How Can I Be A Good Parent to My Baby?

One of the most important jobs to being a good parent is to keep your baby in your home as they develop and from external and environmental factors.

Keep Your Baby Safe

One of your most important jobs as a parent is to keep your baby safe. Make sure your home is a safe place for your baby. You'll need to constantly reassess as your baby develops new skills. Your baby will be constantly changing, so what was safe last week may not be safe this week. Here are some tips to keep your baby safe:

  • Always put your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat when riding in a car
  • Put your baby to sleep on their back on a firm mattress without blankets or pillows
  • When your baby starts eating, cut their food into small pieces to keep them from choking
  • Don't let your baby play with small objects they could choke on
  • Don't let your baby play with anything that could cover their face
  • Don't carry hot liquids or food near your baby or while you're carrying them
  • Don't allow anyone to smoke in your home or around your baby
  • Never shake your baby because they have very weak neck muscles. You could damage their brain or kill them
Developing a strong bond with your baby sets them up to have healthy relationships, feelings of security, and high self-esteem.

Bond With Your Baby

Developing a strong bond with your baby sets them up to have healthy relationships, feelings of security, and high self-esteem. Bonding with your baby happens naturally when you respond to your baby's cries. You can't spoil a baby by holding them too much or being too responsive. Your baby learns to trust you and depend on you when you respond to them. This gives them a feeling of safety and comfort. When you respond to your baby, you learn what they need and how to best care for them. This turns into a positive cycle that benefits both of you.

A positive attachment is important to your baby's future health and happiness. Babies who are securely attached learned to trust other people and are more resilient later in life. They're better able to handle stressful situations and have better social skills. They're also less likely to be anxious, stressed, or hostile as adults.

Your baby won't be ready for a swing set and play kitchen just yet, but they'll still love to play.

Play With Your Baby

Your baby won't be ready for a swing set and play kitchen just yet, but they'll still love to play. After your baby is 4 to 6 weeks old, they become more interested in the world around them. Your baby will love any type of back-and-forth interaction with you. Sing to your baby and smile back and forth to delight them. Here are some more fun ways to play with your baby:

  • Hold up interesting objects for your baby to look at. Your baby will start following (tracking) objects as you move them
  • Put up a child-safe mobile your baby can kick or hit at
  • Read to your baby
  • Give your baby interesting and safe items to touch and hold
  • Repeat the sounds your baby makes to you and add words
  • Sing to your baby and play music for them
  • Praise your baby and give her lots of attention
  • When your baby turns away or fusses, follow their lead and give them a break from play
Set your baby up for a lifetime of good health by starting now.

Develop Healthy Habits

Set your baby up for a lifetime of good health by starting now. To give your baby the healthiest start in life:

  • Watch your baby's cues and feed them when they're hungry
  • Breastfeed your baby if possible
  • Give your baby a variety of healthy foods when they start eating
  • Introduce your baby to lots of fruits and vegetables once they are ready.
  • Avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks
  • Don't keep your baby confined to car seats, strollers, or swings. Let them get down and play.
  • Set consistent routines to make sure your baby gets enough sleep
  • Don't give your baby any screentime before 18 months and limit it after 18 months
  • Model healthy habits for your baby
  • You will be a better mom if you take care of yourself.

    Take Care of Yourself

    You'll be a better mom if you take care of yourself. Manage your stress and make time for yourself to help cope with the demands and stresses of motherhood. In addition, you'll set a great example for your baby. Your baby is depending on you to be at your best, and you can't do that if you're not taking good care of yourself. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself:

    • Eat healthily and drink enough water
    • Keep your doctor and dentist appointments
    • Take a shower when you need one
    • Get your hair or nails done to pamper yourself
    • Take a nap when you need one
    • Go to the store alone sometimes when someone can watch your baby
    • Talk to your doctor if you feel depressed
    • See a therapist if you feel like you need to
    Sources:

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    REFERENCES:

    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "Infants (0-1 year of age)."
    • Canadian Paediatric Society: "Attachment: A connection for life."
    • Duke Global Health Institute: "Study Finds Mother's Affection at Infancy Predicts Emotional Distress in Adulthood."
    • ZERO TO THREE: "How to Play with Babies."
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "Infants (0-1 year of age).
    • Healthychildren.org: "Healthy Habits to Master in Your Baby’s First Two Years."
    • Truman Medical Centers: "The importance of self-care for new moms."
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