Parenthood Not What You Expected?
Month 10, Week 3
Everybody oohs and aahs with wonder about the joys of being a new mom or dad and having a cuddly baby.
But parenting isn’t always what we expected. It’s exhausting, frustrating, confusing, guilt-inducing, and messy.
If you’re getting frustrated:
- Be realistic. Your life isn’t a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Don’t expect perfection of yourself, your spouse, or your child.
- Take time for yourself. Even Super Mom and Super Dad need a few minutes off now and then. Schedule at least an hour of “you time” into every week; more if you can.
- Talk to another mom or dad about your stress. You’ll probably find you’re not alone!
- Try stretching, yoga, and exercise (even a daily walk) to help reduce tension.
- If you find yourself getting angry and having thoughts of hurting your child or yourself, seek professional help immediately.
Your Baby's Development This Week
Your baby is learning what things are and what they are for. He still puts everything in his mouth, of course -- but he’s also starting to recognize that objects have names and purposes and that they can be found if hidden from him.
Look for signs of his growing awareness:
- Show him picture books and see if he looks at the right picture when you say “cat,” “dog,” or “cow.”
- Do the same at home. Does he look at or point to Daddy or big sister when you say their name? Does he respond to his name? Does he have gestures for ‘no,’ and does he enjoy waving?
- See what he does with common household tools. Does he pretend to brush his hair with your hairbrush or hold the phone up to his ear?
- Clap enthusiastically every time he shows you his new skills!
If you suspect your child is behind on any important milestones, what should you do?
- Consult your pediatrician. Often, he or she will reassure you that everything is on track.
- Act quickly. If there isa problem, early intervention often can make a big difference.
- If your child seems behind, ask the school system for an evaluation (yes, even for a baby or toddler). They’re required to give it to you for free.
If a delay is identified, look for support groups in your area and online for parents of children with similar issues.
Month 10, Week 3 Tips
- Do your child’s feet look flat? Don’t worry. His arch is just hidden under that squishy-cute baby fat. It’ll show up in a couple of years.
- By now, your baby may try to help you get him dressed by pushing his arms into sleeves. Give him a chance to try his new skills before finishing the job.
- If your baby can’t stand when supported, doesn’t look for hidden objects, and is not pointing or using gestures, ask your pediatrician about an evaluation.
- Turn the TV off when your baby's in the room. Experts recommend against screen time for infants. Interactive play -- with you -- is better.
- No need to splurge on expensive toys. They're not proven to make babies smarter. Paper towel rolls, empty boxes, and egg cartons may be just as interesting to your baby.
- One-piece blanket sleepers are still safer for your baby than a regular blanket.
- Sign up for the Consumer Product Safety Commission's subscription list for baby-related product recalls. Go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.