Imagine if your baby were to say to you—
“Trust me, mom, I know exactly what I am doing”
What would you do? Would you relax and stand in awe or would you just turn and say “oh, please! You are a baby!”
How does this question really play out in our lives as new moms?
I would invite you to think again on what your answer would be under this hypothetical situation. It is difficult, it is not? This beautiful human being, just arrived in your life, needs your whole attention from feeding to dressing almost 24/7 – yes, subtract a few hours of sleep here and there—so how can she/he be able to “know exactly what he/she is doing”?
How could somebody who depends her/his entire life somehow can know exactly what are they doing?
The answer is simple really.
Your baby knows what he/she is doing.
She is learning. He is learning about what surrounds him, who surrounds him. When your baby cries, she is learning to “ask” in the only possible way known to her at that time for food, for warmth, for comforting. And he is learning that those who are “giants” (a.k.a. parents/carers) respond to that cry.
Baby will “take mental notes” of the voices, smells, main features of the face of the people who care for him. Your baby will feel the “mood” of his caretakers, too.
When you see a baby gazing around and you are wondering what they may be thinking, the baby is learning about the space and is starting to see what is near, what is far and as soon as she/he is strong enough to move—and will know when, and you will know as well, because you will see it—they will try to grab what they see and reach for it.
This is when baby discovers the beginning and end of her body.
When baby starts to gaze at those two marvelous things on their sides, later to be known as hands, they can spend hours looking at them. Have you ever stop to gaze at your hands and truly observe them, noticing every wrinkle, every knuckle, the tips of your finger?
And for a baby it gets even better when they discover those things at the far end, called feet. And, as the hands, they will end up in their mouths.
All these processes are not to be belittled; they take a huge effort from the baby and is one of the fundamental cornerstones for development in every possible sense: physical, emotional, and cognitive.
Physical because they start to learn about their bodies and the boundaries and how to go beyond those; emotional because they start to recognize emotions such as joy when they can touch what they see, they can reach what is near or perhaps frustration because they cannot do so; and cognitive because they start to recognize distances—near or far, for example—and are setting the baseline for what later in life will be other cognitive capabilities such as speech and concentration.
Because they require a fantastic effort from the baby, your baby will do all this on their own good time; a baby *knows* when he is ready to learn all this and do all this.
So relax, mama. Stop stressing. Don’t worry about things that don’t really matter.
Trust your baby. He knows exactly what he is doing.