If you’re like most new fathers, there are many things you didn’t know about taking care of your baby. You may have been surprised by how much work it is or what to do when they get sick, but the good news is that with this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to know about giving your child their best start in life. From preparing for feeding time and managing diaper changes to bath time and more, we’ve got all the basics covered so that you can give them the love and care they need. Read on for advice on how to take care of your little one’s needs at every stage,
How Do You Know if Your Baby Is Hungry?
By the time your baby is about four months old, they’ll start to show signs of hunger so that you can feed them. Here are some of the most common signals:
- They begin to suck on their hands or fist.
- They turn toward your chest or move their head in the direction of the baby bottle.
- Their eyelids start to droop, and they begin to lose focus.
- Their body tenses up, and they make fists with their hands.
- They open their mouth as if for a feeding.
- They cry because hunger is uncomfortable, but it’s a baby’s way of communicating their needs.
When Is the Baby Ready for Solids?
During the first few months of life, your baby will get all their nutrition from breast milk or formula. After nine months, it’s also a good idea to start introducing them to some single-grain cereals and other foods to prevent allergies. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should feed your babies only breast milk or formula for the first four to six months. You can then begin feeding them iron-fortified cereals starting at around five months. These foods will give them a good source of energy and promote brain development.
You can introduce vegetables, fruits, and meats between six and seven months of age. But you should wait until eight months to introduce peanut butter or eggs. Dairy products, typically introduced at nine to 12 months, can be given earlier if your doctor recommends them.
Remember that babies need multiple small meals every day rather than two or three large ones. If your little one doesn’t want to eat what you’re offering, don’t force them to eat more than they’re comfortable with. Instead of filling up on solids right away, it’s better to focus on teaching them to feed themselves too so that they can leave food on their plate if necessary.
How Often Do You Change Your Baby’s Diaper?
Changing your baby’s diaper is an important task that you must do multiple times a day. They can’t tell you when they’re dirty, so it’s up to you to keep them clean and dry. You usually need to change newborns more frequently, but you can start changing their diapers every two hours after they reach three months of age.
You don’t always have to use a fresh diaper when it’s time for a change, though. If your baby hasn’t urinated within two hours, they may need a little time before they go again. If there’s no bowel movement present, you can leave the diaper as is and do a regular change after the next time they go to the bathroom.
Starting at around six months of age, your child will be ready for potty training. They’ll let you know when they need to go, and all you have to do is take them to the potty.
How Often Should You Bathe Your Baby?
Babies are naturally very cuddly when they’re born, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a bath. If your baby is healthy, curly hair with lots of soft fuzz is all you have to worry about. But if their hair is dry or looks thin in some spots, you can use baby oil once a week to give them a baby massage.
If your baby has dry skin or any diaper rash, it’s best to wait until the problem clears up before bathing them. You can also delay their first bath if they were born via cesarean section since their skin is more sensitive at that time. When you do bathe your baby, use a baby-safe shampoo, a washcloth, and baby towels for sensitive skin.
When baby gets a little older, you can start bathing them twice a week since they produce more oil on their bodies as they get older. For children between six months and two years old, it’s important not to bathe them more than once a day so that you don’t strip away their natural oils.
Taking care of your baby might be the most daunting thing in your life right now, Dad. But you know you can do this, and you know you’re spending time with your baby. After all, that’s what matters most.