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Health & Baby

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Handling Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Month 9, Week 1

New parents often get parenting advice -- wanted or not -- from grandparents, friends, and even strangers.

Those advice-givers no doubt mean well. But if you're second-guessing yourself already, it can be hard to handle.

What to do:

  • Remember, no one knows your baby as well as you. Trust your instincts.
  • Reply to pushy advice-givers with a polite, "Thanks, we'll consider that" or "We always consult with our pediatrician."
  • If they won't let up, try, "We've got it covered," and then change the topic.
  • Take note that times change. Research has taught us that back to sleep is best and old drop-rail cribs are unsafe. Someone who was parenting two or three decades ago might not know that.
  • Keep an open mind. Sometimes a little insight can be helpful. If you're curious, check with your pediatrician, especially on safety and health advice.

Your Baby's Development This Week

This is the age when your baby starts to become a little problem-solver. He'll keep trying difficult tasks until he can master them. And he's developing the motor skills to do it!

You might be noticing that your little one will:

  • Practice putting objects into containers -- such as balls into cups
  • Remember how he made something work the last time and try the same solution again
  • Point to objects that he sees -- either to show them to you or to tell you what he wants
  • Get angry or frustrated if you pull a toy away from him

You might wonder about:

  • Your baby's shrinking fontanel (the soft spot on his head). The fontanel is probably much smaller by now -- about the size of a fingertip.
  • Growth charts. Don't worry if your baby isn't right in the middle. There's no perfect growth pattern. The doctor may look for sudden changes or a baby who doesn't get taller at the same rate he gains weight.

Month 9, Week 1 Tips

  • If your baby has reached 20 pounds, exchange the old "bucket" infant seat for a larger convertible seat.
  • Keep your baby's car seat rear-facing for 2 years. The old advice about turning it around after 1 year is outdated.
  • Never put a rear-facing safety seat in the front seat of a car that has a passenger-side air bag.
  • Make sure your car seat straps aren't twisted and that the chest clip is actually at your baby's chest, not his belly button.
  • Review the safety of your home. Make sure the crib mattress has been dropped, the outlets are plugged, blind cords are not dangling, and stairways are gated. Your hot water thermostat should be set no higher than 120 degrees.
  • If you live in an old home, have it checked for lead. Lead poisoning is a serious risk to child development.
  • If you're switching from breast milk to formula, let someone other than Mom give baby his first formula bottle; he may expect to nurse when he smells you.

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