These tips will help you know your baby is happy and developing normally.
During the first year of his life, your baby will grow more than at any other time in his life. Here are some tips with links to more information about raising a healthy, happy baby. (If you’re just bringing your baby home from the hospital, see our Newborn Care Center.)
Getting to know your new baby is part of a fascinating but relatively simple process called bonding, in which you essentially "fall in love" with each other. Although bonding is a natural process, it sometimes takes effort.
Breastfeeding or bottle-feeding
Nature designed human milk especially for human babies, and breastfeeding has several advantages over human milk substitutes. Your milk contains just the right balance of nutrients, and it contains them in a form most easily used by the human baby's immature body systems. Because it was developed for your human baby, your milk also is gentlest on your baby's systems.
All that said, don’t beat yourself up if you opt for formula entirely. You might be working and have no time to breast pump. You might prefer to know exactly how much your baby is eating. You might want to drink wine without worrying about dousing your child’s brain in alcohol from your breast milk. The most common reasons for using a formula in the first six months are a combination of breastfeeding difficulties and conflicts with a job. That’s called life.
Making appropriate food choices for your baby during the first year of life is very important. More growth occurs during the first year than at any other time in your child's life. It's important to feed your baby a variety of healthy foods at the proper time. Starting good eating habits at this early stage will help set healthy eating patterns for life.
Importance of iron
Iron is key to your young child's growing body and mind. Iron moves oxygen around your child's body. Without enough iron, your child may feel tired or have trouble with movement. Your child also needs iron for better thinking. Your child can get the iron he needs if you breastfeed or bottle feed with iron-fortified formula, then feed him specific foods when he’s ready for solids.
Don’t sweat chubbiness
The childhood obesity epidemic shouldn’t concern you if your baby is chubby. Experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics say you should ask your child's healthcare provider to keep track of your child's weight from birth on up. But you shouldn't worry about the weight of a child younger than 2 years.
Keep baby warm
Bundling up on frigid days is a necessity for people of any age, but especially for babies, who are more vulnerable to the cold than adults. Your baby loses heat up to four times faster than you do, in part because her internal thermometer isn’t well developed yet. Babies also have a larger skin surface area than adults through which they can lose heat, and they can’t generate warmth quickly enough to make up what they’ve lost. And while adults shiver to keep warm, babies don’t yet have that ability.
Sleep needs for babies vary depending on their age. While newborns do sleep much of the time, their sleep is in very short segments. As a baby grows, the total amount of sleep gradually decreases, but the length of nighttime sleep increases. Just make sure you lay your baby down on his back to sleep, to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
You've fed, burped, changed, and rocked your baby, but she is still crying. And crying. Your nerves are frayed, your sleep is ruined, and you're losing confidence as a parent. Now what? Relax. It's common for infants to have "fussy" periods, especially between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
Coping with colic
Does your baby cry nonstop at regular times of the day? If he cannot be calmed, your baby may have colic. This condition can last 2 to 3 months. After that, colic tends to stop on its own.
Decide where you are most comfortable bathing your baby and gather your supplies ahead of time. You will need towels, washcloths, shampoo or body wash, diapers, and clothes.
A healthy mouth starts early. Even before your baby has teeth, it’s important to start an oral care routine for your child. Once teeth start to appear at around 6 months, you’ll need to add to the routine. Decay of baby teeth can cause long-lasting problems.
A baby's skin coloring can vary greatly, depending on the baby's age, race or ethnic group, temperature, and whether or not the baby is crying. Skin color in babies often changes with both their environment and health. Some of these differences are just temporary. Others, such as certain birthmarks, may be permanent.
Thumb sucking is one of the most common habits of children. The habit starts early in life, with 90 percent of newborns showing some form of hand sucking by two hours of age.
When babies are awake, put them on their tummy for a while. This eases pressure on the back of the head and helps babies build shoulder and neck strength.
Using a sling
Baby slings seem to be everywhere these days and for good reason. Wearing your baby can help him stay calm while giving your arms a rest. If not used correctly, however, baby wearing can put your baby at risk for serious injury. It's very important that you read all of the safety materials that come with your baby sling or carrier and become familiar with the recommendations of the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
If you go back to work
It can be tough to leave your baby and go to work. You may worry how your child will do or feel guilty about leaving her in someone else's care.
Finding the best day care
Day care for your baby may be a fact of life if both parents work. But not all day care options are good for your child. If you're just starting to look, first, decide which type of childcare is best for your situation.
April 07, 2020