Growing Up Big and Strong
Fred and Ramona are getting ready for Jacob’s entry into toddlerhood. Their baby seems to be mastering new skills every day. Yesterday he was trying to pull himself up at the kitchen table. Today he’s pushing a chair around the living room—and walking! He’s not steady on his feet, but Ramona and Fred know that he’ll soon be harder to keep up with.
Jacob is 30 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds. His parents are a little sad that their son is growing up so quickly. He doesn’t look much like a baby anymore. But they are proud of the many things he can do. Jacob points to his body parts. He takes off his shoes and socks. He waves good-bye. He likes to make his parents laugh. He is also learning to test limits and loves to shake his head “no.”
And what about your 11-month-old? Read this issue to learn more about how to help your baby learn, grow and stay healthy.
Questions Parents Ask
My three-year-old son, Josh, sometimes hits the baby. He seems to hate him. What should I do?
It is natural for an older child to feel jealous of a baby brother or baby sister. Josh was once the center of your attention. Now he sees you giving more time to the baby. He may feel pushed aside. He may fear that you no longer love him. These can be strong feelings. And Josh doesn’t know how to deal with them.
First stop the hitting. Grasp Josh’s hand and say firmly, “No hitting. That hurts.” You might add, “I won’t let anyone hurt the baby. And I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
Help Josh express his feelings in words. Help your older child find the right words—even angry ones. Don’t let him act on his words by hitting, pinching or teasing the baby.
Find ways to give Josh attention. You might do this when the baby is asleep. Take Josh in your lap and talk to him. Or get down on the floor and play with him. You might get a relative or a friend to care for the baby for an hour. Take Josh for a walk. Go to the park and have a picnic of cheese and crackers.
Think about the routines you have with Josh. Your bedtime routine might go like this: Make sure the TV is off. Have a snack of graham crackers and milk. Brush teeth. Have a playful bath. Read or tell a story. Hug and kiss goodnight.
Look for things throughout the day that make Josh feel special. “You have sharp eyes. You can see the squirrel in the tree.” Call attention to things he can do that the baby cannot. “You put your shoes on by yourself. What a big boy you are!” When he says something to you, stop what you are doing and really listen to him.
Show Josh ways to play gently with the baby under your supervision. This will help him feel strong and smart. A three-year-old can share the pictures in a book or stack boxes, for example. Playing together will help each child gain respect for the other.
As your children grow, there will be times when they won’t like each other. Make it clear that you don’t allow hitting and hurting. Help each child feel special. Show affection and let both children know that you love them.
A brother or sister needs to be old enough, mature enough and aware of how to take care of your baby before you can even consider leaving your baby with them, even for a short period of time. Most older brothers and sisters must be at least in their teens and have had a lot of experience handling the baby under your direct supervision before you can consider leaving them alone together.
Prevent Fires and Burns
A fire can start in many areas of your home. Once started, a fire can rage out of control. Protect your family. Prevent fire before it starts. Guard against these hazards.
Smoking: Most deaths in home fires are caused by careless smoking. Someone falls asleep in bed with a lit cigarette. Or someone leaves a cigarette on the edge of a table. Don’t let anyone smoke in your home. If people must smoke, ask them to go outside. Provide an ashtray or tin can for matches and butts. You don’t want them to flick butts into dry grass or leaves.
Heaters: Place space heaters away from bedding, clothing, drapes and anything else that can catch fire. Don’t warm yourself by standing close to heaters. If you’re cold, put on extra socks or a sweater. Teach children not to run or play around heaters.
Electrical system: Ask your landlord how old the electrical system is. Older houses were not wired to carry today’s electrical loads. You may need heavy-duty outlets for the stove, washer and other large appliances. You may need more outlets for things like clocks, the TV and lamps.
Don’t plug several appliances into one outlet. Overloading can cause a fire. Use only the correct size fuses. If a fuse blows out again and again, call for repair. If you feel a tingle when touching a toaster or other electrical device, unplug it. Replace it or have it repaired.
Don’t run cords under rugs or carpets. The cord can become damaged and set a carpet on fire. When you leave the house, make sure all appliances are turned off. Never leave an electrical appliance running when you’re gone.
Kitchen: Most kitchen fires occur as a result of cooking. Keep towels and other flammable things away from burners. Never leave the kitchen when something is cooking. While cooking, watch your child closely. Turn pot handles to the back of the stove. Use the back burners whenever possible.
Keep your child away when you open a hot oven. If a fire starts on the stove, cover it with a large pot lid or baking pan. Don’t throw water on burning grease. It can send the hot grease flying and spread the fire. Instead, douse a grease fire with salt or baking soda. Store matches in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store them out of your child’s reach.
Storage areas: Remove piles of trash, old clothes and other things that can burn. Get rid of kerosene, paint thinner and other flammable liquids.
If you must use them for a time, keep these products away from heat. Use them only where the air is moving freely. Let paint and polish rags dry thoroughly. If you stuff them into a garbage can on a hot day, the vapors can ignite. Never store gasoline indoors. Never use it to start a fire.
Clothing: Check the labels of your child’s clothing and bedding. Don’t use any items that say, “Flammable.”
Holiday decorations: Keep lighted candles away from paper, curtains and other things that can burn. If you use a live Christmas tree, keep it in a container of wet soil or water.
What To Do in Case of Fire
Gather your children. Leave your home right away. Forget about what you’re wearing. Don’t grab valuables. Just get your family out.
Never open a door that feels hot. A hot door may mean a fire is blazing on the other side. If you open the door, you could be killed by the heat and smoke. Try another escape route. Or call for help.
In a smoky area, crawl on the floor. Smoke tends to rise. It will be thinnest near the floor. Never use an elevator. Elevators may fill with hot air and smoke. And the fire may damage the cable or operating machinery.
If your clothing catches fire, “stop, drop and roll.” Don’t run. Running will make the fire worse. Instead, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll to put out the fire. If it’s your child’s clothing, roll him on the ground. Or wrap him in a coat or blanket to put out the fire.
Plan escape routes
Plan ahead for how your family would escape in case of fire. You need to plan ahead to avoid panic.
Find at least two escape routes from each room, especially the bedrooms. A door will provide one path. A window may provide another. For upstairs windows, you may need to keep a ladder or rope within easy reach.
If you use a dead-bolt lock on doors, keep the key in the lock or hanging nearby. You don’t want to spend time looking for it in case of a fire.
Make sure escape windows unlock and open easily. Learn how to remove screens and safety bars.
If you live in an apartment, find the fire exits and the fire escape. Don’t plan on using an elevator.
Find a spot to meet outside. This could be a tree or a streetlight. Here is where the family will check in.
Show children pictures of firefighters. Explain that they are helpers. Their masks could frighten children and cause them to panic.
Use a Smoke Alarm
Many fire deaths occur between midnight and 4 a.m., when the family is asleep. Fire produces smoke and gases that can numb your senses. If a fire breaks out, you may not wake up, or you may not be able to think clearly. That’s why you need a smoke detector. This will sound an alarm when a fire starts. Then you can get your family to safety.
- Make sure you have a smoke detector. Ask your landlord for one. You can buy a smoke detector for as little as $10.
- Make sure the smoke detector is installed correctly: on a ceiling, at least six inches from the wall or on a wall 6-12 inches from the ceiling, away from windows, doors and vents.
- Check the battery every six months. Do it when you change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. That’s an easy way to remember. Brush or vacuum dust from the unit. Dust can cause it to malfunction.
- Detectors are sensitive to cooking fumes, fireplace smoke and cigarettes. When the alarm sounds, teach your children to stay calm.
- For more information on fire safety, contact your local fire department or visit the U.S. Fire Administration Web site at www.usfa.fema.gov/.
Early Intervention and Your Baby’s Developing Skills
Children learn skills as they grow. These skills happen by certain ages. A child learns skills at his own pace. You can see how your baby is doing. Watch when he starts to crawl, walk, talk and feed himself.
If you are concerned that your baby is learning skills too slowly, talk to your doctor. You can also call 1-800-695-0285 to get information. The call is free. When you call, you will be told how to contact the early intervention program in your state. Staff at your state’s early intervention program can assist you in finding help in your state.
What is an early intervention program?
An early intervention program helps children from birth to age three. Early intervention staff can help your baby learn to roll over, sit up, crawl and grasp toys. They also help children who are having problems seeing, hearing and talking.
How does an early intervention program help?
It can help your child with needed services and also help you join a support group.
Your family and early intervention staff can work together to plan services. These services teach basic skills and can be done in your home or during child care.
Avoid Food Battles
Battles over food often occur when parents are too concerned about what, how much and when their children eat. Avoid making mealtime a battleground. Your baby is testing his independence. This means that he’ll try to do things his way—not yours. Relax and accept your baby’s unusual food choices. As he matures, your baby will follow your lead more easily.
- Don’t insist on eating foods in a certain order. Resist saying dessert is a treat for “plate cleaners” only. This power struggle makes dessert more desirable to your 11-month-old.
- Instead, serve a nutritious and balanced meal. Let your baby eat it in whatever order he chooses.
- Don’t restrict food combinations. If your baby wants to dip his toast in pudding or mix his spinach with rice, let him. He’s trying out new tastes. He’s eating nutritious food. Try to respect his harmless investigation.
- Don’t force your baby to eat. For example, carrots are an important part of a baby’s diet. But even a healthy food like a carrot is not worth a battle. Offer him a choice of healthy foods. Follow his cues about when he has had enough.
Eating too little?
Do you think your baby is not eating enough? Relax. Offer nutritious foods at regular times in a pleasant atmosphere. No baby will starve himself! To reassure yourself, check these points.
- Look at his growth. Check the growth chart at his next visit with the doctor. Is the upward curve on the weight and height chart steady? If so, he’s eating enough.
- Look at his energy level. Is he moving around all day? Does he sleep well and wake happy? Is he interested in new things? If he’s active, he’s eating enough.
- Look at his milk intake. Is he breastfeeding eagerly or drinking 24 to 32 ounces of formula a day? If so, most of his nutritional needs are being met.
Using a cup
Weaning is a gradual process. It moves babies from a bottle or breastfeeding to drinking from a cup. For bottle-fed babies, weaning to a cup usually happens around a baby’s first birthday.
Now that your baby is feeding himself, it’s a good time to offer a cup with his meals. Using a cup with two handles will improve your baby’s coordination skills. Gradually substitute a cup for the bottle at the noon meal. Once your baby adjusts to that, do the same at the morning meal.
The evening bottle will probably be the last to go. Your baby is used to the bedtime bottle as a comfortable, secure ritual. Try substituting water in the bottle for the formula. Then just offer your baby a cup of water before bed. If you continue to hold and cuddle at bedtime, weaning will go more smoothly.
Tips for Working Moms
If you’ve gone back to work or school full time, you can still breastfeed your baby. You can maintain this special relationship for another year or more. You’ll need to express (force out) your breast milk. Then your baby’s caregiver can feed your baby breast milk from a bottle or a cup when you are away.
Use a pump or your hands to express breast milk. You can learn how from a public health nurse, a WIC breastfeeding counselor or lactation specialist. Ask your doctor or WIC for the name of someone who can help. As you learn, be patient with yourself. Practice. Before long, you’ll be an expert.
Express breast milk into a clean container. Refrigerate or freeze it right away. Breast milk will keep up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. It will keep longer if it is frozen. You will waste less milk if you store it in small, small, two- to four-ounce containers. Write the date the milk was expressed on the containers. If you are taking the milk to a caregiver, write your baby’s name on the container, too.
How long can I freeze breast milk?
You can store breast milk in the freezer that has a separate door from the refrigerator for up to three months.
Make sure your baby’s caregiver follows these safety rules:
- Defrost frozen breast milk in the refrigerator for several hours. Or thaw it by running the container under cool water. Don’t thaw it by leaving it out at room temperature.
- You can refrigerate thawed breast milk for up to 24 hours. It cannot be refrozen.
- Never use a microwave oven to defrost breast milk.
- Throw away any defrosted and warmed breast milk that the baby doesn’t drink. Don’t keep it at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate it for later use.
To learn more about breastfeeding, you may want to contact your local health department, WIC clinic, hospital, La Leche League or doctor. You can call La Leche League at 1-800-LALECHE or visit their Web site at www.lalecheleague.org/.
Hand Washing after Diaper Changes
Hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of disease. Build healthy hand-washing habits now. Help wash your baby’s hands after every diaper change—when you wash your own. Your baby can go with you into the bathroom. Help him stand at the sink. Keep a stepstool, liquid soap and a drying towel handy.
Talk about what you are doing as you wash. For example, say, “Up on the stool. I’m turning on the water. Let’s wet your hands. The water is warm. Now we’ll add a little soap and rub, rub, rub. The soap gets your hands nice and clean. Now we’ll rinse off all of the soap. We’ll dry with this towel. This is where we hang it up. Down from the stool now. I’ll close the bathroom door behind us. Let’s go and look at a book.”
It’s fun to sing a song while washing. Try this one. Sing it to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Wash, wash, wash your hands. Wash them to this rhyme. Rub and rub and rub and rub, Away goes all the grime.
What’s It Like To Be 11 Months Old?
- The soft spot on the top of my head is almost closed.
- My legs look bowed when I stand up; my feet look flat.
- My sitting balance is good.
- I like to use my fingers to pick up small things like toys and food.
- I can stack two or three small boxes, and I like to knock them down.
- If you hold my hands, I can walk. I’m almost ready to take my first steps by myself.
- I point to things I want, even if they are far away.
- Tasting and touching are my favorite ways to explore new things.
- I love being the center of attention—and making you smile.
- When you call my name, I look for you.
- I like to imitate sounds like coughing, laughing, lip smacking and tongue clicking.
- I can pull off hats, shoes and socks but need your help getting them back on again.
- I know about getting dressed and usually cooperate when you put on my clothes.
Prepare To Visit the Dentist
Children need to have their first dental visit when they’re about one year old. Call your dentist now for an appointment.
The dentist will check many things:
- Are the teeth coming in correctly?
- Is there tooth decay?
- Is there any gum disease?
The dentist may ask you questions like:
- Does your baby eat lots of sugary foods?
- Are you breastfeeding your baby or does your baby use a bottle?
- Do you clean your baby’s teeth daily?
If there is a problem, the dentist can treat it. Treatment now can avoid big problems later. The dentist will also show you how to clean your child’s teeth.
Ask when to come for another checkup. Every six months is a good idea. Make dental visits pleasant. Don’t tell scary stories about what dentists do. You might say, “We’re going to the dentist. We want you to have strong teeth.” You and the dentist can work together to keep your baby’s teeth healthy.
Welcome to “NO!”
Just before their first birthdays, babies learn the meaning of “no.” They spend lots of time shaking their heads “no”—even when they mean “yes!” This may be frustrating for you. But it means your baby is growing up. He is becoming independent. He feels secure enough that he’s sometimes able to risk your disapproval. He’s beginning to learn right from wrong.
To get your attention, your baby might do these kinds of things:
- Turn the knobs of the radio to a blast of noise.
- Throw food on the floor.
- Push the buttons on the telephone.
- Pull the dog’s ear.
- Bite while he’s nursing.
Your baby will test his limits—and yours. As he moves toward the telephone, for example, he may look back at you. He may have a guilty look on his face. He needs an immediate response from you—a facial expression or a gesture that says, “I’m paying attention to you. It’s not OK to play with the telephone.”
Don’t overreact. Avoid yelling and strong corrections. These give your baby the attention he wants, and he will likely repeat the behavior just to get your attention again.
Instead, try to anticipate your baby’s behavior. Have you left him alone for too long? Is he bored with his playthings? Does he need a hug? Give him positive attention—he’ll be less likely to do something that you disapprove of.
You can also distract your baby. Offer a different activity. Move the attractive, but forbidden, object out of your baby’s reach.
Avoid saying “No!” too often. The word will lose its impact. Save it for important times, like when safety is an issue. In the examples above, respond firmly—don’t smile—and tell your baby the right way to do the activity.
For example, if your baby is banging on the table with a spoon, stop him by gently holding his hand. Say, “This spoon is for eating. Would you like another spoonful of peaches? After dinner let’s find a big box for you to bang like a drum.”
Give him information he can use in the future. Let him know your limits. Enforce your rules the same way every time.
Spoiling your baby?
Parents often wonder if they can spoil their baby by answering his calls for attention. Babies need contact with you. Contact builds trust and security. Responding to your baby helps him be brave enough to learn independence.
Don’t be tempted to let your baby cry without going to him. At this age babies have needs—not wants. They can’t figure out problems; they can’t use logic. They don’t understand that you might be busy with something else. They aren’t selfish—they just aren’t old enough to understand your point of view. Babies who are left to cry are usually anxious and more demanding.
Parents who respond to their babies are not spoiling them. They are helping their babies develop trust, security and confidence.
Helping Babies Build Brains
Help your baby develop his brain with these activities:
- Support and respect your baby’s unique personality.
- Hold, rock and touch your baby. Stroke your baby’s skin to increase brain activity.
- Respond to your baby’s likes and dislikes. You will be able to understand his body language long before he talks.
- Talk, read and sing to your baby. Language increases brain activity and learning.
- Label objects and actions for your baby (ball, walking, washing, etc.).
- Keep the environment calm. Protect your baby from emotional stress. It’s hard for him to concentrate if there’s loud music and constant television noise.
- Help your baby safely explore using all five senses. Help him use taste, touch, smell, hearing and seeing. Talk to your baby and name the tastes and textures (sour, sweet, etc.).
- Avoid interrupting when your baby is concentrating. Your baby needs playtime to explore and imitate. This happens through play. Stand back and watch. Try to understand what your baby is working on.
Discovering Your Baby’s Temperament
Your baby has a temperament. Temperament can make a person behave in a certain way. For example, one baby may cry and hide at the sight of a large animal. Another baby may be cautious and interested. And a third may be fearless and try to play with the animal right away. The first temperament is sometimes called “slow-to-warm-up.” You may hear the second called “adaptable.” The third is often called “feisty.” Some babies combine these three temperaments—being shy sometimes and adaptable or feisty at other times. Knowing your baby’s temperament will help you help your baby.
Some babies are shy. They turn away from new people. They do not adapt to change quickly. Let your baby take the lead in new situations. Encourage strangers not to get right in your baby’s face and force eye contact. Avoid loud outbursts. These may be frightening to a shy baby. Introduce new people slowly.
Some babies are relaxed and easygoing. They are eager to explore new places and things. They respond quickly to change. They can often calm themselves in times of stress. These babies are likely to be sound sleepers and eager eaters.
Some babies are strong willed and intense. They find change distressing. They react strongly to new events and situations. They need a regular routine for eating, sleeping and outings. They sometimes need extra physical contact with you. Whatever the temperament, your job is clear. Identify and respect your baby’s temperament. Then you can support his growth, confidence and abilities.
Safety First—at Every Age
Buckle your baby into a car safety seat before you start the car. Keep the seat facing backward until your baby is one year old and weighs at least 20 pounds. The back seat is the safest place for babies and children.
Stay with your baby when he is playing near or in water. Never leave your baby alone in a bath or a pool. Babies can drown in just a few inches of water.
Never, ever shake your baby.
Keep your baby away from things that could burn him. Don’t eat, drink, smoke or carry anything hot while holding him.
Put your baby to sleep on his back unless your doctor has told you to do otherwise. Insist that others who care for your baby do the same.
Serve healthy foods. Avoid sweetened, salty or fatty ones.
Lock up guns, alcohol, drugs and chemicals such as cleaning solutions. These can kill your baby.
Put away knives, matches and other items that can hurt your baby. Put them in a place your exploring baby can’t reach or open.
Your baby wants to be with you. You are the person your baby knows and loves best. He knows when you are not with him. This creates a fear that you will not return. This distress is called “separation anxiety.” It is an important part of growing up.
Help your baby separate from you. Avoid leaving when he is hungry, tired or sick. Ask the caregiver or baby-sitter to sit nearby and hold an interesting toy. Let the baby warm up to the new person. Offer your baby a security object like a stuffed toy or a soft, familiar blanket. This can help your baby comfort himself while you are away.
Your baby may cry loudly, but don’t sneak away. Tell your baby what will happen while you’re gone. Say when you will return. Tell him, for example, “I need to leave now. Auntie Meg will play with you and give you lunch. I’ll be back before nap time. I love you.” Give your baby a kiss and leave. His cries will end soon. Over time he will learn that you always come back.
Some parents are eager for their baby to walk. They think that a baby walker will help the process along. In fact, walkers make learning to walk a slower process. They strengthen muscles in the lower leg. But they don’t help develop muscles in the upper leg and hip—the muscles most needed in walking.
Walkers also make getting around too easy. They don’t help babies learn balance and coordination.
Even worse, walkers are a safety hazard. They can tip over easily. In a walker, babies are more likely to fall down stairs. They can also roll into dangerous places.
A walker is an example of expensive, unnecessary equipment made for babies. Instead of buying a walker, get a sturdy wagon or push car. Show your baby how to push the car around the room or playground. This will help build the muscles and coordination he needs for walking.
Building Skills Through Play
Help your baby build learning skills. The following activities use materials that you’re likely to have around the house.
Over and under: Your baby is discovering that his size is changing. Some spaces are now too small to scoot under. Now he can reach new things. Help him explore his size. Make a tunnel from cardboard boxes taped together. Encourage him to crawl through the tunnel. Place a toy on the sofa just out of his reach. Encourage him to stretch to reach it.
Animal sounds: Cut pictures of animals from old magazines. Share the pictures with your baby. Tell him the name of the animal. Point out the animal’s features. Say things like, “This is a blue bird. It flies. See its feathers.” Make the sound each animal makes. Encourage your baby to repeat the sound.
Check the hat: Gather several hats, plastic bowls and lightweight pots. Show your baby how to put each on his head. Show him his reflection in a mirror. Laugh and talk with your baby throughout this “fashion show.”
Cooking together: Give your baby a pot and a wooden spoon. As you empty a container, give it to your baby. He will imitate you—pouring and stirring. Expect some banging, too!
Balls in a muffin tin: Give your baby a muffin tin and several balls the size of a tennis ball. Show your baby how to put the balls in the holes. Encourage him to move the balls from space to space. Do the same activity using a clean egg carton and plastic eggs.
Toys, Toys, Toys
Toys are learning tools for babies. Often, simple household objects like pots and wooden spoons are great toys. If you buy toys, make sure they are safe for your baby. Don’t let your baby play with anything that has parts he can choke on. Check for sharp edges and points that can cause injuries.
Offer the following kinds of toys to your 11-month-old. His muscle control and balance will improve. He will begin to use his imagination. These toys also help him understand size—the beginning of math skills.
- Stacking toys in different sizes, colors and shapes
- Unbreakable mirrors
- Wheeled toys like cars and trucks that are made of flexible plastic
- Balls of all sizes
- Cardboard books with realistic pictures
- Toy telephones
- Toys that make noise—music boxes, busy boxes that squeak and squeeze toys, for example
Save the following “beautiful junk” for your baby’s play. When the containers become ragged, toss them away. You’ll almost always have a clean, sturdy replacement.
- Paper tubes
- Empty boxes
- Plastic egg cartons that you have washed with soap and water
- Empty and clean milk or juice jugs (without caps)
Managing Your Time
For young parents, there is often not enough time. How can you manage time to better care for your child and yourself?
Try this. Get a sheet of paper. On the left side, write the hours of your day. Start with when you wake up and end with when you go to bed. Keep track of how you spend each 15-minute period. Here’s a sample of how one hour might look:
6:00 a.m. Get dressed.
6:15 a.m. Feed the baby
6:30 a.m. Dress the baby.
6:45 a.m. Finish dressing.
7:00 a.m. Take the baby to day care.
Do this every day for a week. After a few days, you will notice habits. You will get a clear idea of where your time goes.
At week’s end, review what you have done. Circle all the important things—such as baby care, work, meals and sleep.
Maybe you had some surprises. On Wednesday, for example, the sink clogged up. You had to stop what you were doing and clean out the drain. Maybe there were days when you wanted to do something important, like exercise. But you didn’t have time.
Looking back at your week, what could you easily have done without? Maybe chatting on the phone? Or watching TV? Everyone needs time to relax and enjoy friends. But you might limit such activities. When a friend calls, say, “Sorry, I can’t talk now. Can I call you Sunday?”
You might choose one or two favorite TV programs a week and watch them as a family. Limiting TV time is a good habit to begin now. When your children are in school, they will need time to do homework.
Use existing time better
Maybe you spent 10 minutes one morning looking for your keys. Instead, put your keys in a regular place—such as a hook in a kitchen cabinet.
If you always seem rushed in the morning, get organized the night before. Set out clothes for yourself and the baby. Pack the diaper bag. Make your lunch and put it in the refrigerator.
When standing in line at the store, play a simple game with your baby. You might point to things in your basket and name them.
Plan menus a week or more in advance. Make a list of needed groceries and shop only once a week. Instead of shopping Saturday afternoon when the store is busy, go on a weekday night.
Combine errands into one trip whenever possible. The day before a doctor’s appointment, write down the questions you want to ask.
Simplify when possible
Find a simple hairstyle that needs only washing and brushing. Choose clothes that look fresh without ironing.
When faced with a big job, avoid the temptation to put it off. Instead, break it into small parts. Ask about anything you don’t understand. Do one part at a time. Reward yourself when it’s done.
Free up time
Maybe you can wake up 15 minutes earlier than your baby. You might use this for exercise or quiet time for yourself.
Divide up chores among family members. When cooking, double the recipe. Freeze half for when you’re too busy to cook. When someone asks you to do something, consider saying no.
Now plan your time for the coming week. Be realistic. Remember that unexpected things may happen. Be flexible. Keep refining your schedule in the weeks ahead. You may still feel busy and miss doing some things you want to do. If so, be patient. In a few years, your child will be in school most of the day. Your schedule will change.
For now, give yourself a pat on the back. You are doing important things for yourself and your family. The ways you spend your time now will shape the rest of your child’s life.
Working with Child-Care Providers
Some parents enroll their children in child-care centers. Some use family day-care homes. And some rely on relatives to care for their babies. In any case, you and the child-care provider will work together. Your partnership will keep your baby strong and healthy and help him grow.
Use these tips to make your child-care choice work.
- Share information. Explain your baby’s schedule, habits and needs. For example, tell the provider that your baby uses a security blanket at nap time. Make sure the provider knows how to reach you in an emergency.
- Pay on time. Being late with payments isn’t fair.
- Set up regular conferences. Talk with the provider about your baby’s needs. Review what works and what doesn’t. Ask the provider about your baby’s developing skills.
- Insist on good health practices. Is food prepared and stored properly? Are diaper changing areas clean and germ free? Do adults and children wash their hands before meals and after using the toilet? All of these measures help keep your baby healthy.
- Show that you respect the provider. Pick up your baby on time. Say “thank you” often.
Stay Away from Second-Hand Smoke
Second-hand smoke is what you get when you’re around a smoker. It’s the smoke the smoker breathes out. It’s the smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
This smoke contains many irritants and poisons. It is especially dangerous for babies and young children. Their lungs are delicate.
Children who breathe this smoke are more likely than other children to get sick. They may have more mucus. The fluid in their middle ears may build up and cause ear infections. They may develop pneumonia, bronchitis and other lung infections. If they have asthma, it may get worse.
Second-hand smoke is harmful for everyone. It contains more than 40 cancer-causing substances.
It can also harm the heart. Anyone who lives with a smoker is at risk of developing lung cancer and having a heart attack.
What can you do?
- Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your house. If people must smoke, ask them to do it outside.
- Avoid homes, cafes and other places where people smoke. Go to smoke-free places only.
- If other people care for your baby, make sure they don’t smoke.
- If you or your partner smokes, stop. If you have trouble quitting, ask your doctor for help.
- Set a good example. Children learn by watching what you do.
- For your baby’s health—and your own—stay away from second-hand smoke.
Information Resources for Families
Families who are enrolled in the WIC program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) can get information on breastfeeding, formula feeding and nutrition at their local WIC office. Families eligible for WIC receive nutrition counseling and supplemental foods such as baby formula, milk and cereal. To find the WIC office nearest you, call your state health department or visit the WIC Web site at www.fns.usda.gov/wic/. Many public libraries offer free access to the Internet and provide help for first-time users.
For information about early childhood education initiatives, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-USA-LEARN or visit their Web site at www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/teachingouryoungest/.
To learn about child care options, you may contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care Aware by phone at 1-800-424-2246 or visit their Web site at www.childcareaware.org/.
For more information and resources on postpartum depression, breastfeeding and many other women’s health issues call The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC) at 1-800-994-9662
(1-800-994-WOMAN). You can visit their Web site at www.4woman.gov/.
To learn more about breastfeeding, you may call La Leche League at
1-800-LALECHE or visit their Web site at www.lalecheleague.org/.
To learn more about free or low-cost health insurance for children, you can call the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Insure Kids Now Program at 1-877-KIDSNOW. You can also visit their Web site at www.insurekidsnow.gov/.
The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) poison control hotline,
1-800-222-1222, should be on your list of emergency numbers. To learn more, you can visit the AAPCC Web site at www.aapcc.org/.
Families who cannot afford a car safety seat can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They can provide information on resources that help low-income families purchase or borrow child car seats. You may call them at 1-800-424-9393 or visit their Web site at www.nhtsa.dot.gov/.
To learn more about safety, you can call the Consumer Product Safety Commission at
1-800-638-2772 or you can visit their Web site at www.cpsc.gov/.
For information on disabilities and disability-related issues for families, you can call the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) at
1-800-695-0285 or visit their Web site at www.nichcy.org/.
For information about programs that teach adults how to read, you can call America’s Literacy Directory at 1-800-228-8813 or visit their Web site at: www.literacydirectory.org/.
To order copies of this publication,
write to: ED Pubs, Education Publications Center, U.S. Department of Education, P.O. Box 1398, Jessup, MD 20794-1398;
or fax your request to: 301-470-1244;
or e-mail your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call in your request toll-free: 1-877-433-7827 (1-877-4-ED-PUBS).
If 877 service is not yet available in your area, call 1-800-872-5327
(1-800-USA-LEARN). Those who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a teletypewriter (TTY), should call 1-800-437-0833.
or order online at: www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html/.
This publication is available to download on the Department of Education’s Web site at: www.ed.gov/offices/OESE/earlychildhood/healthystart/. It will also be available in Spanish on the Department of Education’s Web site in January 2003.
On request, this publication is available in alternate formats, such as Braille, large print, audiotape or computer diskette. For more information, please contact the Department’s Alternate Format Center (202) 260-9895 or (202) 205-8113