Your baby is starting to express her emotions more and more each day.  The way you respond to your baby's emotions will make a big difference in how she learns to express herself and how she responds to other's emotions. 

 

First of all, it is important to respond to all of her emotions (e.g., happy, sad, angry, frustrated, excited). It is just as important to respond to the happy or positive emotions as well as the not-so-pleasant emotions that may occur when she is sad, angry or upset. It is important to put yourself in your baby's position. Think about how she might be feeling as a little person who is trying figure out the world and who has limited ways to communicate. Let her know that you see her emotions, you understand her emotions and that it is alright to show emotions. Your positive response will help teach her to manage her emotions and behavior and to show empathy towards others. 

 

Value your baby's emotions

 

Parents guide to dealing with feelings

Brain Science for Your Baby

 

Your baby probably doesn't have many words yet, but she is certainly trying to share her emotions!  And she's very sensitive to your emotions too.  Nearly 40 years ago, Dr. Edward Tronick showed us how very important it is to respond to your baby's emotions with the "still face" experiment.  

 

Watch this video

 

After three minutes of "interaction" with a non-responsive expressionless mother, this one year old clearly becomes sad and anxious. She makes repeated attempts to get the interaction into its usual back-and-forth pattern. When these attempts fail, she withdraws.  Babies and toddlers can get depressed.  And we know that if parents are stressed and depressed, they have problems responding to their babies.  Depression is bad for brains - both growing brains and adult brains.

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby
 

Respond to all of baby's emotions whether they are happy, excited, sad, mad, or frustrated.

 

Label the emotions that baby is having.

 

Tell baby you understand how she feels.

 

Let her know that it is ok to have and show emotions.

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   

 

Identify the emotions that you are feeling too!  If you are feeling sad or anxious, talk to your doctor or a trusted friend or family member. 

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, then it's time to ask for help from someone that you trust to take care of your baby for a little while so that you can take some time for yourself.  It's OK to ask for help!

  

What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 

 

Emotionally, one-year-olds are just learning to recognize and manage their feelings. They experience a wide range of emotions and have tantrums when they are tired or frustrated. They may also respond to conflict by hitting, biting, screaming, or crying. One-year-olds want their independence, and may say, "No!" to adult suggestions or insist that they, "Do it!" Then, moments later, they might cling to an adult's leg or ask for help.


Gene's Research Tip

It's important to understand your baby's emotions. Emotions and stress go together! When we feel fearful or anxious our bodies make a chemical called Cortisol, or the stress hormone.  Cortisol works quickly to give us extra energy and make us more alert. If Cortisol is activated a lot it wears the body down and can cause us to get over weight, not sleep well and get diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease and even contribute to arthritis and diabetes.  Read More


Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Kathy Ellerbeck, MD, FAAP

When one of my friends told me "she slept like a baby" I asked what was wrong with her! When my babies were babies - they didn't sleep much! We have funny family stories now - but back then getting our two girls to sleep was exhausting!

 

When babies are eight or nine months old, they often have separation anxiety. And going to bed meant SEPARATION to my Samantha. In the beginning we would stay with her until she fell asleep. This would take well over an hour. And she would wake up with the smallest noise. I remember my husband sitting by Sam's crib until she fell asleep...and then rolling out of the room so that the floorboards wouldn't creak and wake her up!  Read More 

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