Being playful with your baby will help her learn the importance of human connection.

How to Care for a Baby's Emotional Needs

by Kristen Moutria

Every action you take has the power to set your baby up for a lifetime of positive development. From the time you spend with her to the type of food you feed her to the type of childcare you place her in, your decisions are fundamental to the kind of person she will become. One important thing your baby is learning right now is how to trust the people around her, which will allow her to build positive future relationships and have a trusting outlook on life. By using physical touch, answering her cries immediately, helping her develop secure attachment and being playful with her, you are facilitating positive social development and caring for your baby's emotional needs.

1 Use touch. The power of physical touch on a baby's emotional well-being must not be overstated. Marian Diamond, neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of Magic Trees of the Mind: How to Nurture Your Child's Intelligence, reports on "Baby Center" that loving touch causes a baby's brain to grow. Hug your baby, play with him, carry him around with you in a baby carrier and hold him close as he falls asleep.

2 Answer her cries immediately. Dr. Sandy Bailey, certified family life educator, professor, and a family and human development specialist with the Montana State University Extension Office, reports on "Baby Center" that young babies are completely "spoil-proof", and that by giving your baby prompt attention when she cries, she will feel more secure and less anxious. Quickly responding to your baby's needs will cause her to be less clingy and demanding in the long run.

3 Help him develop secure attachment. The attachment bond, according to "Help Guide," is a nonverbal emotional relationship between an infant and his primary caregiver, and its success enables him to feel secure enough to fully develop. You may help ensure a secure attachment bond by responding to his emotional cues, taking care of yourself so that you may have the energy to care for him, and paying attention to the type of environment your baby thrives in. For example, he may only be able to fall asleep if he feels a rocking motion, or if he hears a particular type of music.

4 Be playful with her. Babies love to play, and by taking the time to play with your infant, you will help her bond with you and learn the importance of human connection. The Boys Town National Research Hospital reports that cheerful interaction with your baby will help her learn to socialize and be playful. By helping her practice socializing skills, you will set her up for a future of fulfilling relationships.

About the Author

Kristen Moutria has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Evangel University. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in education from the University of Nebraska.

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