Remember how you felt just before your baby was born and during those first hectic months?
Now would be a good time to think about how your feelings as a parent have changed since that time.
Are you feeling more sure of yourself and relaxed about bringing up your baby? Are there still times that you feel unsure of yourself and guilty that you’re not being the perfect parent?
You know, there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We often expect too much from ourselves. It’s impossible to be patient, understanding, and loving all the time. We just try to do the best that we can.
Yet many parents feel guilty and discouraged if they don’t live up to their expectations of parenting. They have a whole list of “shoulds,” such as: “I should always put the baby’s needs ahead of mine. I should always put things away so the house looks neat.” These shoulds are impossible to live up to.
What are some of your shoulds? Make a list. Try to fill in the following sentences. Just write down any thoughts that come to mind:
- A good parent should:
- When I’m tired, and my baby is cranky, I should:
- As a parent, I should always:
Where did you learn your shoulds? You might want to think about where they are coming from. Are they coming from your own parents or your friends?
Don’t be too tough on yourself. Instead of putting yourself down with your list of shoulds, try to accept your feelings and realize it’s not easy to be all things to all people, even little babies. Remember, too, that no one’s perfect. Be a good friend to yourself.
Baby shots, or immunizations, protect your infant against many serious diseases.
The shots are so much safer than the diseases. Vaccines work best when they are given at certain ages. Your child needs a series of shots. If you have missed shots, don’t worry. You can start now. Call your doctor or clinic. Many communities offer free immunizations. Check with your public health office.
Babies are scheduled for a series of shots that can be given anytime between 6 and 9 months old. This includes Hepatitis B, diphtheria, and flu, as well as polio. If you aren’t sure if your baby needs more shots now, call your doctor or clinic.
The Mirror: An Eyes and Hands Game
How to play: Stand in front of a mirror with your baby and point to his reflection. Using his name, say, “I see Brandon. Where is Brandon? ” Encourage him to point to himself in the mirror.
Still sitting in front of the mirror, do the same thing with objects. Pick them up one at a time and move them beside your baby’s head. Name the objects, telling your baby something about them such as, “This is a ball, and it is round.”
Then ask your baby, “Where is the ball?” and encourage him to point to the mirror.
Your baby may enjoy sitting in front of a wall mirror and playing with his toys.
Your baby will probably be eating:
- Breast milk and/or formula when hungry—about 30 ounces a day
- Infant cereal mixed with liquid— several tablespoons twice a day
- Vegetables, pureed—2 to 4 tablespoons daily (include green and yellow)
- Fruits, pureed—2 to 4 tablespoons daily
Give your baby new foods one at a time. Don’t force a new food. If your baby doesn’t like it, put it away and try again the next day. It may take seven to 10 tries before your baby starts to like a food.
If your baby is interested, let him try to hold his own bottle or spoon. Also offer finger foods, such as crackers and dry cereal, so he will try to pick them up. It may take a while, but that’s OK. He’s learning a very important skill.
Your baby will be messy when he is first learning how to feed himself. Try not to become overly concerned about neatness now. A large plastic tablecloth under your baby’s chair will make cleanup easier.
Check for the circle of safety when buying baby food. Do not buy jars that have the circle pushed up. Listen for a pop when you open the baby food jar. That will tell you that you have broken the vacuum seal, and it is safe to feed your baby.
Serve and feed your baby from a dish, not directly from the jar. Don’t put leftovers from the dish back in the jar. You can refrigerate the unused baby food in the jar for two to three days. After your baby begins to eat an entire jar in one meal, then you can feed him from the jar.
No sweet foods! Candy, sugar, sweetened cereal, sweet desserts (including baby desserts), fruit-flavored drinks, and soda pop are not good for your baby. These foods should not be fed to your baby because they will spoil his appetite for healthy food. These foods also are harmful to your baby’s teeth.
Do not add sugar, sweeteners, or salt to your baby’s food.
Have you thought about weaning? Experts on baby care and feeding want babies to continue to be breastfed until they are 1 year old. They believe breast milk gives the best nutrition a baby can get. If you are breastfeeding, try to keep it up.
Your baby needs lots of love and attention. It’s also important to find time to nurture yourself and your relationship with your partner.
Now that you are developing into loving and responsible parents and feeling more confident about parenting, find time for each other. Enjoy your hobbies, sports, reading, and other activities that energize you and reconnect you to each other. Healthy parents, who take time to keep themselves healthy, are just what children need.
Baby Skin Is Delicate and Burns Easily
Babies need fresh air and light, but too much sun can be harmful. Researchers have found that severe sunburns in childhood can lead to greater risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, later in life.
Here are some simple steps to help you and your baby enjoy the sun safely:
- Before 6 months keep your baby out of the sun. After 6 months, always put a sunscreen lotion with a 30 or higher sun protection factor (SPF) on your baby and yourself when you’ll be in the sun. Test a small area of your baby’s skin to check for a reaction before applying all over. Re-apply every two hours.
- Stay out of the sun from 10 am to 3 pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Keep your baby in the shade. If you use a stroller, keep the sun shade on.
- Put a hat on your baby, and dress him in lightweight clothes that cover his body. Dress like that yourself. If you or your baby gets sunburned, put cool, wet towels on the burns. If a fever or blisters develop, call the doctor.