If you are a parent, and especially a first time parent, you are probably plagued by concern for your little one’s wellbeing. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, online, from friends and family, even medical experts disagree on certain issues surrounding babies! Consider attending some classes with your little one to learn about supporting their development in the first year. The “Baby Hoots” class at Wholeplay is a 10-week program that covers everything from playing, to sleeping, and even self-esteem! The classes give your baby the opportunity to develop their social skills at an early age. It’s also a chance to meet other parents who might have some of the same questions or concerns that you have, and to make friends — for both you and your child!
Wholeplay has several locations throughout the GTA, check out their website for more information on the Baby Hoots program, locations throughout Toronto you can visit, and other programs they offer.
If your busy schedule just doesn’t allow for attending weekly classes, never fear! We have some simple tips for issues unique to new parents, to help you and your little one get through that extraordinary first year.
Sleep Routine Difficulties
Every baby is different, and thus the method that works best for them to get to sleep will vary between children, families, and schedules. Some basic tips that will help as you pursue sleep-training are:
- Ensure they are getting to sleep before they are visibly over-tired (look for signs like excessive eye rubbing and persistent crying) as they will be harder to soothe to sleep.
- Avoid physically stimulating activity right before bedtime.
- Create a structured, but not 100% rigid schedule for bedtime, this way your child will fall into a routine but won’t become so adjusted to a specific way of sleeping that they cannot fall asleep any other way. This will come in especially handy for times when they need to go to bed somewhere other than home, or if a sitter or someone else they aren’t used to has to put them to bed.
- If you are having serious concerns or struggles getting your child to fall asleep, consider speaking with a sleep coach/sleep consultant. They will help identify your specific needs, and if you pursue their services, will help you create a plan that is designed for your family’s needs and schedule.
Starting Your Baby on Solids
Typically, when your baby is about 4-6 months old, they will be ready to start eating solids in conjunction with breast-feeding or formula feeding. Visit your doctor when your baby is around this age, and able to sit with support and hold his/her head up, as well as if they are interested in your food. Your doctor will confirm if your baby can indeed start eating solids safely.
Start with something small, wait for your baby to master it, and then introduce something more substantial. For example, initially, you can start out with a little bit of baby cereal mixed with your breast-milk or formula. This is still very soft and runny so it is good to start the baby out with. When they get the hang of that, you can move on to more substantial items like pureed baby food and eventually very finely diced finger foods like fruits and vegetables.
This graduated process allows you to examine how well your child does with certain things, and also discover their tastes. It also ensures that your little one will not be at risk from the inability to chew harder foods, as they will have had practice with less difficult foods and will be familiar with the process.
Dealing With Diaper Rash
- Frequent diaper changes, as well as allowing the diaper rash area to breathe a few times a day by going without a diaper, will help keep your baby’s skin clean & dry, which is the main concern in treating a diaper rash.
- Avoid perfumed baby wipes, soaps & fabric softeners as they contain ingredients that can prolong and further irritate the rash.
- Try changing your brand of disposable diapers, as well as using a slightly larger than normal size for a few days to ensure there is still air flow getting to the rash. If you use cloth diapers, avoid plastic pant diaper covers.
- Investigate ointments/cream that might help alleviate the rash. One option is the substance, by matter co. “nappy rash ointment”, which unlike many diaper-rash creams, is zinc free, safe and effective! A formulation of calendula, marshmallow root, St. Johns Wort, shea butter and other natural ingredients create a protective barrier against wetness as well as soothe your little one’s skin.
- Always wash your hands well before and after a diaper change to prevent bacteria spread!
A new baby comes with a lot of new challenges, challenges that are unique to parenthood and looking after a baby! When trying to gather knowledge on what’s best for your little one, always try to have confidence in your abilities as a parent. The bonding you will do with your child will allow you to know them better than anyone else — so don’t forget to trust yourself and to remember that all children are different and respond differently. Ultimately, you will learn just as much as they do as they grow, and you will know what is best for your family, and a little help along the way is always good!