If only babies came with an owner’s manual. Instead, as a new parent, you’re often learning as you go. From soothing to sleeping to teething, these five tips can help you not only survive baby’s first year, but perhaps even thrive.
Put your baby down drowsy but awake. Doing so will help your baby learn how to fall asleep without being held or rocked. That way, when he or she wakes at night, returning to sleep unaided will be easier.
Wear your baby. Despite what well-meaning relatives may say, holding your baby won’t spoil him or her. In fact, it helps babies feel safe and supports parent-baby bonding. But sometimes you need your hands free, and that’s when baby-wearing can help. Wraps and other baby carriers keep your baby close and calm while giving you the freedom to tackle your to-do list.
Ask for help. Babies cry—that’s a fact. But when nothing seems to work, crying can take a toll on you, especially if you’re exhausted. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call a friend or family member. Take turns with your partner trying to calm the baby. If needed, set your baby down in a safe space, such as his or her crib, and step away for a few minutes to take deep breaths before picking the baby up again.
Read together. Introducing your baby to books early on can help support important skills, such as literacy, down the road. The times you spend reading with your baby may become some of your favorite memories.
Soothe tender gums. Between 6 and 12 months, your baby begins sprouting teeth. Offering your baby a teether made of solid rubber to chew on may reduce discomfort. However, steer clear of liquid-filled or frozen teething rings, as well as numbing gels, because these aren’t safe for babies.
When you have questions about your baby’s health or safety, be sure to reach out to your pediatrician.