Diseases & Conditions
Promoting Optimal Development
Babies obviously require appropriate food and shelter for their physical growth. If their physical needs are met regularly and consistently, infants quickly learn that their caretaker is a source of satisfaction, creating a firm bond of trust and attachment.
In addition to their physical needs, babies need affection and stimulation to develop emotionally and intellectually. Some parents provide a highly organized, structured environment for their infant using a variety of toys and gadgets. However, the particular content of the environment is less important than the existence of a pleasant, positive interaction enjoyed by both parent and baby. Parents who provide smiling faces, frequent amiable speech, physical contact, and love but who do not buy a variety of toys and gadgets are not shortchanging their baby's development.
Last full review/revision November 2006 by Ruth A. Lawrence, MD
Source: The Merck Manual Home Edition