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Are you #BabyAware?

Babies have mental health too. We often think about adult mental health, but do we think about babies’ mental health?



Last month at Close-Knit we focussed on being #ParentAware (check out that blog here), this month in honour of Infant Mental Health Awareness Week we want to help people to be "Baby Aware".


Babies have emotional as well as physical needs. They can’t communicate these to us through their words, but they do tell us what they need in other ways.


Babies tell us how they are feeling and what they need through their eye movements, their facial expressions, their body movements, the sounds they make and even their skin tone.


Unlike adults, babies can’t self-regulate, because their brains aren’t developed enough, they need help from us to do that. They need people around them who will pay attention to their signs and cues to work out what is going on and to respond in a way that will meet their needs.


Paying attention and responding to what our baby needs lovingly, helps them to develop important internal beliefs which will help them throughout their life, supporting their wellbeing now and in the future.


Working out what a baby wants or needs can be easier said than done, especially when parents are stretched, potentially looking after other children, working or just generally surviving, usually with disrupted sleep.


Good news

The good news is that we don’t have to do this perfectly because guess what - there is no such thing as perfect!  The important thing is that we do the best we can. And when we make mistakes, which we will, we take the time to reconnect with our babies.


Just like adults each baby is an individual and they have their sensitivities, likes and preferences, for example, some babies are comfortable with lots of noise and other babies are more likely to become upset in loud environments. By looking for the signs and information our babies are giving us, we can respond in a way that they need, and this will help their well-being and their development and our relationship with them too.


Speak Up for Babies

Babies are vulnerable because they can’t verbalise their needs in the same way that we can. Babies need us to speak up on their behalf.


This year, through Infant Mental Health Awareness Week, the Parent Infant Foundation are encouraging us to raise awareness of the importance of babies' needs to all political parties in the UK, by contacting our local political candidates to ask them to ‘Speak up for Babies’. Check out their handy guidance to help you do this - Ask your MP to join the campaign | 1001 Days (parentinfantfoundation.org.uk)


So how will you help babies’ mental health? Maybe by spending intentional time watching your baby, working out what they are saying and responding to that. Maybe by supporting a parent you know and sharing some of their load so they can be more present with their baby. Or maybe by raising awareness of babies’ mental health in your conversations and with your local political candidates. However you do it, remember by doing what you do, you are supporting babies' well-being now and in the future.



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