You’re about to have your first child, and you have a lot of questions. Don’t worry, that’s normal! Taking care of a little human is a big responsibility, and you want to be prepared. Just remember—no one is perfect, and no one has all the answers. When you’re navigating the murky waters of first-time parenthood, the best you can do is prepare as much as you can, and then be flexible when new issues arise.
But to help settle your anxious mind, we’re going to dive into some of the most commonly asked questions from new parents. Hopefully these will put your worried mind at ease!
When should I stop breastfeeding?
It’s entirely up to you when to stop breastfeeding, but most doctors recommend nursing exclusively for 6 months and up to 12-24 months combined with other foods. Breast milk offers essential nutrients for your baby’s development, so it’s never a bad idea to breastfeed for as long as possible. However, no two mothers are the same, and it’s perfectly okay to stop breastfeeding before that 6-month mark.
Why should I swaddle my baby?
Swaddling helps comfort fussy babies because the snug blanket wrapped around them is reminiscent of the time they spent in your womb. Babies can be swaddled up to four months old, but you should keep a close eye on your child to make sure she can’t roll onto her stomach. If she can flip onto her belly on her own, there’s a possibility she might suffocate since her arms and legs will be restrained inside the swaddle.
How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?
This is different for every baby, and the only commonality between newborn sleep schedules is that they’re unpredictable. Try getting into a bedtime routine as early as possible—this could include anything from a warm bath to singing a lullaby. If your baby can’t settle into his or her own natural rhythm, many parents use the Ferber method. This includes waiting for longer and longer periods of time to comfort your crying child so they eventually figure out how to self-soothe.
When will my baby develop a personality?
While a baby personality might not occur immediately, you’ll notice their temperament start to develop after just a few weeks. Their level of activity, adaptability to new situations, sensitivity to stimuli, and distractibility are all part of their temperament that you will soon get to know extremely well. Larger personality traits will come over time as they begin to learn more about their environment and become aware of themselves as a person.
What is SIDS?
SIDS is a parent’s worst nightmare. It stands for “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” and is a relatively mysterious phenomenon. SIDS typically occurs while the baby is sleeping, and has been linked to brain defects, low birth weight, and respiratory infections. While there is no surefire way of preventing SIDS, there are plenty of recommendations for reducing the risk, such as not having your newborn sleep on her side.
When can I first bathe my baby?
There’s probably nothing cuter than bathing your newborn baby—just wait until his or her umbilical stump has fallen off. Start by placing your baby in an infant tub with warm water and always keep his or her head propped up. As the baby gets older, you can transition to a full-sized bath tub.
When will my baby start to walk?
Your baby’s first step is a huge milestone, and it typically occurs between 9 and 12 months. It may just be a few wobbly steps at first, but with a little help from mom and dad, your baby will be running around the house in no time.
When will my baby grow teeth?
Most babies begin to teethe between 4 to 7 months old. This can be a painful experience for your little one, so make sure to have teething toys and a soothing salve on hand to help them through the process.
Whether you’re six weeks pregnant or six months, there’s nothing more exciting and terrifying than preparing for the newest addition to your family. You’re going to totally crush being a parent.