A while back I posted an article titled “A New Father’s Parenting Tips for the First Three Months” on Yahoo Associated Content http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7901475/a_new_fathers_parenting_tips_for_the.html?cat=25 . Now that my son is a little over six months old I decided that it was time for some more insider knowledge from a new father going down the parenting path for the first time. These are my tips for months 3-6.
Tip 1: Don’t believe everything you hear:
As a new parent everyone tells you “Hang in their, just try and get through the first three months — ” This is a common theme for all parents, but what those same people forget to mention is that at three months there is no switch, a baby still cry’s and still will most likely not be sleeping through the night. Somehow though as the days blend together and time moves forward things do get a little easier and a good routine seems to be established.
You may also here people trying to tell you about old remedies for colds or sleepless nights. They tell you to rub Vicks on your baby’s feet for congestion or rub Whiskey on their gums for teething pain. All of this I am sure worked at one point or another, but I am of the belief that things tend to be better today then they were 30, 40 — 100 years ago. Through research and trial and error there are a number of items available today for parents that were not there in the past. Whiskey is no longer needed for teething when there are gels made specifically for your baby’s gums and teeth.
Tip 2: Don’t freak out over every sniffle:
Now that your baby has been living in the world for a few months they tend to settle down. Chances are they’ve had their first cold and you’ve taken a few trips to the doctor’s office. The key here is to limit your worries to what you deem to be a more severe cold. Our son would get an infection, then a cold, then another infection. There was about a one month span where he seemed to be sick everyday. We used a lot of time off and wasted a lot of money at the doctor’s office. The internet can be a great tool for new parents, but trying to diagnose a baby using web MD is never a good idea.
You should only be concerned if a fever runs high and your baby’s congestion inhibits their ability to breath. Other then that most colds will go away on their own or with the use of over the counter medicines. Baby Tylenol, Baby Vick’s and a humidifier will do wonders for your baby and your piece of mind.
Tip 3: Let them cry — at least for a little while:
My wife and I had a very difficult time with this. At about five months our doctor advised us to establish a bed time and to start letting our son put himself to sleep. If he started to cry, go in and comfort him but don’t pick him up. This is easier said then done and it took a few nights of trying to break out of our bad habit of picking the little guy up. What we learned quickly is it’s alright to let them cry, if they have a clean diaper, if they are fed and they are not hurt, let them have at it. It only took a few nights and now our son goes to bed every night around 7 and most nights without any fuss.
Once we got the let him cry thing down we decided it was time to do the same for the middle of the night feedings. If your baby is fed throughout the day and they get plenty of food then there is no reason for the 2-3 am feeding. If they wake up and you constantly feed them, they will expect it and never sleep through the night. The very first night we let him cry he cried for a good hour on and off, but he eventually went back to sleep, the second night was the same and by the third night he had gotten the message. It took three nights and we were now able to get a solid 7-8 hours of sleep — WOW! The first night that happens a parent tends to wake up freaked out but then that feeling turns into a feeling of being refreshed for the first time in months.
Tip 4: Enjoy all of the new things:
From three to six months of age your baby will discover a number of new things. First they will start to be fed rice cereal or baby foods. This can be an adventure, most of the time the majority of the food will wind up on your babies bib, face and highchair or on you. It’s a fun time though because you learn your babies early likes and dislikes of foods, such as carrots, apples, sweat potatoes etc — For those of you that are adventurous you can try some of the food yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Your baby will start to discover their limbs. Hands can be the most amazing things to them; our son will stare at his hands with a look of amazement on his face, than he will eat them. Same with his feet, he grabs his feet and the very next place they go is his mouth. Everything, no matter what it is goes in the mouth. Don’t leave tiny parts of anything lying around, if it gets into your babies hands, it will wind up in his mouth.
From 3-6 months your baby may learn to sit up. This is great because before this they will want to be held constantly. Our son went through a stage of not wanting to be put down anywhere. He has a swing, bounce chair, play matt etc — nothing would suffice, only arms. Once he learned to sit up, it became the coolest thing in his world. Now if we sit him up on a blanket and surround him with toys his perfectly content.
Babies also tend to discover their voices in these months. They will make a complete range of noises and faces, practicing for when they want something or do something bad at some point in the future. From the high pitched squeal that can break glass to the giggles and laughter all of this will be new.
This is a great age, enjoy it. You can sleep a little more and worry a little less. Your baby is very interactive responding to faces and noises and discovering new things, such as the cat. This is the age to take a breather and relax a little bit because before you know it your baby will go mobile and then that relaxing turns into chasing them all over the house. I’ll let you know how six to nine months goes.