“Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.”— Ray Romano
Are You Baby Proofed?
Even if you are a very chill parent, the recommendation is that you should still absolutely baby proof. At the risk of sounding like fear mongers, it’s worth noting that a 2017 report cited unintentional injuries as a leading cause of death in the U.S. for children ages 1-4. Oftentimes, the measures that should be taken to keep children safe from household injury are things many parents overlook.
Securing heavy furniture, placing window guards on high floors, ensuring the cords on blinds and window treatments are child proof and having child safe electrical outlets are some of the most important child safety features to have in your home. You can refer to a comprehensive guide to baby proofing by room, or hire a local babyproofing company to evaluate and babyproof your home. The safety concerns of infants will change as they start to get older, so you will want to check out how best to childproof your home as they grow.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula at around 6 months old. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula?
You can look for these signs:
- Your child can sit with little or no support
- Your child has good head control
- Your child opens his or her mouth or leans forward when food is offered
- Your child shows interest in food by reaching for it
If you are still breastfeeding, you can absolutely continue to nurse as your baby begins to explore foods. La Leche League advises nursing your baby before and after offering other foods and to approach solid foods as experimentation, play and fun.
There are eight foods on the most common allergenic list: Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Generally, you do not need to delay introducing these foods to your child, but if you have a family history of food allergies, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse about what to do for your baby.
You can begin to introduce allergy foods as you begin introducing solids, but it’s not recommended to introduce foods before your baby is 4 months of age. (Also, it’s recommended to introduce allergy foods before baby turns 1 to decrease their chances of developing an allergy.) Here are some tips for introducing high-allergy foods:
- Start with one allergy food at a time. That way, if your baby does have an allergic reaction, it will be easier to identify which food is causing the reaction.
- Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.
- Mix a small amount of the food in with your baby’s usual food. For example, a quarter teaspoon of well cooked egg in with some vegetable puree.
- If your baby doesn’t have a reaction, you can increase the amount you include with their usual food.
- Continue to include that type of food in your baby’s regular diet so they maintain their tolerance to the food.
Breastfeeding Beyond 6 Months
Remember when everyone told you how amazing breastfeeding was? They were talking about this stage. Now that you’re not nursing every 1-2 hours around the clock, breastfeeding is probably a little more enjoyable.
If you are breastfeeding beyond six months, congrats! You’ve accomplished a huge milestone. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months with continued breastfeeding while introducing appropriate complementary foods for 1 year or longer.
But for many babies, and mamas, breastfeeding becomes about more than nourishment as time goes on. Little ones get comfort and closeness from nursing and it can help them cope with their new emotions and experiences. At the same time, you may notice your baby is getting more easily distracted. They may suddenly pull off your breast to turn to a noise or want to be more engaged in the world than your boob. Even if you used to be able to nurse your baby anywhere and everywhere, you now may find you have to limit distractions more and find a quiet setting for feedings. The other nursing struggle at this age? Biting. While it’s physically impossible for baby to nurse and bite at the same time, many babies do start to bite down before or after nursing when they are teething. For tips on how to work through the biting stage, check out this article on Kelly Mom.
And, as always, our WellNested IBCLCs are here to support you on your breastfeeding journey.
BEFORE YOU BRING BABY HOME
These basic home safety steps, which should be taken before baby arrives, can help keep your family and infant safe:
- Install a UL Listed carbon monoxide detector on every story of your house if you use gas or oil appliances or have an attached garage. Check the batteries of any detectors you already have.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in the hallways outside of bedrooms.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it.
- Stock your medicine cabinet or first-aid kit.
- Add [emergency contacts and medical information to your phone that can be accessed even in lock mode.
- Have at least one phone in your home that’s connected by land line and place a list of emergency numbers near the landline.
- Make sure your home or apartment number is easy to see so fire or rescue can locate you quickly in an emergency.
- Install a temperature guard on your water heater at a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius).
- Get any flaking or peeling paint sealed or removed by a professional, especially if your home was built before 1978. Dust from lead paint, which was banned from residential use in that year, can be harmful if ingested
- Put non-slip pads under all rugs.
- Check that none of the crib slats are more than two and 3/8 inches apart, and that all the bolts and screws are tight. Make sure there are no gaps between the mattress and crib
INFOGRAPHIC: BABY PROOFING BASICS
Before you bring home baby
BEFORE BABY IS CRAWLING
These are the baby proofing steps you’ll want to take before your little one starts moving:
- Cover all sharp furniture edges and corners with bumpers or safety padding.
- Block all open outlets with furniture or put safety covers over electrical outlets
- Latch closed any drawers, doors or cupboards within baby’s reach.
- Get rid of any blinds or curtains with looped cords, or install safety tassels and cord stops to tuck away the cords.
- Always unplug and store electric appliances that aren’t in use (iron, curling iron, etc.)
- Check the house and yard for poisonous plants and move them out of baby’s reach
- Always store your and visitors’ purses out of baby’s reach.
- If you plan to hook a highchair to your kitchen table, check that the table is sturdy and strong.
- Move all dangerous items (cleaners, knives, heavy objects, medications, etc.) to cupboards and drawers out of baby’s reach.
- Secure heavy furniture such as bookcases and cabinets to walls to prevent accidental tipping.
- Put TVs and other heavy items on sturdy furniture and move as close to the wall or corner as possible, or upgrade to a flat screen and hang it on the wall away from baby hands.
- Move all tall, wobbly lamps behind furniture.
- Put baby gates or fences at the top and bottom of every set of stairs, no matter how short the flight.
- Block access to all floor heaters and radiators.
- Install window guards and stops, and put safety bars or gates on all windows, landings and decks.
- Place food and water for pets out of baby’s reach.
- Install fireplace screens around all hearths (but remember—screens get hot too).
- Place logs, matches, tools and keys out of baby’s reach.
- Never leave any amount of water in an open container or bucket.
- If there are guns in the house, keep them unloaded and locked in a gun safe, and make sure all firearms are equipped with trigger locks.
INFOGRAPHIC: BABY PROOFING CHECKLIST
Before baby is crawling