As a parent, your predominant role is to take good care of your baby. There are many different elements to baby care for you to consider and this is sometimes overwhelming. It is often difficult to decide what is the best ways of caring for your baby to make sure they are happy, comfortable and healthy. There are no set rules on how you should parent your child, and each parent will tackle the journey differently, making mistakes they learn from along the way. However, the following tips can help with the huge task of caring for your baby.
Feeding Your Baby
One of your main tasks is feeding your baby. The two options available to parents are bottle feeding or breastfeeding. Although there are pros and cons to each, health professionals recommend the latter. The benefits of this include the following:
All the nutrients needed for good health. Appropriate weight gains in babies. Protection against some allergies and illnesses. Postnatal weight loss for mothers. A reduced incidence of some cancers in breastfeeding mothers. Less expensive than bottle feeding. Once your baby begins a diet of solid food, it is your responsibility to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they require in their diet. A health professional can give you guidance on how to meet these needs. A simple way to make sure your baby has all the nutrients they need included in their diet is to vary what they eat as much as possible. Turn trying new flavors into something fun for your baby and get them used to the taste and textures of as many different foods as possible. Try to include a range of fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and fish.
Playing with Your Baby
The play is important for your baby for many different reasons. Firstly, it is an essential aspect of your baby's development. Cognitive, physical, emotional and social development all benefit from play. Therefore, providing your child with a range of age -appropriate stimuli is essential. Secondly, spending time playing with your child will help you to bond with them and strengthen your relationship with them. Play time together helps your baby to feel loved and secure as you are the most important person in their life. Finally, play is a form of entertainment for your baby and will prevent boredom. There are occasions when will not have time to play with your baby as you have household chores to complete or other responsibilities. Choosing toys that stimulate the senses will keep your child entertained at these times. Another option is a baby swing that you can move to the same room as you as your baby can have lots of fun while watching you complete your tasks.
Sleep is important to a baby as it is while they are sleeping that many aspects of their growth and development take place. Your baby sleeping is also important to you as you need time to recuperate and get enough sleep so you can function well in the day. However, getting a baby into a good sleep routine is an aspect of child care that many parents find difficult. Research shows that creating a daily routine is important in helping your child to sleep. If different activities take place at specific times, they begin to differentiate between the different times of the day. So, at bedtime each day, you need to follow the same routine. Some parents find it useful for their baby to have a warm bath at the end of the day as it helps their baby to relax. Follow this with the final feed of the day before settling your baby into their crib or cot for the night. Make sure the room is at the right temperature because if the room is too hot or too cold, it may prevent your baby from sleeping. lf your baby cries when you put them in the cot, try to resist the urge of going straight to them each time. This teaches your baby that if they cry, you will take them from the cot. Most babies will learn to self - health. Each of the nutrients our bodies require plays a different and important role in our bodies. Babies need these nutrients just as much as adults if not more as their bodies continue to develop. Yet, do parents need to provide their baby with extra vitamins or do they get a sufficient quantity of these in their diet?
During your pregnancy and when you are devising a birth plan if you choose to have one, your midwife may discuss with you the option of giving your baby Vitamin K. This is a vitamin that parents can choose to have administered to their newborn baby just after their birth via an intramuscular injection. Sometimes the vitamin is given orally. The reason why parents are given this option is that a vitamin K deficiency is linked to a range of illnesses, some of which are potentially serious. All babies have low vitamin K levels in comparison to adults, but some babies have increased the risk of developing Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn (HDN). This is also known as Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB).
The risk factors are not always apparent, so for this reason, all parents are given the option of their baby receiving a dose of Vitamin K. There is no pressure or obligation to accept the vitamin K for your baby. You are simply given the information that allows you to make an informed decision about what you feel is right for your baby.
Breast milk is a fascinating substance as it provides a baby with all the vitamins and minerals they need. Using the mother's body as a supply, all the nutrients are passed directly from the mother to their baby. According to current health guidelines, a baby needs no source of nutrition other than breast milk for the first six months of their life. This means that breastfeeding moms do not need to give their babies any additional vitamin supplements. The one exception to this is vitamin D.
Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is unusual compared to their vitamins as the main source of this is not the diet as very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Those that do include eggs, some red meats, and oily fish. Some foods are fortified with a synthetic form of vitamin D, and these include cereals and milk. Rather than getting this vital vitamin from our diets, our bodies absorb vitamin D from sunlight. A lack of vitamin D can cause a huge range of potential health problems. It is particularly associated with rickets; a form of bone disease found in children who have a vitamin D deficiency. As one solution to this problem, formula milk companies began adding vitamin D into their products. Unfortunately, this only benefited bottle fed babies, and many breastfed babies still suffered a vitamin D deficiency. In many countries, breastfeeding mothers are now offered vitamin D supplements as it passes through their breast milk and benefits babies. Another way to make sure your baby is getting enough vitamin D is to spend time outdoors with them. Going for a walk with them daily will give them fresh air and access to sunlight. If the weather is cold, make sure your baby is suitably clothed for the weather. Similarly, in the hotter months, make sure your baby is wearing a sun hat and suitable protection from harmful rays.
Babies require a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet, just like adults. When you begin to feed your baby solid foods, it is essential that you fulfill all their dietary requirements. A health visitor, doctor or midwife can provide you with all the necessary information about diet to guide you in making the right food choices for your baby. A key tip is to vary their diet as much as possible as this will help you to give them a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in their diet. Have fun trying different fruit and vegetables in your cooking and make sure you include lean meat and fish in their diet. Making homemade meals for your baby is one of the best ways to ensure your baby gets everything they need as you have complete control of what goes into the food. An added advantage of this is you will save money as prepared baby food is often expensive.
In most circumstances, there is no need for you to give your baby any additional vitamins as a combination of milk and a good, balanced diet should provide your baby with all the nutrients they need. The two possible exceptions to this are vitamin K and vitamin D. At birth; you will have the option of your baby receiving vitamin K. Vitamin D supplements are included in formula milk, and breastfeeding mothers are given the option of taking a vitamin D supplement to benefit their baby.