Guidelines for a New Parent

By: Ashlee Donahoo

Baby's Appearance

Newborn babies often look very odd when they are first born. Do not be alarmed! All babies look this way, so it is very normal. Babies all come out looking slightly differen, but some of the common characteristics of a newborn's appearance includes:

*Vernic Caseosa- this is a white creamy substance on the baby's skin that protected the baby's skin in the womb.

*Lanugo- this is the soft downy hair on a baby's body

*Moulding- this is the odd-shaped head the baby has due to the plates of the skull moving for the baby to move through the birth canal.

*Milia- this is the white, pimple looking spots usually on the babies face formed from oil glands.

*Color- they are usually dark red to purple when born and then change to a red color.

*Erythema Toxicum- this is a red rash on newborn's skin, sometimes described as flea bites.

There are very many different aspects of a newborn's appearance. Most of these go away on their own after some time, so don't worry too much about having a weird looking baby.

Infant Bonding

Bonding with your newborn baby is a very important part of his/her development. They learn how to do the things and about the world around them. Bonding with your child gives him or her a sense of safety, love, and security which is vital. Some easy and affective ways to to bond with your infant includes:


*Responding to their discomfort quickly

*Usuing touch as communication (skin to skin contact)

*When they are crying, get up and walk around or rock them side to side

*Make soothing sounds to calm them

*If they are gassy, rub their belly clockwise and push the knees up

*Use a carrier to rock them

*Let your baby touch you

*Changin their diaper

*Gently massaging their arms and legs

Good time to bond with your baby includes, bath time, play time, and nap time. It is also very important to make sure Daddy bonds with the baby too. Just showing your baby care and love is a great way to bond.

Guidelines for Toys

Toys are a very big part of a baby's development; however, it is very important for you to make sure you baby is playing with the right and safe toy. A checklist to go through when buying a safe and appropriate toy includes:

*Is it made of durable material?

*Does it have rounded edges?

*Is it painted with non-toxic substances?

*Is it colorful?

*Make sure if it has a cord that it is 12 inches or less

*Does it have tightly constructed parts?

*Is it appropriate for their age?

There are many different toys that can help develop a child. Infant most toys help out all areas of development needed for a child, if you think about it and get them an appropriate toy. Some good toys include:

*Building or letter blocks

*Toy mirrors

*Children's books

*Musical toys

*Small take-apart toys

*Large dolls and stuffed animals

*Pots and pans

There are many more toys that you can get, not included in that list. As long as you follow the checklist when buying a toy, your baby should be fine and on its way to a healthy development.

Breast or Bottle Feeding?

Many mothers are conflicted about whether or not they should breast or bottle feed their newborn. The truth is, they are both affective ways of feeding your child, and they both come with their own pros and cons.

Bottle Feeding:



*not as messy as breast feeding

*you can pre-make the bottles

*anyone can feed the baby, such as Dad or Grandma

*if the mom is weak or I'll, it can reduce strain on her


*it is time-consuming

*very expensive

*the baby could have an allergic response

*the baby is not getting all of the natural immunities from the mother

Breast Feeding:


*it can give the mother faster weight loss

*it gives babies natural immunities from the mother

*cheaper and time-saving

*it builds an emotional bond with your baby

*if the mom is clean, it is very sanitary

*it causes the mother's uterus to return to normal size more quickly


When breast feeding, a mother can also use a pump to bag up the milk to put in a bottle.


*it is time consuming for the mother

*some mothers feel uncomfortable doing it in public

*if the mom is on medicine, is can be harmful to the baby

*the father can not help with feeding

*breasts become enlarged and swollen

*older siblings can become jealous

As you can, there are many different factors to breast and bottle feeding. There is no right or wrong way when choosing between the two, so just choose whatever is best for your situation and what you feel is best. You can ask a doctor for some input also.

Foods for Baby and When

A lot of the time parents are unsure about what food to feed their baby and when they are allowed to to feed them a certain food. It is very important to a baby's safety to make sure you give your child a food appropriate for their age and stage of development. For your help, here is a list of what foods to feed your baby and when.

At birth-

*milk through breast feeding or formula

2-4 weeks-

*orange juice or vitamin C supplements

4 weeks-

*fluoridated water (helps make their teeth strong)

4 months-

*cereals which provide iron and taste differences (provides vitamin B)

5-6 months-

*mashed, hard-cooked egg yolk (provides protein and iron)

6-7 months-

*pureed fruits and vegetables (provides vitamins)

7-8 months-

*pureed meats (provides iron and protein)

8-9 months-

*breads and pastas (provides vitamin B and carbohydrates)

10 months-later

*strained and chopped adult foods (provides nutrients)

After a year-

*regular cow's milk and bigger portions/pieces of adult foods

Also, when introducing a new food, only do one at a time for 3-5 days before introducing another food. This helps to see if your baby is allergic to any foods. If you are always unsure about when the right time to introduce a food to your baby is, always feel free to talk to your doctor; they can give you guidelines that is right for your baby.

A Healthy Child

Are you ever worried about whether your child is healthy and developing right? Don't worry, many parents have been there before. There is a lot of ways to know whether your child is healthy, and here is a checklist for you to make sure your child is healthy.

A healthy child-

*he/she sleeps soundly

*he/she eat without much coaxing

*he/she gains steadily in height and weight over the months

*his/her teeth are in good condition

*he/she has few aches and pains

*he/she enjoys both individual and group activities

*he/she are alert, active, cheerful, and interested in the happenings around him/her

There are also many ways to make sure your baby is healthy by your actions, so here is a another guideline for those as well.

How to keep them in good health- give them:

*good nutrition


*regular visits to the pediatrician

*fresh air

*plenty of sleep

*a childproof home and clean, safe surroundings

*proper clothing for surroundings

*all of the scheduled immunizations

Keeping a baby happy and healthy can be a lot of work, but with the correct help and time, it can be acheived. Of course, some sickness is going to happen, but it is always good to try and keep your baby as healthy as possible. Also, trust your motherly instincts, they are usually right.

SIDS and Crib Safety

Many children die from SIDS every year, which is the sudden unexplained death of an infant under 1 year of age. Many moms are uninformed about this tragedy and how to prevent it, so here are some ways to prevent this from happening to your baby.

Prevention of SIDS:

*place your baby on his/her back to sleep, never on their sides or stomach

*never keep soft objects, stuffed animals, or pillows/blankets near your baby when they sleep

*if you dress them in proper sleep clothing, your baby should be fine

*do not smoke around your baby

*only weeks 1-3 should you keep your baby close to you when you sleep

*do not let your baby sleep on the bed, couch, on a chair, alone, or with you, or anyone else

*make sure nothing covers their head when they are asleep

*keeps all kinds of cords away from your baby

Another big way to prevent SIDS is making sure you provide them with the proper crib safety. Here is another list to make sure you have good crib safety.

Crib Guidelines:

*do not place the crib near a window

*make sure there are no soft items, including pillows and blankets, in their crib

*use a firm mattress, covered by a well fitted sheet

*if you are using bumpers, make sure they are firm

*make sure you can not fit two or more fingers in between the crib and mattress

*when they can stand on their own, make sure they are not able to crawl out

*make sure the rails are 2&3/8 inches apart

*if they have a mobile, make sure it is tall enough for them not to be able to grab it

SIDS can be preventable, but you just need to make sure your baby's crib and baby is safe.

If you have any questions over anything, always talk to your doctor. They can help you.

Taking care of a baby can ba a lot of hard work, but it is definitely worth it. I hope these tips helped you out on your new journey with your little one. Remember to enjoy the moments because before you know it, they will be grown.