Your Baby's First Year of Life

Taking Care of Yourself

Welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood -- and welcome back, if you've been down this road before. But you may be wondering: Where's the instruction book? Don't panic. Many new parents wonder what to do when their little bundle is first placed into their arms. You will soon find that your instinct is the best tool you have to care for your baby. However, you also have many resources on which to rely in raising your child. Never hesitate to call your health care provider, regardless of how trivial you think your concern may be. If you have difficulties with breastfeeding at any point, but especially in the next six weeks, and truly want to breastfeed, get help right away. Many hospitals have lactation consultants available to assist you, and there are also lactation consultants in private practice available for home or office visits. Over the next year this week-by-week guide will direct you to targeted articles, expert question-and-answer columns, message boards and other information appropriate to the age of your baby -- all accessible with just a click of the mouse.

Fun Activity

It is never too early to start reading to your baby. Perhaps you already initiated this habit when your baby was istill inside. It's reassuring for her to hear your voice often, and wonderfully soothing for both of you to snuggle during story time. Although there is no set time of the day best for reading to a baby, there are some conditions that will make it easier to hold her attention. Choose a place that is comfortable for you to sit. A location that is reasonably quiet and away from noise and physical distractions like the TV and radio. But most important, find the place that feels right for both you and your baby. You might select very basic books at first, with simple faces in a black-and-white motif, which are very easy for your baby to see. Or you might find that your baby prefers just to listen to the sound of your voice rather than look at pictures. While setting aside some quiet cuddle time, you're also beginning to establish a pattern of reading to your baby.

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