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Healthy Baby
Personal care for babies
Written by healthynest’s Head of Parent Education, Mariel Benjamin, LCSW. Parents and caregivers will change THOUSANDS of diapers this year. It’s a guaranteed, built-in, no-way-around-it moment in all of our lives (and in the lives of our babies). So, why not elevate every diaper change to be about more? You can! Here are a few ways that healthynest thinks of each diaper change as an important moment to build baby’s brain. Talk It Out Way before babies can speak, their brains start to predict the motor movements necessary to turn their thoughts into words. Activation in Broca’s area of the brain and the cerebellum show that baby’s brain is trying to prepare for speech from early on. Your baby learns the patterns in sounds of speech from listening to you fill their days with words! Narrate what you are doing throughout a diaper change, step-by-step like a YouTube tutorial. Pause and wait for baby to respond. Even if they seem like they aren’t listening, the number of words baby hears is critical to the number of words they will one day be able to say! Get Face Time Remember: newborns only see short distances, so being up close during a diaper change is the perfect time to let them see your loving face. Seeing and decoding your facial expressions, engaging with you, and watching your lips move may actually help them talk one day. For older babies, your face teaches them about emotions like suspense, silliness, surprise, and delight. Show some suspense as you check the diaper, surprise at what you find (even if you smelled it), silliness as you accidentally wipe their nose first (tip: healthynest wipes are super safe for all of baby’s parts), and delight as you get them clean, changed, and ready for a snuggle. Engage The Senses When you engage more than one sense at a time, you help develop deeper connections in baby’s brain. Each diaper change is a chance for multi-sensory stimulation! Try counting baby’s toes while you tickle them, labeling body parts while you do a quick massage, rotating baby’s legs like wheels on the bus, and letting baby spend some time naked on a soft surface with your close supervision. Connect Your most important role in baby’s life is being someone they can rely on. Knowing they are safe, loved, and that their basic needs will be met allows baby to focus on all the other things they need to learn and grow. The security of your relationship is one of the most important “gifts” you give baby—and that's just science. Use diapering as a chance to let baby know that you see them, will soothe them, and that they can depend on you.
3 months ago