How To Baby Proof Your Home

Newborn Tips#1: Don't Hush-A-Bye-Baby
You don't have to be quiet while the baby is sleeping. The womb is loud, and newborns are used to the noise. When ours first came home, we watched television and I would vacuum, wash dishes and talk on the phone around her while she slept. She got used to sleeping with noise, and I could get stuff done. I am still able to vacuum in her room while she sleeps (she is 14 months), and she is peaceful and well rested when she wakes up.
Newborn Tips#2: Soothe Your Wailing Newborn
When my baby cries, I comfort her by patting her back in a heartbeat-like rhythm. That helps her burp more quickly, and it also helps her relax if she's crying from insecurity. If this doesn’t work, I also try one or all of Dr. Harvey Karp's five calming moves: swaddling, shushing, holding her on her side, swinging her or letting her suck. Sometimes it takes all six!

Additional Information:

Whether you are a first time parent or just someone who has lots of close friends with babies, you are probably aware of how important it is to keep your home safe for a curious child. There are several things that may be obvious to you, like sharp corners on a coffee table or exposed electrical sockets, but there are also a few hidden dangers that you may not consider on a regular basis. Here are some great tips and tricks to help make your home a safe place for a baby to be. However, keep in mind that nothing is foolproof, so making sure you keep your eye on Junior should always be at the top of your list.

The best way to start baby-proofing is to crawl through your home, taking note of things that are baby-level and could be dangerous. The most obvious threats are electrical sockets and corners of coffee tables, but you might find that you keep a favorite book on the bottom rack of your coffee table and do not want it ruined by baby drool! While this is not exactly a threat to the baby, you should keep in mind the things that are precious to you as well.

You may not think about those little magnets on your fridge being hazardous, especially when they are usually high up. However, you might want to consider how many times your magnets may have fallen off because of the way you closed the door. These magnets may pose a choking hazard to a little one crawling around, so it is best to remove them and find another place to post your important information.

Newborn Tips#3: Help Get Your Baby to Latch
If you are having latch-on issues while breastfeeding your baby, you can use breast shields to help the process. This was a wonderful tip that I learned from my lactation consultant. I had to use the shields for an entire month before my baby would latch onto my own nipple without them. Had it not been for the breast shields, I would not have been able to continue nursing my baby.
Newborn Tips#4: Get Prepped
At 3 weeks, babies’ days and nights become more predictable, and you can focus on yourself in addition to your newborn. One way to do that is by reducing your stress level - and having everything ready for your hungry baby and yourself is one way to do that. Start by prepping for the next feeding as soon as the previous one is over. For example, after an 11 p.m. feeding, get ready for the 2 a.m. one by prepping whatever you need for feeding and putting out fresh drinking water for yourself so you don’t have anything to think about in the middle of the night. During the day, take advantage of the baby’s naps to work out, shower or catch up on e-mail, or take a nap too.

This may sound funny, but babies who can crawl and pull themselves to a standing position using a stable object may be able to get their curious little hands into a toilet bowl. We all know we do not clean our toilets in between every use, so this can be a very disgusting risk to a baby's health. Invest in some toilet lid locks to keep little hands away. Also, be sure to teach other adults how to use them, because there is nothing more frustrating than having to go to the bathroom and being unable to open the toilet lid!

There are a few ways to keep babies out of rooms where they do not belong. You can use those annoying doorknob covers – the ones that you have to pinch at exactly the right place before attempting to turn the knob. You can also look into a hook-and-eye latch system for your doors, and these should be put high up on the door so that only adults can reach them.

Make sure to keep dangerous cleaning supplies in higher cabinets. Also, think about any other dangerous items that may be in the lower cabinets and move them out of reach as well. Get some cabinet locks for your lower cabinets, but consider leaving one unlocked and having baby-safe pots, pans, plastic bowls or other safe containers there.

While it is important to make your home safe for the little ones, you should also be keeping in mind how to keep your home safe from yourself. Accidents in the home are the leading cause of claims on homeowners insurance, so make sure you have a safe home.

Newborn Tips#5: Keeping Your Baby Awake During Feedings
When our baby was eating slowly and sleepily, my husband and I would massage her cheek to stimulate her to eat faster. A gentle stroke with a fingertip on her cheek was all it took, and on those long sleepless nights, this simple trick was a godsend! Our friends have found it works great with their infants too. When babies eat efficiently until they're full before going to sleep, they sleep for longer between feedings. And that means you’re both likely to be calmer!
Newborn Tips#6: Help Your Baby Bond with Dad
Make sure your baby has ample time alone with Daddy. His touch and voice are different than yours, and this will begin a bonding process and give you a break. Plus, it gets the baby used to being with someone other than you. The first few times can be hard. Make sure your baby is fed and well rested, as this will give you at least one or two hours before you're needed again. Then leave Dad and the baby alone. If you stay nearby, make sure the baby can’t see or hear you, and resist the urge to go into the room and "fix" things if she starts crying. Your baby cries with you and you experiment to find out what's wrong. Dads need time to do this too - in their own way. By allowing this time, your child will learn there is more than one way to receive comfort, which will help immensely when you leave your baby with a sitter or another family member for the first time. You could have your partner bathe her, put her to bed or just read or talk to her.
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