might think! Yes, infants need and respond to your eye-to-eye, attention. You’re drained, overworked, and haven’t a moment to yourself! Sometimes you’re doing two things at once. You don’t have to attend to your infant constantly, but infants know if you are always texting or folding clothes when you are holding them. Overall, connecting and getting to know your infant & child’s mind makes a short and long-term difference for you and they. Research indicates the nurturing environment of the first three years establishes a foundation, in tandem with your infant’s unique biologically based temperament, to flourish. So, Where to Begin?

  • Enjoy (Can you?) gazing in to your infant’s eyes, smiling in response to them, and quietly being with.

  • To “talk” without words is such ‘a foreign language’ to many adults. Get ready to learn it! Use words, but also respond to sounds!

  • Sing with, ogle with, mimic, harmonize, take turns, try noises, imitate, and play. Can you accept if it doesn’t seem to make sense?

  • Touch & cuddle.

  • Take less time “doing,” and time “being” with.

  • Soothe, (quiet words, calm touch, long moments together) when your infant is upset.

  • Begin to ask yourself:

  • “What am I feeling and experiencing? Learn to identify your feelings. Name them. Accept them? Can you?

  • Then, be curious about and wonder to yourself: “What is my infant feeling and experiencing? Name it. Allow it, and accept it? Can you?

  • Think quality of connection over quantity of presence.

  • Join a group of caring caretakers to consider what your infant is experiencing and how to “talk” together, or consult with a therapist specializing in “Reflective Parenting.”

This is written with the awareness that you may be in pain, overly tired, and physically drained after the birth of your child. For professional help contact a therapist able to assess you for postpartum depression or anxiety. Your doctor can help with assessment of your infant’s physical well-being and health. (This information is not intended to be anything other than a very general introduction. To address your infant’s persistent crying or if you have medical questions or concern about your infant’s health, seek the assistance of a medical doctor).

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