As your baby grows and reaches and surpasses milestones, you’ll learn everything there is to know about your little one: from the difference between a hungry cry and a tired cry to how she prefers to be rocked and burped. You will grow more confident in your parenting skills and you and your baby will grow closer than ever before. But you will always have worries: anxiety about your child staying healthy and getting enough nutrients, doubts that your baby’s crying is normal, and concern about his sleep patterns. This is completely normal. Your baby relies on you for everything and this can be stressful at times. But just like how your baby is growing and learning, so are you. You’ll learn how to notice anything out of the ordinary and will rely on your pediatrician less and less as you start to master taking care of your little one. You will also learn basics like taking a temperature and caring for them when they’re sick, and you’ll examine snot and poop like you never have before! Here are some common signs of a healthy baby:
These are just a few indications of healthy development – there’s lots of factors that go into a “healthy” baby. Even if your little one is taking longer to develop, you shouldn’t be anxious or overly concerned. Every baby develops at their own pace and as long as your baby is happy and healthy, there’s nothing to worry about. Regular check ups with your pediatrician will help monitor weight gain and physical progression as well.
When it comes to overall care, it’s important that your baby gets lots of sleep, exercise, stimulating activity, and a healthy diet. The actions you take now will impact your child’s future, so it’s important to start good habits early. Keep your baby healthy and happy by giving them plenty of space and time to release their energy, follow their own interests, and master new skills. Here are some other do’s and don’ts:
No matter the situation, you should always be a good role model to your baby and teach them to share and care. Your baby looks up to you and observes your actions all the time, so it’s important that you show them what it’s like to be happy, overcome challenges, and that it’s okay to show emotions.
To help you navigate through parenthood, we’ve assembled information related to general care, activity, potty training, and sleepy time.
Part of raising a healthy baby is taking all the necessary steps to care for you baby properly. You must make sure all of your baby’s needs are being met and this will help him/her grow up into a strong, loving toddler. Here are some top things to consider when caring for your baby:
There’s so much that goes into caring for your baby. It’s important to educate yourself and always speak up if you have any questions or concerns. After all, it’s always wise to be prepared and better safe than sorry. Here are some additional points to take into consideration when caring for you little tyke:
The first key to helping your little one develop into a happy child is you. While there’s a lot of things that will bring a smile to a child’s face, none of them compare to the connection between parent and child. It’s important to play with your baby and connect with him/her. If you’re having fun, she’s having fun. Plus, play creates joy and helps your child develop skills essential for future happiness.
Not only does activity help your baby grow and develop mentally, but it also helps them physically. From sitting and crawling, to standing and walking, each of these milestones requires the strengthening of muscles. Here’s a breakdown of the activity milestones:
- Tummy time. This is the first form of play and occurs when a baby is placed on their belly on an activity mat. These mats are usually filled with textures and colors and are used to encourage early exploration and observation.
- Bouncer / activity gym / jumper. These are stationary items that encourage strength and exploration through a wide variety of stimulating and developmentally appropriate toys. They encourage creativity, imaginative play, as well as strengthening of the legs and grasp.
- Mobile toys. This category has the widest selection of activities such as walkers, push toys, and items like balls that require mobility. These encourage the largest amount of active play between the three categories.
Babies progress at different rates so there’s no need to stress if you little one is a tad behind. Either way, it’s important to start healthy habits early, physically and mentally. Keep your baby’s mind and body engaged with fun, stimulating activity to help her grow and develop into a beautiful toddler and beyond.
As they get older, children use play to discover what they love to do and this can point her towards interest she could have for a lifetime. Build villages, paint (with non-toxic paints!), and make crafts to stimulate creativity. You should also schedule play dates to help you baby progress socially (sharing is caring!). Use this time to encourage imagination, self-sufficiency, and exploration. These traits will make for a happy baby and also give your baby skills that they will continue to use throughout their life.
Unlike a healthy adult poop, potty training is neither smooth nor fast. The number one tip for any parent embarking on this major milestone is patience, and lots of it. Potty training involves taking a handful of steps (e.g., interpreting your body’s signals, undressing, having some control over your bowels/bladder, and washing your hands) and putting them into the correct order for a successful potty break. Your child should be able to do at least some of these before starting, otherwise both parties involved will just end up being frustrated. Each child is different and will be ready to begin training at different points in their childhood; this has nothing to do with the child’s motivation, personality, or intelligence. There are three steps you can take to maximize success:
- 1. Prepare
- 2. Learn
- 3. Reward
- Get a potty chair. Most people will recommend a children’s toilet to start off with instead of the adult toilet attachment seat. This will help reduce a child’s anxiety at the size of the adult toilet and give them the security of being close to the floor.
- Choose a good location. Training toilets don’t have to be in the bathroom. During this phase, ease of access is more important. This could mean the living room , play room, etc. Or if you have multiple potties, you can place one in each major room.
- Show your child the potty. Let him/her know that this is her “special chair” and what it’s going to be used for.
As for the actual method of teaching, there are many different variations and techniques out there. You should pick one that best suits the needs and schedule for both family/parents and child. Remember that this is their accomplishment, not yours, and you should act as a loving guide through the whole process. Here are some things to consider when potty training your darling:
Remember, patience is a virtue. Being patient, compassionate, and full of praise is probably the best attitude you could have about the whole potty training process. It’s important to keep the environment positive and your little one motivated to surpass this milestone. But it takes time, effort, and love. Don’t worry, your child isn’t going to graduate high school in diapers! They will be potty trained before you know it!
One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn as a new parents is that nothing is predictable – except for a lack of sleep. When your baby is born, their body has a hard time distinguishing between night and day – meaning that even though the majority of the time is spent sleeping, it’s spread out throughout the day and night in shorter bursts. This leaves parents over-tired and frustrated with lack of sleep. But once your baby is a few weeks old, they can start to tell the difference between day and night and it’s your job to help practice healthy sleep habits that they can carry on throughout their life.
Let’s start off with this question: “Where should baby sleep?” Lots of moms dream of having the most beautiful nursery with the matching crib set and all those cute decorations. But in October of 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their sleeping recommendations to state that they recommend room-sharing (but not bed-sharing) for the first six months at least, ideally at least one year. Their research concluded that room-sharing decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by as much as 50%. However, a more recent study published in 2017 found that room-sharing resulted in poorer sleep-related outcomes and increased amount of unsafe sleep practices (e.g., infants sharing a room were 4x more likely to end up bed sharing compared to infants who slept in a separate room). There are quite a few pros and cons of co-sleeping that need to be taken into consideration:
More research is needed to reach a conclusion on the benefits and downfalls of room sharing, so take the points into consideration but don’t necessarily let them change your mind. Despite the cons listed above, the AAP still recommends room-sharing for at least the first six months. No matter where your baby sleeps, make sure you practice healthy and safe sleeping habits by taking into consideration the following:
Use caution when looking at products that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. Special mattresses, positioners, and wedges have not been shown to decrease the risk of SIDS. The best thing you can do is practice all of the safe sleeping tips that are recommended by the AAP and your pediatrician. On top of all this information, read our top tips for when your baby refuses to sleep through the night. These are great suggestions for helping your little one sleep (and therefore help you sleep too!). All of your safe sleeping practices should be shared with any caretakers, parents, grandparents, etc. This way you can ensure that for each nap and bedtime, any caretaker knows how to safely put your child to sleep.
There are lots of things to take into consideration when it comes to sleeping. The most important tips is do what’s best for you and your family and practice the safe sleeping habits we’ve discussed. Sooner than you think, your little one will be sleeping through the night; and before you know it, they’ll be needing their own toddler bed!