Bringing the new baby home can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time! Moms, you may find yourself wondering things like, “How many hours of sleep should she be getting?” “What if she’s not eating as much as I want her to?” and “How much should she be using her arms and lifting her head up?” Those developmental milestones are top of mind for all parents. We have summarized how to support your baby as she reaches some of those key milestones between one and twelve months of age.
Capturing Their Achievements
As you observe and support your baby on her growth journey, you’ll come across so many precious moments that you’ll want to remember forever. Organize your photos and special journal entries about these moments easily with a subscription to TellaBee! You’ll receive prompts to journal about and respond to as your baby grows and achieves her milestones. You can upload your beautiful photos to go along with these journal entries, and then choose to print them in a beautifully assembled book to give as a give to family members and friends, or as a keepsake coffee table book for your home. Click here to learn more and get started with TellaBee!
While your baby may not be able to have an in-depth conversation with you yet, she is still soaking up all the sounds and words people are using all around her. Use your voice, which will calm your baby, to repeat the sounds she uses, and add real words when speaking to her. Reading to her can also help her begin to understand how language is used and words are woven together to communicate different moods and tones. She may not be able to understand exactly what you mean, but talking back to her will grow her early understanding of how to use words and sounds to communicate.
Developing Bonds and a Sense of Security
In the early years especially, there is no such thing as too much nurturing! Just being around you and hearing your voice will already give your baby a sense of security, but there’s more you can do to make her feel safe and loved. One of the easiest ways to do this is to cuddle and hold her, and try to avoid leaving her in a swing, stroller, or bouncer seat for too long. Your touch is one of the strongest ways you can create a secure bond with your baby. Praising her and lavish her with attention using an enthusiastic, glad voice. Plus, be observant of your baby’s mood to ensure she isn’t too tired or fussy to bond. Quality time showing affection with your voice and physical touch will keep baby on the right track to meet her milestones. Establishing your consistent physical and emotional availability will begin to grow your baby’s sense of confidence and security, and will set the stage for how she relates to others and expects her needs to be met for years to come.
The first six months, baby will get all the nourishment she needs from your breastmilk. In the later half of her first year, you’ll start to introduce some new, solid foods, but the primary source of nutrients will still come from breastmilk. Observe your baby carefully when feeding, and ensure she eats until she seems satisfied. When introducing those solid foods, ensure if there are pieces or chunks that they are cut small enough for her to chew or mush up with her new little incoming teeth. It is normal to struggle with breastfeeding, such as when you notice baby isn’t getting enough to eat and still seems hungry or fussy after trying to feed. There are resources available for you! The Office on Women’s Health as well as your local WIC can offer you support. Consult with your child’s primary care physician if you notice anything unusual. Never be ashamed or embarrassed to make a call to your doctor, lactation consultant, etc., for even small issues. Every parent wants the very best for their child, and you are showing immense love and concern for verifying that what you’re seeing and whether what she is experiencing is expected of a healthy, growing baby.
Considerations for Physical Safety
Baby proof the whole house! Wrap every sharp edge in bubble wrap! Maybe not completely realistic, but your baby’s physical safety is undoubtedly always on your mind. How do you protect your baby from harm? Babies should be laid on their backs to sleep to avoid SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). You can read more about how to protect your baby while she sleeps by clicking here. Avoid being around anyone who smokes– secondhand smoke can be harmful to your child. Follow CDC and your doctor’s recommendations for an appropriate timeline on vaccinations. Ensure the carseat you’re using is securely mounted backward in your vehicle and that your baby is safely secured in it when the vehicle is moving. Avoid allowing the baby to play with items that could block her airflow, such as small toys or bags. Keep hot beverages away from the baby. Even if on a surface nearby, you or someone near you could risk knocking it over and accidentally spilling on her. And of course, walk your home regularly as your baby grows to observe naturally occurring risks, such as electrical outlets and cabinets containing dangerous chemicals. Patience, keeping yourself healthy, and staying alert to your baby’s activities research will allow you to protect her from anything that may put her safety at risk.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to make time to take care of you! You can’t be the best for your baby and be there to meet her needs by trying to pour into her from an empty cup. Work with your partner and your family to create time for you to do things that help you relax and get into a positive, peaceful state of mind. How do you treat yourself? Maybe it’s something as simple as letting the baby nap while your partner is home and you make a Target/Starbucks run. Perhaps you go for regular hikes, jogging, or other exercise. Run a warm, relaxing-scented bubble bath with aromatherapy candles might be your style. Turn on your favorite show and have a glass of wine. Whatever you choose, remember that it’s not selfish to take time to look after your mental, physical, and emotional wellness. To be your very best, you have to nurture yourself, too.
Raising a wonderful little baby can be a joyful challenge, and we hope these tips help you to stay focused and energized as you embark on this journey!