Reading to your baby
No matter how old your baby is, read to her often to help her develop. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading to your baby beginning at 6 months of age. But you can start sooner if you want. It's never too early to share a colorful picture book with your baby. Reading is one of the most important things you can do with your child.
Books are great first toys for babies. Look for books that:
- Have pictures in bright contrasting colors
- Are made of cardboard or cloth for durability
- Have pictures of other babies' faces
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I soothe my baby if she has colic?
About 1 in 5 babies develops colic - usually between 1 and 4 months of age. They cry constantly, often extending or pulling up their legs or passing gas. Sometimes their tummies are enlarged with air and gas from crying. There's no one cause of colic, but there are many different ways to ease your baby's discomfort. One way is to walk her in a soft-sided baby carrier that you strap to the front of your body. You can also try laying her tummy-down across your knees and gently rubbing her back. The pressure against her tummy may relieve her discomfort. Breastfeeding moms can ask their baby's health care providers about a change in food choices or eliminating specific foods that may cause your baby's colic. Keep in mind that colic usually disappears by 4 months of age, no matter what treatments you try.
How should I take my baby’s temperature?
If your child is younger than 3 years, taking a rectal temperature gives the best reading. Here's how:
- Clean the end of a digital thermometer with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Rinse it with cool water.
- Put a small amount of petroleum jelly on the end.
- Place your child belly down across your lap or on a firm surface. Put your palm against his lower back, just above his bottom. Or place your child face up and bend his legs to his chest. Rest your free hand against the back of the thighs.
- With the other hand, turn the thermometer on and insert it 1/2 inch to 1 inch into the anal opening. Don’t insert it too far. Hold the thermometer in place loosely with two fingers, keeping your hand cupped around your child's bottom, until you hear the beep. Remove it and check reading.
What do I do if my baby is constipated?
Your baby's bowel moments depend on her age and eating habits. Every baby is different. Some babies have a bowel movement right after each feeding. Others have it only once a day. It also is normal that a breastfed baby (3 to 6 weeks of age) passes stools only once a week. Formula fed babies should pass stools at least once a day. If your baby is having irregular bowel movements but her stools are soft (no firmer than peanut butter), this isn't a sign of constipation. But if your baby's stools are firm, she seems fussy or cries when having a bowel movement, she might be constipated. Talk to your baby's health care provider.