From the moment we first see their slimy (but totally adorable) little heads, we want the best for our babies—and that includes their happiness. The truth is, we can influence just how happy they are, both now and in the future. Here’s what you need to do.

Sounds obvious, right? The trick is to create a pattern so baby knows you’re predictable and reliable.

Harvey Karp, MD, said, “For babies, it’s contentedness, serenity, and security that make them happy. Twenty times a day, something upsets them and then magically, arms pick them up and they’re fed, or someone comes and rocks them.”

You’re building a sense of confidence in baby that things will work out. There’s optimism in predictability for them. And that can pay off for life.

“It becomes the basis for the other relationships they’ll have—they’ll build on that intimacy from the first nine months of their life,” he said. “It’s not to say a child can’t have a happy life if they didn’t have that. It would just be a whole lot harder.”