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    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 home isn’t a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. Don’t expect perfection of yourself, your spouse, your child or your home.
    • 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/or any form of exercise (even a daily walk) to help reduce tension and have some alone time for yourself.
    • 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! Encouragement goes a long way!

    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. Children all develop at their own pace and some learn certain milestones sooner than others.
    • Act quickly. If there is a concerning medical problem, early intervention often can make a big difference.
    • If your child seems behind, ask your pediatrician what resources are available where you live to have your child evaluated.

    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 much 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/Newsroom/Subscribe.

    WebMD Medical Reference

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