Getting to know each other

Spending time with your baby helps you to grow close to your baby and helps them to feel loved and secure. Making your baby part of whānau life helps you get to know them, and they begin to learn what to expect from others.

Bonding with your baby

By noticing and understanding your baby’s signals and responding to their needs you are teaching your baby to trust you, and your baby will feel loved and secure. Cuddling, rocking, singing and making eye contact when talking to your baby are some of the ways that you can grow close to your baby and help them to feel loved and safe. Move with your baby to music to introduce them to rhythm.

Babies learn language from birth – talk and sing to them in your own language. When your baby makes sounds, repeat the sounds back so they learn to talk with you. Play simple games like peek-a-boo. Point out and name things that can be seen and heard. Talk about what you are doing and look at your baby while you are talking. Read books to your baby and talk about the pictures.

Spending time with your baby will help you to understand their behaviour and how they show you what they need. You will learn what to watch out for when your baby is tired or hungry or needs a nappy change. Understanding your baby’s behaviour will also help with routines for bedtimes and bath times.

Everyone learns about being a parent differently. Some people take longer than others to recognise their babies’ signals and to be confident in responding to their babies. If you find it hard to feel close to or love your baby, you may have postnatal depression. Talk to your midwife, nurse or doctor. They will be able to help.

Tummy time

Tummy time while baby is awake will help to protect their head shape and make their arms strong. Baby is:

  • on their back for sleep
  • on their front for play
  • upright for cuddles and hugs.

When your baby is sleeping, turn their head so that sometimes they face left and sometimes they face right. Make sure baby is on their back for every sleep.

Related websites

Six things children need – SKIP
The SKIP (Strategies with Kids; Information for Parents) community network helps parents/caregivers to build strong, positive relationships with their children. The SKIP approach is based on the Six Principles – six things that children need to grow into happy, capable adults – as outlined by The Discipline and Guidance of Children research report.

Play and learning (6 weeks to 6 months) – Plunket
Play is an important part of babies' development and can give you fun time together. Play and movement help baby develop a sense of balance, learn about their body and develop strong back and tummy muscles.

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