Building Your Baby's Social Skills 

Your baby begins to develop social skills from birth. Even though they are not walking and talking, babies are social right from the start. They begin by responding to the sound of your voice and to your face, sharing their first smile and imitating facial expressions. Helping your baby to develop these early social behaviors will give him the skills he needs to make friends and develop healthy relationships.

First Smile to First Friend: Your Baby's Social Skills

Social Skills in Babies by Age
Brain Science for Your Baby

Your baby's social development depends on his relationship with you!  But the first few months of parenting can be overwhelming.  Many - or maybe most new mothers have some "baby blues" in the first few days or weeks.  Baby blues are those emotional swings shortly after childbirth.  It's important to know when it's not just "baby blues" - but depression.  


Depression causes low mood, loss of enjoyment in activities you enjoy, difficulty with concentrating, and low energy.  Depression is a very common thing.  Ten to 20 percent of mothers will be depressed at some time.  And researchers estimate that 1 in 11 infants will have a depressed mother in their first year of life.  Why is a mother's depression so important to her baby?  Babies need you to be fully "present" and paying attention to them.  Mothers who are depressed have a hard time being sensitive to the baby's cues and with responding.  


Studies of children with depressed mothers show patterns of brain activity on a brain wave tracing (EEG) that are similar to those found in adults with depression.  Children of depressed mothers also tend to produce higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol.  So, if you feel like you are depressed - talk to your doctor.  Depression is very treatable.  And once you feel better - your baby will feel better too.

More on depression
A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

You can help your baby build social skills!


Make lots of eye contact with your baby, play and share your enjoyment with him.


Respond to your baby's attempts to be social, when he smiles, vocalizes, moves his body or shifts his gaze to look at you.


Talk to your baby...a lot! Be sure to wait and give him a turn to respond to you.


Attend to your baby right away when he needs you, this  will help him feel secure and confident.


Try to get your baby to imitate you and play social baby games (e.g., peek-a-boo, patty cake).

A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Life is stressful and it's not always easy to be in a cheerful mood. However, the more you can share positive emotions (e.g., smiles, laughs, soft talking, and gentle touch) with your baby, the better it will make you and your baby feel. 


If you find you are unable to get yourself in a cheerful or happy mood and are feeling sad or hopeless, call your doctor as soon as possible to discuss how you are feeling. 





What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Gene's Research Tip!
Kid Injuries from Shopping Carts and Burns - Can they be Prevented?

What might you be doing in the next 22 minutes?

Working? Changing a diaper? Laughing with your kid? Going to a meeting?

Planning a trip? 


I'll bet, "Going to the hospital for a shopping cart accident" didn't even hit your top 100 list of "things to do in the next 22 minutes"! 


But a child goes to the ER every 22 minutes for shopping cart mishaps here in the good old U.S. of A, according to research from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Kristen Stuppy, MD

Are you up for a challenge?


Join thousands of other families who want to reconnect by going screen free for the week of May 5 - 11, 2014.


What does screen free mean? To put it simply: do not use anything with a screen unless it is directly related to work or school. Televisions, computers, smart phones and other screens are all a part of our world, but they can overtake our lives. By consciously avoiding non-essential screen time, we can reconnect with our family and friends and even ourselves.

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