Babies obviously require appropriate food and shelter for their physical growth. If their physical needs are met regularly and consistently, babies 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 baby 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