The New Mom Guide
Baby Care 101: Part Two
By Amy Bell
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In this article:
- Welcome to Parenthood (Now What?)
- Six Sanity Saving ideas for Parents
- Baby Care 101
- Baby Care 101: Part Two
- Baby Sleep 101
- Baby Sleep 101: Part Two
- Baby Food 101
- Baby Food 101: Part 2
- Reality 101
- Reality 101: Part Two
- Baby Games 101
- Getting out with Baby
- Mom-to-Mom Baby Tips
- Mom-to-Mom Baby Tips: Part Two
Turn down the monitor.
Turn your baby monitor down to the lowest volume or off altogether. And stop worrying—if you're in earshot of your baby’s room, you'll mostly likely hear her cries when she really needs you. “We can hear a baby crying without any technology from across the hall!” says Dr. Germain. “I think this is a parental comfort issue.” Dr. Sadler adds that the baby monitor is “better for older infants whose parents can then be out in the yard but still aware of when the baby awakens.”
Let Baby have a binky.
If your baby likes the pacifier, let him have it! “I think that about one-third of babies have massive physiologic drives to suck. They take to the pacifier and it is a great comfort to them,” says Dr. Germain. Another reason to let your little one have a pacifier: The AAP states that pacifiers may help to reduce the risk of SIDS. If you’re sold on your baby using a pacifier but she just won't take one, try different brands. Eventually you may find one that she likes.
Teach your baby the art of self-soothing.
Self-settling is an important developmental task that all babies need to learn, says Dr. Germain. “According to most experts, this should be attacked in the four- to six-month range.” There are many ways to teach your baby to soothe herself to sleep, and you’ll need to determine which method is right for you. Some of the techniques include letting your baby “cry it out” for increasing periods of time, hanging out in the nursery and patting her back until she falls asleep, or coming into the nursery every few minutes to show her you're still there. "Whether you are a Ferber, a Weissbluth, or another sleep specialist fan… this is a parental job which fosters good sleep habits for the rest of the child's years," says Dr. Germain.
Stop watching the clock.
Because we live in a time-driven society, many of us feel the need to put our newborns on a schedule; but Dr. Sadler says this parenting idea is outdated. "Newborns need to eat often and should determine that pattern," she explains. "By four months, most babies have settled into a rhythm and are sleeping through the night, so this is when to start [a schedule] for babies who haven't yet settled on their own." Dr. Germain adds, "Do you make a hungry baby wait two hours for his next feed to fit your schedule?" He explains that scheduling may work better for older babies. "Babies have a more organized eating and sleep schedule by six months, but many not until nine months of age."
Go with your gut.
Although there is a lot of helpful baby advice out there, no book can tell you what feels right when it comes to your baby. It all comes down to following your instincts—and every parent's instincts are a little different. If you try a new method—including some of the tips in this article—and it doesn't work for your baby or simply doesn't feel right to you, don't force it. In the end, mother (and father!) know best.
More! Get newborn care tips and advice from other Kaboose Moms