Many new parents spend their first week home from the hospital looking at their baby and thinking, "Now what?!" They feel a massive amount of love for their baby, but they've gotten so much information that they're more confused than anything else. They hope that they'll do a good job and they're more than a little bit worried.
New moms know that those feelings don't necessarily disappear, although they do get more used to being a parent. After the first few months are over and it's been a blur of naps, diapers, and breastfeeding, new moms can come up for air and think about what they've learned during this time.
The first six months with a baby are a crucial time that people often talk about, and there are many things that moms need to be aware of. They might learn these things from doctors, their own mom, or mom friends, but these are all super important to take note of. Moms want their baby to get the best start in life, and these tips will help.
Here are 15 things all new moms need to know about the first six months with baby... and 5 things that don't matter.
20 Call The Doctor: If Your Baby Has A Cold And Is Younger Than 3 Months
New moms want to know one major thing: when should they call the doctor. They honestly want to call if any little thing happens... but they might wonder if that's too much.
According to the Mayo Clinic, new moms can call the doctor if their baby has a cold and under three months. The website says, "Your baby's immune system will need time to mature. If your baby has a cold with no complications, it should resolve within 10 to 14 days. If your baby is younger than 2 to 3 months of age, call the doctor early in the illness. For newborns, a common cold can quickly develop into croup, pneumonia or another serious illness." If your baby is more than three months, the doctor can see your baby if they have a cough that won't go away, pain in one ear, or red eyes.
19 You Should Limit The Amount Of Time Your Baby Spends In Car Seats And Strollers
You've heard about baby container syndrome... but what do you really need to know about it?
Thankfully, Moveforwardpt.com defines it easily: "A 'container baby' is a newborn baby or young infant who is placed in a container, such as a car seat or stroller, for an excessive amount of time in a given day. 'Container baby syndrome' is the name used to describe a range of conditions caused by a baby or infant spending too much time in such containers. These conditions can cause movement, cognitive, and social interaction problems."
Your baby's head could become flat if they're in a stroller, jumper, car seat, or bouncy swing for too many hours. As long as you limit the amount of time that your baby is in these things, you will be totally fine.
18 Your Baby Might Be Able To Eat Some Solid Food Between 4-6 Months
Something else that you might be wondering about the first six months with your baby is whether they can eat solid food. It turns out that your baby might be able to eat up to 3 tablespoons between four and six months.
As Wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com says, "If baby can sit up on their own and still seems hungry after breastfeeding, baby may be ready to start eating solids! Baby should be able to hold their head up, close their mouth around a spoon and 'move' the food to the back of their mouth."
Just think about how cute your baby will be eating a bit of food...
17 A Big No: Newborns Definitely Can't Be Given Water (And Moms Shouldn't Add Lots Of Water To Formula)
Did you know that your newborn can't be given water? It's not something that is talked about super often, but you definitely want to know about this. The main takeaway is that you shouldn't add high amounts of water to formula, which, as Business Insider says, is something that parents do without meaning to.
According to Business Insider, this is what moms should know about newborns and water: "Their kidneys are about half the size of an adult's. So, they can't hold much water to begin with, and it takes just a few ounces to cause problems. On top of that, their kidneys aren't developed enough, yet, to properly filter water."
16 Your Baby Needs Regular Naps And To Be Put To Bed At 7:30 P.M.
Basic baby sleep advice is often along the lines of, "Sleep when the baby sleeps." But there's something else that moms should know about how much a baby should sleep during the first six months.
According to Parents.com, your baby needs regular naps and also to be put to bed at 7:30 at night. As the publication explains, "As baby sleeps longer through the night, bedtime shifts earlier, to between 7:30 and 8:30. At this stage, she is getting about three to four naps a day, and it's important to schedule them — either at a set hour (say, 9:30, 12:30, etc.), or two hours after baby wakes."
15 All About Colic: It Could Be Caused By What You're Eating Or If Your Baby Is Eating Fast
What causes colic? This is most likely on your mind during your baby's first six months. It might seem like a big mystery and like some babies get colic and others just don't.
But there are some things to know. As Am. Pregnancy explains, your baby could get colic if they're eating fast or if you're eating something in particular. The website says, "Breastfed babies may be bothered by foods in their mothers’ [eating patterns]. (Studies have shown colic and cows milk in mothers' [eating] to be related.) Bottle-fed babies may be intolerant of certain proteins in their formula. Overfeeding the infant or feeding too quickly."
14 You Need To Be Prepared For The Four-Month Sleep Regression
If you've heard about the four-month sleep regression, you might be a bit worried. The truth is that this isn't fun, but you can definitely get through it.
Today's parent explains why this happens: “But at the four-month mark, a baby’s brain begins cycling through light (REM) and deep (non-REM) sleep stages, like we do.” However, infant sleep cycles are much shorter than a child or adult’s (around 30 to 50 minutes, compared with 90), and babies spend approximately half of their sleep cycle in light sleep after they hit sleep regression, which is why they’re so easily awoken."
The advice is to "sleep train" and to set up a "routine" (a bath and reading a story is the example given).
13 It's Totally Fine To Get Out With Your Little One
When you're at home with your newborn, you're probably wondering one thing: When can you leave the house? Sure, it's great to get all cozy for the first few weeks, but then you definitely want to go for a walk (and maybe head to your local coffee shop, too).
Kids Health says that it's totally fine to go out with your little one. The website explains, "Some doctors prefer for parents to wait until their baby is a few months old before going to crowded public places (like malls, movie theaters, and airplanes). But there are no set rules about how long to wait before taking a newborn out into the world or when to let people near the baby."
12 Make Sure Your Baby Is Wearing Layers (And Stay Home If It's Freezing Or Super Warm Out)
The main thing that new moms want to know about is that if you take your baby out and they're under six months old, be careful that you're putting them in warm clothes. And if it's super warm or freezing, then you definitely want to stay home.
As Baby Center advises, "If it’s cool, be sure to cover her head, feet, and hands. Dress your baby in roughly the same number of layers as an adult would wear, though you may want to add a light blanket or jacket for good measure. And protect your baby from the sun with shade, sunscreen, and a light layer of clothes. Watch out for temperature extremes. Depending on the age of your baby and the climate in your area, 20 degrees would probably be too cold and 90 degrees may be too [warm] for your baby to be outdoors."
11 Vaccines: Babies Need Certain Ones By Six Weeks
New moms also wonder about vaccines. According to WebMd, your baby needs certain vaccines and your doctor will most likely tell you about these because your baby can get them at six weeks old.
The website explains more about this: "It's almost time for your baby's two-month doctor visit. Vaccines -- one of the most important ways to prevent your child from getting some very dangerous diseases -- are part of this visit." What are the vaccines that are mentioned? WebMD says hepatitis B (this might have been at the hospital), Pneumococcal vaccine, Polio, rotavirus, Hib vaccine, and Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis.
10 You Shouldn't Sleep On The Sofa While Holding Your Baby
Something else that you should know about during the first six months with your baby is this tip: you shouldn't sleep on the sofa while holding your baby.
This advice comes from Today's Parent who notes that it's common for moms to fall asleep in this position and that it happens because moms are so tired. The publication explains why this is a no: "But according to the [Am.] Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), this kind of co-sleeping — on a couch or armchair — is a serious baby sleep mistake." It's easy to see why, and it's a good idea to remember this.
9 Bath Time: You Shouldn't Use Scented Products
There are so many things that a new mom can buy for bath time. You picture bubble bath, fun toys (hopefully ones that don't squeak), and your laughing baby, sitting in the tub, having the best time ever.
What do you need to know about bath time with your six-month-old and under baby?
When you're giving your newborn a bath, remember not to buy any scented products. Parent24.com says, "If you decide to bath your baby be sure to use baby products that are free of any fragrances. That newborn skin isn’t used to being out in the world yet, and the last thing you want to do is irritate it."
8 Remember That Your Baby Could Swallow Objects
What else should you know about the first six months with your baby? One big tip is to make sure that there are no small objects nearby.
Healthyfamiliesbc.ca says, "Everything will go in your baby’s mouth — make sure objects are big enough that they cannot be swallowed."
This is super crucial to remember since there will be so many toys all around your house from what you've bought your baby (and gifts from family and friends, too). Just remember that toys and objects need to be big and you'll be good.
Healthyfamilies.bc.ca also notes that your six-month-old baby can "grasps small objects and studies them" and also "understands that objects may be hiding behind one another."
7 You Need Some White Noise So Your Baby Can Sleep Better
It's safe to say that when you're a new mom, you get the most advice about how to make sure that your infant sleeps... and to make sure that you sleep, too, since those two things tend to be kind of the same. There is so much advice on this one topic from old wives' tales to more modern pieces of information.
If you haven't heard about white noise yet, this is something to think about when your baby is six months old or under.
As A Step In The Journey writes, you definitely need white noise so your baby can sleep better. This is honestly one of the best tips that a new mom can get, right?
6 Beyond Six Months, Your Baby Might Need Their Own Room
In an ideal scenario, your baby would have their own room. You and your partner are super excited about decorating the nursery and a lot of care is put into it. Of course, it's not always feasible as you might live in a smaller apartment or home where there isn't space for a separate room.
What's the advice about where your baby should sleep? It turns out that after six months, your baby might need their own room because babies might hear their mom and dad and wake up.
As Today's Parent says, "If room-sharing is working for you, great — but don’t feel pressured into it. Researchers aren’t seeing huge benefits after a baby’s older than six months."
And here are 5 things that don't matter...
5 Breastfeeding 101: You Don't Have To The Whole Time
What's one thing that new moms don't have to worry about for the first six months? Breastfeeding the whole time. If this isn't possible, you really don't have to.
As a mom writing for Mommyish says, "I really wanted to breastfeed exclusively for six months and continue to the first birthday, I really did. But after four months I had to go back to work and my job is not breastfeeding friendly. I didn’t want to have to worry about leaking and trying to find an empty office to pump in. So I switched to formula, and it really broke my heart the first time my son took the bottle of formula with no complaint."
4 Your Baby Will Be Fine, No Matter When They Reach Their Milestones
When it comes to milestones, new moms are often trying to figure out if their baby is normal.
A mom writing for Mommyish also notes that you don't have to be concerned about when your baby meets milestones. When you're thinking about the first six months of your baby's life, remember this: whenever they reach their milestones, your baby will be totally fine.
There is so much talk about milestones and it can seem like moms are often bragging about how intelligent their babies are. Meanwhile, you're wondering if they're really telling the truth because it just seems too good to be true.
3 Baby Books: You Don't Have To Read Every One Out There
As a mom shared on The Huffington Post about advice that would have been helpful for the first six months, you hear a lot of stuff that isn't going to help. She wrote, "And with all the conflicting info you'll come across, there is really no right or wrong way -- there is only your way, the one that works best for your baby and family."
New moms should know that you don't have to read every baby book out there. While you want to get the necessary information, the truth is that you'll pick that up from just a few books or from some online resources. Plus, your friends and family are a great resource too, right?
2 Co-Sleeping: You Can Give In And Try It (And Everyone Will Actually Sleep)
When it comes to something else that you don't need to worry about as a new mom of a six-month-old baby, it's co-sleeping. Maybe you said that you wouldn't co-sleep... but now it's months later and your baby is having trouble sleeping (and you and your partner aren't getting rest, either).
As a mom shared on Mommyish, if you want to co-sleep, that's totally cool. Instead of wondering if this is going to be a big problem, just go ahead and do what feels right. If this is the only way for everyone to sleep, then this is what you have to do.
1 Number Two: You Shouldn't be Alarmed That Your Newborn Baby's Poop Is Super Weird
The truth is that your newborn's poop is going to look super weird... and there's really no getting around that. This is something else that you don't need to worry about.
According to Parent24.com, "For the first few days, your baby’s stools consist of meconium, a sticky greenish-black substance that lined your baby’s intestines during pregnancy. To clean it up, wipe your baby’s bottom with a ball of cotton wool dipped in water and coat your baby’s bottom in petroleum jelly so that it’s easier to remove the next time."
Sounds gross, sure... but your baby is so cute that it works out, right?
Sources: Mayoclinic.org, Moveforwardpt.com, Wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com, Businessinsider.com, Parents.com, Todaysparent.com, Kidshealth.org, Babycenter.com, Webmd.com, Healthyfamiliesbc.ca, Astepinthejourney.com, Mommyish.com, Parent24.com