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Health & Baby

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Dad’s Role in Baby’s Life

Month 3, Week 4

Dads are more and more involved in their babies’ and children’s lives. That's great for the whole family.

Dads, try this:

  • Read to your baby every night.
  • Take charge of bath time (and the accompanying splash-and-play time).
  • Change and feed the baby. Not just to help out, but to be hands on as much as possible.
  • Resist the temptation to hand baby off when she’s screaming. You'll soon find your own ways to soothe her.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your little one is developing her senses, her ability to think and remember, and to understand language and communicate.

Your baby is getting acquainted with her world by:

  • Noticing whether you respond to her cries and smiles in a predictable, consistent way. She’s learning that the world is a safe place by being able to trust you.
  • Studying her most fascinating first toy -- her hands -- and learning more about what they can do.
  • Showing selective preferences. She may grin at you, cautiously smile at Grandma or a babysitter she knows, and may pull away or cry if someone she doesn’t know tries to pick her up.
  • Building her self-esteem when you pay attention to her and have “conversations.”

You might wonder about:

  • Drooling. Many parents assume their baby must be getting a new tooth soon. But it’s a little early for that. Teething usually starts between 4-7 months. Some babies just drool a lot starting at 4 months.
  • Baby talk. It’s easy to fall into a pattern of oohing and gooing at your baby. But mix the baby words with plenty of adult language, and gradually phase out the baby talk.
  • Is it too soon to start reading to her? No -- go for it! Make it a habit, even though your baby may not understand the words yet and want to gnaw the book.

Month 3, Week 4 Tips

  • Keep your diaper bag stocked with a change of clothes, fresh diapers, and wipes so supplies are always handy.
  • If you fly with your baby, offer her a pacifier, breast, or bottle during takeoff and landing to prevent pain caused by pressure changes in her ears.
  • Dads can get postpartum depression, too. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician, or to your own doctor or therapist, sooner rather than later.
  • Your baby has a stronger grip and longer reach than you think. To prevent burns and cuts, never carry your baby while holding a hot drink or sharp object.
  • Going outside? Keep your baby in the shade, if possible. Their skin is thinner and more sensitive. Cover them up with clothes and a hat, limit their time in the sun (especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun is strongest), don’t let them get overheated, and get them out of the sun right away if they show any signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, and excessive crying.
  • Make time to stay connected with your partner, even if it's only for a few minutes while the baby is asleep.

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