How to Have a Healthy Kid: A Guide for First-Time Parents

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There’s nothing quite as nerve-wracking as being a first-time parent. Your next few months dedicated to getting no sleep and being ruled by a squishy, bald dictator who only speaks in cries. But that’s not even the worst part!

You’re also responsible for this tiny life that you helped create. And if something happened to that little life, your whole world would crash down around you.

Parenting is weird. It’s full of highs and lows and emotions you can’t quite place your finger on. But with a little advice and some luck, you can make it through.

So, first-time parents, rejoice! We’re here to tell you how to take care of a baby so you can deal with all the other emotions of being a parent to that tiny bundle of dictator joy.

The Pre-Game

Having a healthy kid starts before your kid is even born. There are some naysayers out there who claim that taking care of the mother’s body while they’re pregnant, or before they try to get pregnant, isn’t a big deal.

But we’re here to tell you that that’s not true. Let’s get rid of this myth right here. Mothers have to take care of their bodies while they’re pregnant in order to ensure that the baby inside is born healthy.

Prenatal vitamins are important. So is making sure that the baby isn’t exposed to any alcohol or cigarette smoke. The mother shouldn’t eat too much lunch meat or fish with excessive levels of mercury.

It might seem like a big sacrifice, but in a few months when you have a happy, healthy baby, it’ll all be worth it.

Baby Care Basics

So, you followed all of the guidelines for prenatal care and your baby is here. What are you supposed to do next?

The first thing you need to do is relax. You’re a first-time parent. Taking care of a newborn baby is stressful, but it’s also intuitive for many people.

You’ve got this.

By now, (we hope) you know the basics. You need to keep your baby clean, fed, and dry. But that can be a lot easier said than done sometimes, right?

Some surprising things you should keep on hand are:

  • Cotton balls (for clearing up diaper rash)
  • Baby oil (for cradle cap)
  • A bulb syringe (for clearing up stuffy noses)
  • Lotion
  • Nail clippers

You’d be surprised by how sharp those baby nails are!

There’s No Crying in Baseball

So, you’re doing all of the right things but your baby is still crying.

How do you make it stop?

The first thing you need to understand is that crying doesn’t mean that you’re doing anything wrong. It can feel like a warzone sometimes when it’s 3 AM and your baby is still hollering at the top of his or her lungs.

But it’s going to be okay.

If at any point you feel like you’re in over your head, there’s no shame in putting your baby down in a safe place and taking a step back to gather yourself.

If your baby is fed, warm, and dry and they’re still crying until they’re red in the face, there are a few calming methods you can try!

Swaddle

One of the best ways you can try to soothe your baby is by swaddling them. When you wrap your baby securely in a blanket, pressing their arms close to their bodies and holding them close, you help them find a feeling of being back in the womb

Swaddling can seem a little like origami to first-time parents, but there are some products out there with velcro to make it much easier.

Pacifiers

One method that infants use to soothe themselves is sucking. You cant feed your baby all the time, but you can help them get non-food sucking by helping them find their fingers, fist, or providing them with a pacifier.

White Noise

When a baby is still in the womb, there is constant noise that they can hear. The rushing of blood, the beating of their mother’s heart, the sound of people out in the real world. Then, when they’re born, noises are much different.

You can help recreate that feeling of being in the womb by playing white noise. Hair dryers, fans, a vacuum cleaner, or simply making a “shhh” sound can do the trick to soothe a fussy baby.

Emergency Situations

First-time parents get a bad rap for being over-protective or jumpy when it comes to their newborn’s health. But it’s for good reason. When babies get sick, they can go from healthy to very ill in a short period of time.

If you’ve ever taken your baby’s temperature and found yourself wondering “where’s an urgent care near me?” you’re not alone.

Even if your baby doesn’t seem sick, if they’ve got a temperature of 101 or higher, it’s time to take them in.

You should never be afraid to take your baby to see their pediatrician. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Rock It As First-Time Parents

Having a newborn is scary, it doesn’t matter if you’re a parent of six or this is your first rodeo. They can’t tell us what’s wrong and their only method of communication is making a noise that’s hard-wired by nature to make a parent’s body go into high alert mode.

But first-time parents don’t have to worry too much. In a few months, your baby will be out of the newborn phase and onto better things, like putting everything under the sun in their mouths and pulling on your hair.

We promise babies are great!

If you liked this article, check out this one about helping your child play independently next!

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