In your first year as a parent you learn quite possibly as much as your new baby does. After that first birthday party I caught myself looking back thinking, “Why didn’t anyone tell me…” Well, I’m going to tell you. It would take me several books to share all of the advice gleaned from one single year of being a mom, but I can offer this. Here are six things that a parent should know about their baby’s first year of life, and parenting tips derived from this knowledge.
1. Your new baby’s skin may become dry and peel shortly after birth.
This may seem like no biggy, but the shedding like peeling that some newborns suffer is pretty frightening if you’re not expecting it. It’s most common on the hands and feet and is simply a reaction to big environment changes.
Be careful which lotions you use as even “all natural” labeled options can often cause rashes in sensitive newborn skin. Also don’t peel at the shedding skin, let it fall off on its own.
2. EVERYTHING you consume enters breast milk.
I suppose this doesn’t apply to every new parent, but if you breastfeed it’s important. Most new moms know not to drink alcohol or do any drugs including over the counter medications without consulting a doctor, but many others don’t understand how their diet can affect their baby.
Parenting tip: Learn about what is and isn’t safe while breast feeding as well as watch for reactions in your baby. Even everyday foods may have a negative reaction. For example, my son ended up with a peanut allergy; when I would eat peanut products, he would have an allergic reaction. Had I known, I may have made the connection faster.
3. Every child, even siblings or twins, is different.
When I had my second child I expected things to be old hat; I’d done this before. This misconception led me to a great deal of heartache and frustration until I recognized they were individuals and every baby is different.
Parenting tip:Treat every new child like your first ever and re-learn everything.
4. Feeding a baby cereal bottles will not help them sleep through the night.
I don’t know how many people told me this. How excited they had me for the four month mark when my pediatrician said to start cereal. First, studies show that cereal bottles don’t help babies sleep through the night at all. Second, cereal also generally leads to more spit up and tummy trouble in the first few weeks meaning less sleep, not more.
Parenting tip:Feed food to satisfy hunger, not aid in sleep. Don’t take any parenting advice at its word; look it up, research, verify.
5. Holding a baby all the time hurts not helps.
With my first child I was so sure that he needed to be held all of the time. I thought letting him cry could somehow make him grow up to be a deviant. In time, anytime I set him down he cried. I ended up stressed. He ended up lacking tummy time which is essential to certain developmental milestones.
Parenting tip: PUT THE BABY DOWN! It won’t hurt your child to cry every now and then, but it will hurt your child and you if you hold him/her 24-7 and be there at every cry and grimace. Tummy time is important.
6. If you feed a baby raisins, you get grapes on the other end.
This just shocked me, much like many other baby poop mysteries. A baby’s digestive system is immature so things like nuts, raisins, etc. will come out mostly unchanged in diapers. What your baby eats will also affect the color of poop so don’t have an ER moment at your baby’s first carrot-induced, neon-orange diaper.
Parenting tip: Google is your friend. While I would never suggest that you should use the internet for medical advice I will recommend it for parenting advice. For every, “OMG is that normal?” you will find 20 pages of forum results from parents asking the same thing.
Six was simply an arbitrary number. A nice word count fit for the amount of time your new baby is going to let you sit here reading parenting tips about his/her first year of life. Luckily, you have the most adorable parenting teacher in the universe right there interrupting your internet time.
You may also find interesting next baby break:
Are Diapers Safe? The Real Unbiased Facts
Can You Consume Caffeine While Breast Feeding?
Dangerous Foods for Baby in the First Year