Whenever you find yourself overly stressed, think about giving yourself a gift – time just for you. If you’re a single parent, you can trade babysitting with another parent or trade a service, such as cooking a meal in return for a few hours to yourself.
Taking time for yourself will help you feel refreshed and ready to get back to parenting. There’s an added bonus for your baby. You will be better at solving problems and finding different ways to get things done. When you take care of yourself, you are helping everyone in your family.
Here are some ideas for investing in you:
- Take a long bubble bath, a walk, a swim, or a catnap. Watch a movie or read a book.
- Plan your future. Investigate classes you might take or jobs you might apply for, or plan other activities you would enjoy.
- Spend time with a friend.
- Talk to someone about the stress you feel and what you might do to reduce it.
While you are feeding your baby, your baby may be feeding the floor. Most babies don’t learn how to use a spoon well until after their first birthday. If your baby is interested, now is a good time to begin letting her practice using a spoon.
Here are some foods that will stick to the spoon when scooped up:
If you are worried about your baby not getting enough food, try two spoons — one for you and one for her. If she will let you, give her a mouthful in between her efforts. Include finger foods with your baby’s meals. Although your baby may not be good at using a spoon yet, she likes to feed herself. Having some finger foods at mealtime gives your baby some easy foods to eat.
Good finger foods are:
- Unsweetened round
cereal and cereal puffs
vegetable strips or pieces
(carrot, green beans, and
Peeled, soft fruit wedges or
small pieces (peach, pear,
Small, tender pieces of
cooked and ground or
- shredded meat
Does your baby like to shop? Some children really seem to enjoy the shopping experience. Others get overly excited by all the colors, textures, smells, and noises and may “freak out” with bad behavior. If your child can handle the stimulation, shopping can be a fun outing.
Plan before you go. Plan to go at a time when your baby is not hungry or tired. You might want to bring something from home
for him to play with and keep those busy hands from grabbing something unsafe at the store. Don’t let him stand in the grocery cart. Use the seat strap, or bring one to keep him seated.
You can help your baby learn in the store by talking to him and pointing out the different items. When you choose some apples you can say, “We need four red apples. See, one, two, three, four.”
Show your baby how to climb up and down, on and off safe objects. This makes learning to climb safer. When you have time to help your baby with her climbing exercises, show her how to climb up. Show her how to come down crawling backward, so she doesn’t do it head first. Gates at the top or bottom of the stairs, depending on where the baby is, can prevent accidents. Don’t use an accordion style gate or a gate with a V-shaped opening. These have caused accidents and deaths. Buy a gate approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Food habits you build today will last a lifetime. Meal times matter!
Hungry babies want to eat. It’s up to parents and other caretakers to help babies develop a good attitude about food.
How? With lots of praise, a little patience, and encouragement, your baby can learn to like a wide variety of tastes and textures in new foods.
Good food habits start in infancy. Help your baby learn to eat just the right amount for her — not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. Don’t make your baby clean her plate. Don’t offer food as a reward.
If your baby doesn’t like a food, don’t make her eat it. Wait a week or two, and then offer it again. Give a small portion of what she didn’t like before, served with a food she does like. Do not mix the two.
You might try to cook the food she dislikes in a different way. Young children may not like a food they can’t identify. If the rest of the family likes a food, your baby will probably like it, too.
When family members or friends offer your baby foods that you prefer not to serve, be willing to bend a little bit. Allow your child to have a small amount of the food every now and then. Small amounts of sweets will do less harm than a negative response from you. On the other hand, encourage your child to eat healthy foods every time you get a chance.