I started jotting down important tidbits, tearing sheets from the magazines, compiling all of the information I thought pertinent to raising a wee one. And being a list-maker and an organizer, I made these "fact sheets" by age, so that when my baby reached the target age I could pull it out and re-read all the information that I had collected relevant to that age.
By no means am I an expert on parenting, but much of this came from experts through my reading/research. Take it or leave it, but I thought since I'd compiled it I'd share it. On that note - if anyone has information they feel is important, I'd love for you to share it in the comments section!
I am copying this from a word document - if you decide to use it, you could simply paste it back into one and print it (plus the following sheets for various ages).
BABYPROOFING – should do now or soon!
- Cover all outlets.
- Move dangerous items from low cabinets up high. Lock any cabinets don’t want baby to access.
- Secure heavy furniture over 3 feet tall.
- Cover exposed cords.
- Implement baby gates where needed.
- Move potted plants out of baby’s reach.
- Careful with stove – cover burners/knobs, careful with pot handles and knives.
- Store trashcan out of reach.
- Keep dishwasher securely closed.
- Make a baby safe zone in kitchen where he can play while you work.
- Keep floors clean (vacuum/sweep) and debris-free (from choking hazards).
- Once baby can push up on all fours, remove mobile from crib.
- If baby starts chewing on crib rail, turn it into a teether (phthalate-free Prince Lionheart Crib Rail Teether).
- Once bathing in tub, make sure it has a faucet cover. Lower your water temperature to 120 degrees.
- Once walking, lock all doors leading outside (knob covers). Put knob covers on bathroom doors to keep baby out. Lock toilet lids.
- Stroller rides are enjoyable for baby – she can be propped up in a seated position by now. Should face you in stroller.
- Once can sit up on own, can implement exersaucer/walker (though many do not recommend walkers).
- Don’t hover – let baby explore independently (but keep an eye on once baby is mobile!).
- When baby “talks”, imitate her.
- Baby will put everything in her mouth – this is how he learns! Just make sure hazardous items (can fit through toilet paper tube) are out of reach.
- Your house is baby’s laboratory in which to learn and experiment – enrich it!
- It is important that baby interacts with other people besides mom and dad – can be adults.
- Should have several hours/day outside of crib, playpen and high chair to explore – give lots of floor time.
- Needs ordinary, unstructured play for healthy brain development, confidence and self-reliance.
- A routine is comforting to baby. Try to implement a daily schedule, such as “eat – activity – sleep”, repeat.
- Always go to baby when she cries, up through 6 months old.
Ideas for play-
- Show baby an object, have it disappear into your closed hand then reappear
- Hide toys under blankets/containers and ask “Where did it go?”
- Make a block tower and knock it down
- Sort blocks by color/size and explain what you’re doing
- Play with balls – throw them, roll them back and forth
- Sit face-to-face and name sounds: “What does a bird say? How does a car sound?”
- If baby makes a noise, reward him by repeating it
- Pretend to go to sleep (announce it first) then wake up
- In the bath tub, give baby cups, spoons, sponges, etc to play with
- Shine a flashlight on the floor a few inches away – encourage baby to move towards
- Play outside! Gather leaves, pinecones, etc.
- Sit baby in front of a pail/container and several toys – encourage to put toys in pails
- Give plenty of tummy time – lay on your belly across from baby a few inches apart, get his attention, do a push-up, encouraging baby to lift her head to watch you – builds neck/upper body strength
- Attach bells/rattles to a stuffed animal and use a string to attach it across the top of crib so it dangles – make it too high for baby to reach with hands but low enough to reach with feet – when baby kicks it it makes noise. Move slightly to left or right to encourage use of both feet
- Play “peek-a-boo”, “pat-a-cake”, and “this little piggy”
- Let experiment with objects of different shapes, sizes, colors and textures – balls, blocks, cups, wooden spoons, pots and pans, etc.
- Tickle, give zerberts – make her laugh!
- Pay music and dance or bounce on knee to the beat – encourage baby to move to music
- Encourage to play with drums, xylophones, etc.
- Should be napping every 2 hours, 3-4/day for first 6 months.
- From 6-8 months, may begin to go 3 hours between naps; may take 2-3 naps, 45 mins to 2 hours each.
- Should not always be napping on the go, but in crib.
- If haven’t already implemented, read to baby every night before bed as part of sleep routine.
- Should sleep 14-15 hours/day.
- ONLY give pacifier when lay down for nap/at night. Take away when up and active/during the day.
- Continue striving for this pattern in each day: EASY – Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time (may go through this routine 4-5 times/day).
- Introduce solid foods at 6 months (see “feeding” handout). Aim for 1 – 3 meals a day (by 8 mos.).
- Should be nursing 5-8 times/day (every 2-4 hours).
- Until 6 mos. May not be able to go all night without eating. At 6 mos., gradually decrease the amount/frequency of night feedings to encourage to eat more during the day.
- Don’t put shoes on baby until walking outside.
- Try to wean off pacifier by 4-5 months.
- Good teethers: clean wet washcloth/terrycloth toy in fridge/freezer, hard wood item, soft plastic teething ring (free of BPA, phthalates, or DBT), carrot (before have teeth and can bit pieces off)
- When teeth appear – wipe over them with damp cloth before bed until baby can brush.
- Keep floors clean (vacuum/sweep). Dust regularly, allow to settle, then vacuum.
- Keep choking hazards off floor.
- Air out house regularly.
- Ask doc – need to introduce iron into diet?
- If no fluoride in our water, may need supplement at 6 months.
- Don’t medicate a cold in babies/kids under 4 years old – keep the nose clear with a bulb syringe/nasal suction, steam, saline solution, honey (once 1 year old), and vapor rub.
- Breastfed babies should be given 1 mg or iron/day for every 2 pounds baby weighs.
- Get more serious about tummy time – aim for 30 minutes/day.
By end of month 5 should be twice her birth weight and gain 1 pound/month from here on until 1 year old.
By month 6 may begin to creep/crawl around on the floor. By the end of the month may be able to sit on own. Start to use mirrors in play – baby becomes self-aware. Starts to develop independence – let struggle a little, while trying to reach a toy for example. Don’t be too quick to do everything for her, let learn on own. Starts to pick up on your tone, gestures, friendly vs. unfriendly, etc. – be careful what you say and what interactions he sees! Baby should babble when alone, and should be reaching for objects.
At 7 months, introduce water in a sippy cup. Use cups with straws instead of spouts (for better oral development).
At 8 months baby may start trying to pull up/stand – allow him to practice. Starts to get into things, have accidents. Punishment is not effective (baby is too young). Reward positive but not negative behavior (if screams, ignore and don’t pick up until he stops).