New Parent Newsletter

Samuel Andrew Cicherski

Newborn Apperance

Newborns have many variations in normal appearance—from color to the shape of the head. Some of these differences are just temporary, part of the physical adjustments a baby goes through. Others, such as birthmarks, may be permanent. Understanding the normal appearance of newborns can help you know that your baby is healthy

Bonding with your infant

Bonding is the intense attachment that develops between parents and their baby. It makes parents want to shower their baby with love and affection and to protect and care for their little one. Bonding gets parents up in the middle of the night to feed their hungry baby and makes them attentive to the baby's wide range of cries.

Guidelines for appropriate toys for infants

Millions of toys are out there, and hundreds of new ones hit the stores each year. Toys are supposed to be fun and are an important part of any child's development. But each year, scores of kids are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries. Choking is a particular risk for kids ages 3 or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths.

. Toy Mirrors

. Teething Toys

. Push Pull Toys

. Blocks

. Crib Gym Exercise

Pros and cons of breast feeding and bottle feeding

  • It's always available.
  • It's free.
  • It contains active infection-fighting white blood cells and natural chemicals that give increased protection against infections in the first months, when these can be the most serious.
  • It can help prevent SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • It contains the perfect proportion of nutrients that your baby needs, including protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calcium.
  • It is easily digestible.
  • It may protect against allergies and asthma in the future.
  • It may decrease a baby's risk of obesity in the future.
  • It may contain some fatty acids that promote brain development.
  • Breastfeeding can help new mothers lose weight more easily.


  • Infant formulas have gotten better and better at matching the ingredients and their proportions to that of human milk.
  • While breastfed babies may have relatively fewer infections, the vast majority of infants won't get a serious infection in the first months whether breast- or bottle fed.

First foods for a baby and when they should be introduced

There’s nothing more adorable than a picture of a happy baby contentedly smearing food on his face -- and everywhere else. (Until it’s time to clean up, of course.) Starting your baby on solid food can be fun, playful, and messy!

For some parents, introducing solid foods can also be confusing. When should you start? How much should you offer? What comes first? Well your baby can have cereals, fruits, vegetables, or even adult foods and meats when they can,

  • She can sit up (with support) and can hold her head and neck up well.
  • Her birth weight has doubled.
  • She’s interested in what you’re eating and may even try to grab food from your plate.
  • She can keep food in her mouth rather than letting it dribble out.
  • She shows signs of being hungry for more than she’s getting by clamoring for more when her bottle is empty or wanting to nurse more often.

Characteristics of a healthy child

Good Appetite, Bright Eyes, Clear skin, Plenty of Energy, Active, Alert, Well-Developed Muscles, Teeth in Good Condition, Few Aches and Pains, Often Noisy, Sleeps Soundly, Gains Steady in Height and Weight Over period of Months.

SIDS prevention

There's no guaranteed way to prevent SIDS, but you can help your baby sleep more safely by following these tips:

  • Back to sleep. Place your baby to sleep resting on his or her back, rather than on the stomach or side. This isn't necessary when your baby's awake or able to roll over both ways without help.

    Don't assume that others will place your baby to sleep in the correct position — insist on it. Advise sitters and child care personnel not to use the stomach position to calm an upset baby.

  • Keep the crib as bare as possible. Use a firm mattress and avoid placing your baby on thick, fluffy padding, such as lambskin or a thick quilt. Don't leave pillows, fluffy toys or stuffed animals in the crib. These may interfere with breathing if your baby's face presses against them.
  • Don't overheat baby. To keep your baby warm, try a sleep sack or other sleep clothing that doesn't require additional covers. If you use a blanket, make it lightweight.

    Tuck the blanket securely into the foot of the mattress, with just enough length to cover your baby's shoulders. Then place your baby in the crib, near the foot, covered loosely with the blanket. Don't cover your baby's head.

  • Baby should sleep alone. Your baby's sleeping in the same room with you is a great idea, but adult beds aren't safe for infants. A baby can become trapped and suffocate between the headboard slats, the space between the mattress and the bed frame, or the space between the mattress and the wall.

    A baby can also suffocate if a sleeping parent accidentally rolls over and covers the baby's nose and mouth.

  • Breast-feed your baby, if possible. Breast-feeding for at least six months lowers the risk of SIDS.
  • Avoid baby monitors and other commercial devices that claim to reduce the risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of monitors and other devices because of ineffectiveness and safety issues.
  • Offer a pacifier. Sucking on a pacifier at naptime and bedtime may reduce the risk of SIDS. One caveat — if you're breast-feeding, wait to offer a pacifier until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old and you've settled into an effective nursing routine.

    If your baby's not interested in the pacifier, don't force it. Try again another day. If the pacifier falls out of your baby's mouth while he or she is sleeping, don't pop it back in.

Crib safety

Fortunately, if you’ll be bringing a new one home, you've got the government on your (and your baby's) side when it comes to crib safety. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) made crib safety a top priority in 2011, setting strict standards for both manufacturers and retailers. These requirements include stronger mattress supports and crib slats, extremely durable crib hardware, and rigorous safety testing. Also, the CPSC put an end to manufacturing and selling dangerous drop-side cribs, which have caused an overwhelming amount of accidents and recalls. Though you'll still want to take any crib you're considering through the checklist below, the CPSC standards should make crib safety assessment a lot simpler.

On the other hand, if your heart's set on an older crib — like that antique in Aunt Anna's attic — you'll need to determine yourself whether it’s a safe crib or not. If a hand-me-down crib doesn't pass muster (or it's just plain musty), take a pass.

Here's how to make sure you’re buying a safe crib:

  • The slats and corner posts of a crib should be no more than 2 3/8 inches apart (yes, it's fine to whip out the ruler while you're shopping for your baby.Wider slats pose an entrapment danger.
  • Corner posts should be flush with the end panels (or no more than 1/16 inches higher). Is that heirloom outfitted with fancy finials or natty knobs? Saw them off (and sand down the rough edges).
  • In a safe crib, the hardware — bolts, screws, and the like — should be firmly secured, with no sharp edges or rough areas and no spots that can pinch or otherwise injure your beautiful babe. The crib's wood should be free of cracks or splits. (And the entire crib — sides, slats, and all — should be very sturdy with tight joints.)
  • Consider more than the color when it comes to crib paint. The paint on older cribs may contain lead, which poses a serious health risk to babies and young children. If you have a hunch that your prospect's paint is lead-based, have it stripped and start from scratch with a high-quality, lead-free enamel (check the paint label to make sure your choice is safe as a nursery item. For a natural nursery, stick to non-toxic paint with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Any crib that has peeling or cracked paint (even lead-free) should also be refinished.