1 to 3 Months
A new baby in the house means you have a whole new set of priorities. However, it’s still important to take time for yourself to relax, to reflect, and to recharge your batteries.
A Word About Postpartum Depression
It’s very common for new parents to feel anxious, overwhelmed or to have mood swings in the early weeks after a baby is born. However, if these feelings last longer than 2 weeks, they may be signs of postpartum depression. If you’re experiencing any of the feelings listed below, consult your healthcare provider:
“I feel like crying for no apparent reason.”
“I feel helpless and inadequate.”
“I find it hard to concentrate and make even simple decisions.”
“I have trouble sleeping.”
“I have no appetite.”
“I’m overeating even when I’m not hungry.”
“I feel anxious and guilty.”
“I feel scared and panicky.”
“I’m not interested in sex or intimacy.”
“I’m afraid I might hurt my baby or myself.”
Remember, you’re not alone. There is help. Talk to your partner, friend, family or healthcare provider.
Source: Life with a new baby is not always what you expect (available at BestStart.org)
Understanding Your Baby
Your baby may now:
- Turn toward anything that touches his cheek (rooting reflex)
- Move his arms and legs
- Cry when he needs something
- Calm down when he’s held and comforted
- See things 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) away
- Turn toward sounds
- Make eye contact
- Look at objects, especially bright colours
- Follow an object from side to side
- Watch your face while being fed
- Hold his head up at your shoulder
- Hold your fingers
- Recognize caregivers
Helping Your Baby Grow and Discover
- Show your baby a rattle or a small toy.
- Hold it about 30 cm (12 inches) away from your baby’s face.
- Move it slowly.
- Try the same game using a squeaky toy.
Discovering and learning
- Place large black and white patterns or coloured patterns near the change area, in the crib, or on the floor near your baby.
- Open a children’s book and place it near your baby.
Talking and singing
- Speak softly to your baby when you’re holding him.
- Sing songs and recite nursery rhymes.
Feeding Your Baby
Breast milk is the only food your baby needs for the first 6 months of life. It has nearly all the nutrition your baby needs for healthy growth and development. Babies who are breastfed should also be given a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. In addition to being an excellent source of nutrition, breast milk also contains antibodies that help protect your baby from infections.
Your baby won’t need solid foods (also known as “complementary foods”) until around the age of 6 months. Introducing solids too early may cause a number of issues:
- Your baby may breastfeed less often, which can cause you to make less breast milk.
- Your baby may stop breastfeeding too early.
- Your baby may not get the protection from illness that breast milk provides.
- Your baby’s diet may be low in protein, fat and other important nutrients.
Preventing Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Early Childhood Tooth Decay occurs when cavities develop in children younger than 6 years of age. It usually happens in the upper front teeth. To prevent this:
- Lift your baby’s top lip to check for cavities at least once a month.
- Use a soft baby toothbrush or wrap your finger in a clean, damp washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding.
- Gently remove the nipple if your baby falls asleep while feeding.
- As soon as your baby’s teeth appear, brush them at least twice a day with a small, soft toothbrush. Use only tap water, without toothpaste.
- Visit a dentist with your baby by age one.
Immunization protects your baby from childhood diseases that can be very dangerous and sometimes fatal. In Ontario, children can receive vaccines against most childhood diseases free of charge.
Your baby will get his first injections when he’s 2 months old. Refer to your child’s immunization record (yellow booklet) for the recommended vaccine schedule. Each time your child receives a vaccine, be sure to record it in your child’s immunization record. You must also remember to report each vaccine received to the Eastern Ontario Health Unit. You can submit your report online (as well as access your vaccine records) at www.EOHU.ca/myimmunization. You can also report vaccine updates to the EOHU via phone, email, fax, or mail. For details, visit www.EOHU.ca.