New parents are filled with elation when they meet their baby. The elation is quickly coupled with fear as they second guess their ability to take care of such a tiny person. Following are a few tips for things to do and things not to do with babies.
- Do breastfeed your baby exclusively, if breastfeeding. The AAP recommends breastfeeding for the first 6 months or longer.
- Do select an iron-fortified infant formula if your baby will be formula-fed.
- Do have your baby sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Do respond to your baby when he or she cries. Holding and soothing your baby will not spoil them!
- Do support your baby’s head and neck when picking him or her up to avoid injury.
- Do provide an environment with a lot of social interaction. This includes eye contact, talking, listening and touching. Loving touches builds your baby’s sense of trust.
- Do talk frequently to your baby to help develop and refine auditory skills.
- Do repeat your baby’s babbling and sounds back to them to encourage them to continue.
- Do teach independence. Encourage your baby to do things for himself or herself. Only help if he or she shows frustration or asks for help.
- Do introduce new foods at the rate of one per week, so you can pinpoint any allergies.
- Do make sure your child has accepted most vegetables and fruits before trying any meats.
- Do discard unfinished jars of baby food since bacteria forms quickly.
- Do steam or microwave vegetables to retain vitamins and minerals as opposed to boiling.
- Don’t feed your baby juice or water to pacify them. If you think they are thirsty, feed them.
- Don’t feed your baby low iron formulas, homemade formulas, cow or goat milk as a substitute to iron-fortified formula.
- Don’t shake your baby! This can cause Shaken Baby Syndrome resulting in severe head injuries, brain damage or death.
- Don’t expect your baby to sleep through the night (for at least 6 hours) until they are about 4 months old.
- Don’t leave your baby unattended in a situation where he or she could fall, such as by rolling off a couch or a changing table.
- Don’t allow stuffed animals and pillows in your baby’s crib during their first year. These items might provide a choking hazard, especially those that are less than four months old.
- Don’t start your baby on solid foods before 4 months of age, especially if allergies fun in the family.
- Don’t let your child take a sippy cup of juice or milk to bed. The sugars left in their mouth overnight can cause tooth decay.
- Don’t feed your baby formula or food heated in a microwave until you have checked the temperature of the heated formula or food.
- Don’t feed pasteurized cow's milk before 9 to 12 months of age.
- Don't feed nuts, raisins, popcorn, raw vegetables, unpeeled fruits or peanut butter to children under the age of 2.
- Don't give honey to children less than 12 months old due to potential contraction of botulism.
- Don't feed your baby beets, spinach, collards or turnip greens until he or she is 12 months old due to high concentrations of naturally-occurring nitrates which could reduce your baby's hemoglobin.
- Don't add salt, sugar or strong spices to homemade baby foods. If you are using part of the family meal for your baby, remove the baby’s portion before seasoning food for the rest of the family.
- Don't use canned vegetables as they are loaded with sodium and additives. Frozen vegetables tend to have little or no sodium.
- Don't give highly acidic fruits, such as oranges, tangerines and pineapples, to babies less than 12 months old since the acid can be harsh on an immature digestive system.
- Don't feed egg whites to babies less than 12 months old due to a potential allergic reaction. Cooked egg yolks are fine.
- Don't force-feed your baby. Start with one or two spoonfuls and let your baby guide you.
- Don't limit your child's fat intake during the first two years. Fats are necessary to development.
Hilary Basile is a writer for http://www.myguidesusa.com The MyGuidesUSA.com network of sites is the ultimate guide to the USA. Individual portals offer valuable tips and resources for dealing with life’s major events. Find parenting tips and resources at http://www.myguidesusa.com/becomingaparent