When my younger son was about three weeks old, he started howling. From approximately 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., he’d scream. Sometimes if I was holding him up on my left shoulder, cradling his bottom and pointing northwest, he’d stop for about 3 seconds. The pediatrician diagnosed him with colic, a condition you can’t really do anything about. You have to ride it out. He was prescribed gas drops, as a common cause of colic is intestinal distress. However, they didn’t really work.
By the time my older son was 2, he had defeated all the child safety locks in the house. Now, keep in mind that this is not typical 2-year-old behavior, but we weren’t taking any chances. We had to install chain locks on the exit doors of the house, high enough so he couldn’t reach them. Any of the locks on cabinets or drawers, he could open in a matter of minutes, so anything hazardous went outside into the garage or on a high shelf for storage.
Toddlers are curious by nature. They want to get into things. Here is a list from Baby Center of just a FEW of the things you need to think about when baby proofing your home and environment:
- Put safety plugs or outlet covers over unused outlets or block them with furniture.
- Hide electrical cords behind furniture or use a hide-a-cord device.
- Keep blow dryers, toasters and other appliances unplugged and out of reach.
- Keep knives, breakables, heavy pots and other dangerous items locked up or out of reach.
- Restrict access to unsafe areas with safety gates, door locks and knob covers.
- Put locks or latches on accessible cabinets and drawers that contain unsafe items.
- Keep trash cans in inaccessible cupboards or use cans with child-resistant covers.
- Cover or block access to radiators and floor heaters.
- Secure refrigerator with appliance latch.
- Keep electronic equipment like DVRs, DVD players and stereos out of reach or locked up. Store remotes where prying fingers can’t get to batteries (which might seem like enticing objects for your child to put in his mouth).
- Don’t use tablecloths or placemats because your child can pull them – and what’s on top of them – down.
- Keep one cupboard unlocked and filled with lightweight, child-safe items to distract him from the cupboards you don’t want him to get into.
Let me start by emphasizing that each child develops at their own pace! There is no hard and fast rule for when a baby should be doing something. My mom tells me I never crawled, just went straight to walking at age 9 months, whereas my boys didn’t walk until 13 months and 15 months, respectively.
I found people are quick to point out when they think your baby isn’t doing something he should be, and that can be nerve-wracking on a parent, especially a first-time mom or dad. So, remember that each baby is different.
With that said, there are some things to watch for as baby grows.
If he’s NOT doing these things between 7-12 months, you might want to check with your doctor.
- Doesn’t crawl
- Seems to drag one side while he’s crawling for a month or more
- Can’t stand with support
- Doesn’t try to find objects you’ve hidden in front of him
- Doesn’t say any words
- Doesn’t use gestures, such as shaking his head “no” and pointing
When I had my first baby, I always heard experienced mothers – that means much, much older mothers – tell me that I’d “spoil” the baby if I picked him up when he cried or jumped when he sneezed.
That’s not really true.
Responding to your infant promptly helps him feel secure and conveys that he is loved. You can certainly help him learn to soothe himself by offering him a pacifier or a comfort object, but letting him cry at this age only frustrates him. You can continue to “spoil” your baby by talking to him throughout the day and carrying on a dialogue with him. He can’t respond verbally, but his physical cues should let you know how he’s feeling. Hold him while you read books, share cuddles, play games and stay in close proximity during tummy time.
This age is a great time to get crafty with your little one! Try this homemade finger paint recipe. It’s non-toxic, so don’t be overly concerned if baby wants to taste!
2 cups cornstarch
1 cup cold water
4 1/2 cups boiling water
liquid food coloring
Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and stir together. Pour in the boiling water and stir between each cup. Keep stirring until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. Separate it into individual jars or bowls, and add the color. Paint away!
Baby should start getting teeth, so make sure they have something to gnaw on to soothe their gums. You can make your own teething biscuits, just remember to never leave baby unsupervised with anything that goes in their mouth!
1 cup infant rice cereal
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 mashed banana
2 tsp cinnamon
4 to 8 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 425° F. Mix everything together in a medium sized bowl, starting with 4 tablespoons of water and adding more if necessary. Mix well until a dough forms. Roll out on a floured surface until about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutter or cut into squares. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake for 15 minutes.
Let cool completely. Store in air-tight container. These can also be stored in the freezer.
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Making your own baby wipes at home is easy at 1, 2, 3. The basic recipe is simple and effective, and it can not only save you money but also give you assurance you know exactly what’s touching baby’s delicate skin. Once you master the basic recipe, you can add a few drops of essential oils if your baby’s skin can tolerate them.
Original Recipe for Wipes
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby shampoo
1/8 to 1/4 cup baby oil/olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water
Mix liquid ingredients gently. Place the wipes in the container, then add the solution and invert a few times to make sure the wipes all get sufficiently moistened. Use just enough solution to moisten. Extra solution can generally be kept refrigerated.
For the wipes, cut a roll of premium paper towels in half across the middle. Thread one end of the wipes through the cardboard roll and they’ll dispense easily.
Before baby starts walking, leaving them in bare feet or socks is best for their development. At this point, the bones in baby’s feet are still soft. The bones don’t actually finish hardening until they’re about 5 years old.
Having flexibility is important as baby’s arch is developing, and there’s no real reason for shoes at all if baby isn’t walking.
When baby does start to walk, sometime around 1 year old, being barefoot is still best. Let them feel the floor with their feet and be able to easily grip with their toes.
When you do transition to shoes, a soft-soled, low-top shoe is best. That’s a far cry from the rigid high-tops we might have grown up with. However, the softer shoe will allow baby’s foot to form naturally and facilitate easier walking.
TIP 13-36 Months: If you want to keep track of your little one as they toddle around the house, try some of the baby shoes with built-in “squeakers.” If you can stand the squeak, you’ll always know where baby is!
At about 10 months old, baby can drink from a cup.
Using a sippy cup instead of a bottle promotes fine and gross motor skills, as well as important oral development.
Baby doesn’t really need to nurture the sucking reflex with a bottle, which soothed them as an infant. Now, they can also be a big kid and drink from a cup.
To transition baby to cup, use the same liquid they are already familiar with in their bottle. If baby is still nursing, introduce diluted juice, small amounts of water or formula in the cup.
Let them practice in their high chair and don’t worry if they don’t get it right away. Learning to tip the cup so far back takes practice!
TIP 7-12 Months: Let your little one “pick out” the cup he’s going to use. That might help with the transition. Also, sippy cups with a flexible spout are more like the bottle or breast and might make the transition easier.
One of my good friend’s baby has had a rotten go of it.
She’s congested. She coughs a lot. Her little nose is stopped up, and she constantly tugs at her ears. She’s had ear infection after ear infection in her short little life.
My friend finally opted to have tubes put in her ears, at the recommendation of the pediatrician. Ear tubes are plastic and shaped like a hollow spool. Doctors suggest tubes for children who have repeat ear infections or when fluid stays behind the eardrum. The tubes drain the fluid and hopefully, the child will not only have fewer or no ear infections but also fewer upper respiratory problems.
Tubes allow air to enter the middle ear and flow back out into the ear canal. They clear fluid from the middle ear and restore hearing while preventing the future buildup of fluid. They also release the feeling of pressure and pain for your little one.
She took her baby in early one morning. The procedure usually is on an outpatient basis under light general anesthesia. She went home about two hours later. That’s been two months ago, and she hasn’t had an ear infection or bad cold since.
TIP 0-6 months: Use wax or custom ear plugs to keep baby’s ears dry after tubes. It’s also not a bad idea to use them while they swim, as well, to keep the ears dry.
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