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Infant Mental Development first 6 months

Infant mental health refers to how well a child develops socially and emotionally from birth to three.

A baby in the first 6 months of life is completely dependent on parental care. Not only for their physical needs but also for emotional regulation and protection against stress.

During this time the baby doesn’t even know that they are separate beings to their Mothers’. When their Mother looks at them with love they do not see their Mother. They see themselves as reflected back through her i.e. that they are loveable.  This allows the infant to acquire an understanding of themselves as loveable and deserving of good things, of others as safe, trustworthy and reliable and of the world as a safe place to explore where good things will happen to them.

While the baby is dependent on their parent, they are also capable of and interested in engaging with their parent.  They respond to their parents thoughts and enthusiasm in, what is called, a protoconversational way.  Think of how Mothers will “talk” to their babies and the baby will look into their Mother’s face; shape their lips into an “O” shape and coo/ooh/ah in response. This is an exciting time of constant change and learning where the brain is constantly rewiring itself based on everyday experiences and exchanges between the parent and the infant.

The truth is, what we pay most attention to in these early months defines us as people because our first attachments imprint on our brain and influence the relationships we have for the rest of our lives.

And while all of that might sound quite complicated, it truly isn’t because the best way to achieve it is via a back-to-basics approach to parenting.


Further Reading

Learn about the impact of environmental factors on your baby’s sleep, and how you can encourage positive sleeping habits early on.

Different children grow at different rates. Some children grow faster than others and what is considered ‘normal’ includes a wide spectrum.

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Important notice

By clicking on the "Continue" button, you can learn more about infant nutrition. If you choose to continue, you agree that Danone is supplying this information at your individual request for information purposes.

Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants: it is best adapted to their specific needs. A healthy and balanced diet of the mother is important for the preparation and continuation of breastfeeding. Mixed breastfeeding can interfere with breastfeeding and reduce milk production. It’s hard to reverse the choice of not breastfeeding. If an infant formula is used for a non-breastfed baby, it is important to carefully observe the instructions for preparation and use and to follow the advice of the medical profession. Incorrect use could pose a risk to the child’s health. Socio-economic implications must be considered in the use of infant formula. After 6 months, in addition to breastmilk, water is the only essential drink. Do not hesitate to consult your health care professional if you need advice on feeding your baby.