Your brand new baby is going to rely on your for everything. From eating, to nurturing, dressing, and healing, a parent has a pretty tough job and a huge responsibility. One area that parents make their utmost priority is their baby’s health.
As a parent (especially a first time parent), you’ll probably keep your child’s pediatrician on speed dial. You’ll notice everything and anything out of the ordinary like a tiny red dot on your child’s arm, a series of sneezes or wheezes, and you’ll never realize just how much you look at poop and snot in a new light.
You don’t always have to rely on your child’s doctor for all the answers. You can empower yourself with knowledge and strategies for addressing your baby’s symptoms and common illnesses.
You’ll need to learn the simple things, like taking a temperature and choosing the best thermometer. You’ll need to know about the benefits of breastfeeding your baby, and how to eventually start them on healthy, solid foods.
You’ll also need to consider which vitamins your baby needs to thrive, and additional supplements you can provide for them to keep their immunity up and their system going strong.
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to raising a healthy baby:
- Breastfeed. Nursing your baby has amazing health benefits. The milk you provide them with is made specifically for their needs and nutrition. It also helps cut down on the risk of SIDS, and other illnesses and infections. It also helps your baby maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep track of your baby’s poops. The color, consistency, and amount. This is helpful information to share with your pediatrician and can also signal you to any kind of issues that are going on, such as an allergy or infection.
- Rinse your baby’s nose with saline daily to help keep it clean and free from allergens, but also moist.
- Make your own baby food once your baby can eat solids. Introduce veggies first to get them accustomed to the taste prior to fruit. Going the organic route is always more beneficial to your baby.
- Run an air purifier daily in your nursery. This helps clean your baby’s air and helps them breathe better.
- Familiarize yourself with their cries. How does they sound when they are hungry, wet, tired, or sick?
- Have Motrin or baby Tylenol on hand to bring down a fever if one pops up.
- Select a high end, effective thermometer. You need something that will track temperatures when your child isn’t feeling well.
- Ignore a fever. It’s a sign of infection and needs to be monitored. Anything over 100 degrees needs to be called into a doctor.
- Give a baby cold medicine. Kids under six generally can’t be treated for a cold. It has to work it’s way out naturally.
- Force feed your baby with milk or solids. Your child will eat what they need to. Making them finish a bottle or plate can lead to them becoming overweight.
- Use a vaporizer with a newborn. The aromas are packed with chemicals and other natural components that aren’t able to be inhaled by a little one.
- Ignore a raspy, persistent cough. This could be signs of croup and immediate care is needed.
- Overwash your baby’s hands. Babies and toddlers need help building up their immune system. While it’s fine to wash their hands off before they eat, your should not be dousing them in hand sanitizer every hour.
In addition to raising a healthy baby, you’ll need to take steps to care for your baby properly. There’s a lot to consider in order to make sure all your baby’s needs are being met.
You’ll need to dress your baby appropriately. Having a good variety of clothing that complements all seasons, a stockpile of hats and gloves, and sunglasses to block the UV rays are all a good idea. Organic sunscreen should also be applied, but not until your baby is at least six months old or your pediatrician tells you otherwise.
You need to also help promote good grooming habits from the get go. You can keep your baby’s skin soft and moisturized with organic lotions and washes, and you can brush their gums with an infant finger toothbrush with non-fluoride toothpaste until their baby teeth come in. Then, you can use a baby sized toothbrush.
Your baby’s ears also need to be washed out, their nails need to be trimmed, and their hair needs to be washed every few days. You can also use an aspirator when your baby’s nose is stuffy to help keep their nasal passage clear, especially if they have a cold or suffer from allergies.
You should also adhere to good diapering practices. Wet or soiled diapers should be changed immediately and a thick layer of protection paste should be applied with every change to prevent diaper rash from forming. Gentle, fragrance-free wipes can be used with every changing, or even soap and warm water will do.
Finally, you need to baby proof your home and provide a safe environment when your baby is exploring, enjoying tummy time, or is left alone for a short period of time.
Things can happen quickly, so it’s always wise to be prepared. Better safe than sorry!
Here are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to caring your your baby:
- Swaddle your baby. This helps calm them and makes them feel secure, just like being in the womb. This is especially helpful when you put them down for a nap or to bed for the night.
- Use baby-proofing devices. Gates, outlet covers, door stoppers, and cabinet latches are all great to have in place to keep you little one safe and out of trouble. Get down low, from the perspective of your little one. You’ll be able to get a better sense of what’s dangerous and what’s not.
- Go organic when it comes to washes, lotions, and fabrics. This ensures your baby’s skin or other sensitive areas don’t come in contact with harmful chemicals.
- Invest in a grooming kit. You’ll need a nail trimmer, nasal cleaner, washcloths, combs, and other items to keep your baby in tip top shape.
- Keep your baby indoors in inclement weather. If it’s freezing out or scorching hot, it may be best just to keep your baby indoors. You can purchase a device to go overtop of your stroller or infant carrier to protect them from the elements, but when in doubt, stay put!
- Put your baby down to sleep on their back. This is the safest position to reduce the risk of SIDS. So, until your little one can roll over or support the weight of their head, on their back it is!
- Expose your baby to DEET if they are two months old or younger. Their system isn’t ready to be exposed to this, which can be found in bug sprays or sunscreens.
- Put your baby to bed with a bottle. This can lead to bottle rot and can pose as a choking hazard.
- Smoke around your baby. Not only does it increase the risk for SIDS, but your baby shouldn’t be exposed second hand to these harmful chemicals.
- Throw your baby around to play. While it may seem like a fun activity to them as they grow and get more playful and sturdy, accidents can happen with this silly kind of play and it’s best to avoid roughhousing altogether.
- Stuff your baby’s crib with toys. Although they are cute and cuddly, stuffed animals can actually smother a small baby.
- Forget to burp your baby during a feeding and no later than ten minutes after. This helps stop a baby from spitting up and relieves pressure in their system.
- Hold your baby 24/7. Babies need space and time to take in their environment and self-soothe. Babies should receive plenty of tummy time to build up strength in their neck, back, and limbs. It also helps them be less clingy and needy as they grow.
The health of your baby, as well as caring for your baby properly is a big responsibility for parents. But, the more you know, the better of a job you’ll do.
Educate yourself, align your home with the tools and items you need for success and safety, and don’t forget to give your little one a lot of love too!