Congratulations! A baby is sure to light up any home, but knowing how best to accommodate your new son or daughter is key to a happy transition. Sure, your child is a little person, but don't expect Junior to pull up a beanbag and nosh on nachos with dad at all hours of the night. Not only will you need to put some thought into your child's feeding and sleeping routines, you've also got to make sure any siblings are ready to step up their game as well. And, oh yeah, did we mention the diapers? Well, hold on … there's more.
Babies thrive on schedules. Even when traveling, do your best to stick to the regular routine and schedule to keep your little one in the best mood possible.
Sleep begets sleep. First-time parents don't believe it, but a healthy nap-time routine makes for a better night's sleep. Overtired babies have a hard time falling asleep and wake more often in the nighttime. Begin establishing a healthy, sleeping pattern as early as two weeks. Your newborn might not be ready for a schedule, but keeping the routine demonstrates early on what you expect in terms of adequate baby rest.
Sunscreen isn't recommended for children under 6 months of age. Keep them in the shade until you can safely protect their skin.
Accentuate the positive. A new baby means a lot of changes for the family. Praise your older children for their help, patience and understanding, and they will adjust to the new family member with ease.
There is nothing wrong with the basics: patty-cake and peekaboo are games that have been used for years to entertain babies, while helping their brains grow. Your child will respond to the stimulation and enjoy the interaction.
The family pet needs to adjust to the new family member. Bringing home a blanket or outfit the baby has worn is always helpful, but also keep Fido to his normal routines. Skipping the long morning walk is fine for a day or two, but lack of exercise and attention will only make the animal resentful. Find a routine that works and stick with it.
Consider starting your child off with a vegetable rather than a sweet fruit. Introduce vegetables as soon as you start solid foods to get your child's nutrition off on the right foot.
Most babies experience diaper rash in their lifetime. Whether it is caused by a new food, wet diaper or side effect from medicine, the red, chapped skin is painful to baby and worrisome for Mom and Dad. The best treatment? A dry bottom. Make sure your child is completely dry after a diaper change, even if it means going naked for a few extra minutes. Change diapers more frequently, and use one of the many over-the-counter products to soothe and calm the skin.
Babies cry. It's no secret. It's their only method of communication. After you check all the basics of hunger, diaper and noise, remind yourself that your child has been in a quiet safe womb for a long 40 weeks. Swaddle him or her in a blanket, hold them snugly and rock softly. Recreating that little nest will help calm a fussy newborn and hopefully, provide some much-needed sleep.
You might need a daily shower to wake up, but baby needs a gentle bath every other day or so. Skip the soap, and use a gentle made-for-baby cleanser to protect baby's sensitive skin.
HowStuffWorks reports on ChatterBaby, an app developed by a UCLA scientist and mother to take the guesswork out of a baby's cries.