Getting the support you need

Remember, it's normal to feel overwhelmed occasionally by the newness and unpredictability of managing so many responsibilities. But don't try to face those feelings or your new challenges on your own. It's important to get both practical and emotional support. Seek out people with whom you can talk about the joys and challenges of being a parent. These might be friends, family members, or other new parents. It can be a relief to share experiences and get another person's ideas about dealing...

The transition to child care

Try out your child care a week or two before you return to work. This gives you a chance to do a trial run and your baby a chance to get familiar with the provider. Ask your provider for advice about introducing your child to his new routine. For instance, if your baby will be cared for outside your home, you might start by making a visit while you are still on leave and staying for an hour or so. Over the next few days, gradually shorten the time you stay and increase the time you're away....

Strategies for managing time and stress

There are some general principles that you can use to help manage your time, and managing your time well will reduce the stress of the demands of work and family life. Use time wisely. Prioritize Figure out what must be done and when, and work out a plan and a sequence for those tasks. A good plan can take a lot of the anxiety out of ever-growing chores and make them seem much more manageable. Communicate your priorities. Figure out who needs to know what your plan is. Does your husband know...

Contents

How will my baby grow and change during this first year How should I respond to my baby's crying Am I ever going to stop being tired What can I do to keep my baby safe What should I look for when choosing child care When should I start looking How can I make the transition back to work go as smoothly as possible How can I make the beginning and end of the day easier for me and my child What can I do to keep from feeling overloaded and overwhelmed What will I do when my baby gets sick How will...

Endoftheday strategies

Be on time to pick up your baby, ifat all possible. Your child's caregiver may be eager to get home to her family as well. If you are going to be late and can't find someone else to pick up your baby, call and let your caregiver know. By treating her with respect, you are enhancing your working relationship. That will benefit your baby, and the end of the day will be more relaxed for all of you. Whenever you can, spend some time talking to the caregiver about your baby's day. Label your baby's...

Your developing babys behavior

When you feel your patience is running out, it may help to remember that your baby is growing up and will become less dependent. She is developing inner resources that will allow her to comfort herself and be able to wait a little for your help. It's not always easy to see. There are stages of development that can look as though she is losing ground. For example, at around eight months babies often cry and cling when their parents leave them. It's a sign of their growing awareness and...

Your babys temperament

All babies have their own temperaments from birth and this influences how they go through various stages. Some babies can't get enough cuddling, while others prefer not to be held at all but simply to look at your face and coo and talk. Some babies are naturally calm and happy, while others seem unhappy most of the time. Some take to change and new experiences easily while others react to anything new with fear and crying. Some babies need lots of sleep while others don't seem to need as much...

What to expect at home

Joining your baby at the end of your workday can be an intensely happy time for both of you. But working and taking care of a baby can also be tiring. To make sure you have the energy to enjoy your family when you get home, remember to pace yourself, reorganize your household priorities (for the time being anyway), and get as much sleep as you can. Take care of yourself. You are likely to be tired for the first few months. Babies don't always sleep through the night when you want them to. And...

Sleep routines for newborns and young babies

From birth to 3 months, most babies don't sleep through the night. If you're the parent of a newborn, expect to be awakened in the night by your hungry infant. Don't worry this won't last forever Newborn babies generally sleep 16 to 18 out of every 24 hours and eat whenever they are hungry. But as they grow, they begin to develop patterns of sleep and wakefulness that are more predictable. By the time babies are 3 to 6 months old, most begin to sleep in longer stretches during the night...

Safety for infants

Set up infant furniture and toys to avoid accidents Check to make sure that the baby's crib is properly put together with mattress support hinges firmly in place, the side rail locked in a raised position, and the crib free of places where your baby's head could become stuck. Make sure the space between crib slats is less than 2-3 8 inches. Never use an older or hand-me-down crib with slats farther apart than this safety minimum. Make sure there are safety straps on infant seats, swings,...

Comparing types of child care

Knowing more about all the types of care that are available to you may help you decide what seems best for your child. It will also give you more choices when you need to find backup care, when your child grows older and needs or wants a different kind of care, or if your work schedule changes and you need to make new care arrangements. It is important to remember that all of the forms of care described here have advantages and disadvantages, and that within each you are likely to find a...

Time just for me Impossible

Time for yourself can seem impossible in the midst of all the demands of a job and a baby. If you don't have enough time for those, how can you have time just for yourself Well, it's not easy, but it's a necessity, not a luxury. You don't stop having needs just because you're surrounded by the needs of others. In fact, if you don't take care of your own needs, you won't have the physical and emotional energy to be there for others who depend on you. Time for yourself renews and refreshes you,...

Strategies for transitions at the beginning of the day

Here are some strategies that can make the beginning of the day easier for you and your baby Do whatever you can the night before to save yourself time and hassle in the morning. Pack the bag you carry to the office, as well as your baby's supplies for child care. Check for missing buttons, broken zippers, gloves, and so on, as you set out clothes for yourself and the baby to avoid last-minute changes in the morning. Try to spend at least a few minutes at the child care provider's home or...

Does my baby have colic

Some babies are more fussy and cry more than others. If your baby cries a lot, it may simply be a matter of temperament. But it may also be a sign of colic. Colicky babies tend to cry intensely and for long periods, most often during the late afternoon and early evening, and most often between the ages of 4 and 16 weeks. When going through a colicky episode, babies scream, pull their legs up to their bellies, and act as though they are in real pain. Even when you interrupt the cries with a...

How do I find child care

Regardless of the kind of child care you might be looking for, most searches follow four basic steps. Step 1 Decide what's important to you Think about the type of schedule you would like for your child. Will you need full or part weeks, full or part days What is the earliest you may need to drop off and the latest you may need to pick up Decide what you can afford for child care per week or per month. Talk with friends who use child care about how much they pay. You may also be eligible for...

How can I cope with the frustration and anger I sometimes feel when my baby cries

It's the rare parent who isn't occasionally driven to feelings of frustration and even anger by a baby's crying. Sometimes it seems there's nothing you can do to stop the crying, that even your best efforts aren't good enough, and that your child must be the worst and most difficult baby in the world. While those feelings aren't pleasant, they are natural. You aren't alone in having them. The key is to step back, mentally, and realize that this is just a baby you're dealing with. He may be loud...

What about work

In the midst of your concern for your sick baby and your need to figure out just what is wrong and get him the treatment he needs, you will probably find yourself thinking, But I have to go to work What will I do If you haven't given this some thought beforehand and put some backup plans in place, this could be a tough morning. Yet it's surprising how few parents prepare themselves for the reality that their children will get sick. Things to do before the baby gets sick Different employers have...

When to call the doctor

You should call your doctor whenever you think your baby is sick or whenever something about her just doesn't seem right. Your pediatrician's medical team will help you decide whether the problem is serious enough to need immediate attention. According to the U.S. Public Health Service, the following medical symptoms are signs that you need to call your baby's doctor immediately A temperature higher than 100 degrees F. Skin that looks yellow (jaundice) A problem feeding (nurses poorly or drinks...

How will having a baby affect our relationship as a couple

Before you can ever figure out how to share the responsibilities of parenting, you need to understand the complex shifts in your relationship that occur when your baby is born. Babies are very demanding creatures they have to be, since they depend on their parents for absolutely everything. And as parents, we find ourselves willing to make huge sacrifices to give up sleep, uninterrupted conversation, romantic evenings to ensure the welfare of our children. Suddenly (no warning ever really...

Older babies and toddlers Helping your child learn to sleep

Between the ages of 6 and 18 months, most babies can sleep for 10 to 11 hours at night, and for 3 to 4 hours during the day, usually in 2 or 3 naps. (Older babies often get all their daytime sleep in a single nap.) Keep in mind that even a baby who sleeps through the night will wake up briefly every 4 hours or so. Whether your child needs you with her to fall asleep at bedtime, or to get back to sleep when she wakes up during the night, can depend on how you help her get to sleep. A bedtime...

What should I do if my baby cries

It is important for you to find ways to reassure your child as he adjusts to the new routine. If he's like most babies, he will cry at first to let you know he's unhappy with the change. You need a way to show that you are still there for him, while giving him the chance to get himself to sleep. Here is one strategy that many parents have used with success (a more detailed description can be found in the book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, by Richard Ferber) If your baby cries, wait five...

How should I respond to my babys crying

It's their way of letting us know they're uncomfortable, hungry, cold, hot, in pain, or simply in need of a cuddle. Babies ask only for what they need. And what they need is lots of attention. Remember, they are dependent on adults for everything. When your baby cries, most often it's because she is hungry, tired, or wet. She'll also cry when she's in pain, when a loose thread is caught around a finger or toe, when her throat hurts because she's sick, or when her stomach hurts...

Transition times are tough

The start and finish of the day are transition times, which are often difficult because they are times of change. On the practical side, there never seems to be enough time for all the things you need to do to get both of you ready and out the door. To complicate things, because your infant lives totally in the here and now, it often feels as if he is sabotaging your best efforts to be organized. For him, smearing oatmeal is part of eating breakfast. He squirms and twists when you try to put on...

Recognizing quality child care

When looking for child care for the first time, it can be hard to know what to look for and ask about. You'll need to find care you can afford and that covers the hours you need to work, of course. But you also need to find care that's good for your child and that you trust. Research into child care quality has identified a handful of key factors that you can use to weigh the quality of your child care options. Child adult ratio (the number of children per adult in a child care arrangement)....

Once your baby learns to crawl and walk

When your baby has learned to crawl and walk, it's important to think about safety in every area of the house. Everyone family members and visiting friends must act with care around the house to make sure your toddler doesn't get into a dangerous situation. Place safety covers on all electrical outlets. Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on outlets and appliances to prevent shocks. Keep cords off the floor or taped down so that your baby can't play with them. Turn the water heater...

What can I do to keep from feeling overloaded and overwhelmed

Being the parent of a baby is a big responsibility and puts significant demands on your time. Many parents experience feelings of overload during the first year of parenthood, even when they just focus on caring for their baby. It can be exhausting to stay up with a sick infant at night, to get a colicky baby through a tough afternoon and evening, or to keep a crawling and curious baby from hurting herself. When you try to combine those parenting demands with other responsibilities, such as...

When should I start looking for child care

When you are looking for child care, timing can be important. If you start too early, your arrangements may fall through or no longer fit your needs when you're ready to start care. If you start too late, you may not find the openings you need. The right time to start looking generally depends on several different things, including your child's age, the care that is available in your area, and how much time you can devote to your search. Of course, everyone's circumstances are different. Your...

A lifelong process

Our daily lives are filled with moments of separating and reuniting. Walking out of the living room where your baby is playing in his playpen and returning a minute later from the kitchen with his bottle, going out for an evening or a weekend afternoon and leaving your baby with your spouse or a sitter, and falling asleep every night and waking up in the morning are but a few examples of the times we say hello and goodbye. Yet, with the practice we get, learning to separate and reunite is not a...

Will my baby be more attached to his child care provider than to me

If you find yourself feeling jealous of other adults who share the care of your baby, it may help to know you are not alone. Most parents, at one time or another, feel concerned that their baby may become more attached to a caregiver than to them. As a new parent, you may want to do everything for your baby and do it better than anyone else. But it sometimes seems that other people know more than you. Your mother-in-law may comfort your baby by singing wonderful baby songs that you don't know....

How will my baby grow and change during this first year

The first year of a baby's life is a time of amazing growth and learning. At birth, your baby is a helpless infant, able to nurse and cry when he's uncomfortable, but not capable of much more than that. Twelve months later, he'll be able to hold and throw a ball, feed himself with a spoon, make noise by banging on a pot, and crawl or scoot to get a toy across the room. He may be walking and saying his first words. Anticipating your baby's development can help you know how to satisfy and...