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    What Happened to My Life?

    Month 18

    Parenthood is the greatest joy you'll ever experience. It can also be one of the most exhausting and challenging times in your life.

    At the end of each weary day, you may wonder, "What happened to me?"

    Having a baby can affect your whole life -- from your family and friends to work to how you spend your (incredibly rare) "free time."

    • Don't feel guilty if you lament the loss of the old, carefree you. It's totally normal to feel that way.
    • Take life one day at a time right now. Try not to worry about the future or sweat the small stuff.
    • While you're caring for your child, also care for yourself and your relationships.

    And don't forget to appreciate all the positive ways your life has changed since you had a child. Being a parent makes you laugh, love, and learn like no other experience.

    Your Toddler's Development This Month

    Kids pick up all sorts of sniffles, coughs, and stomach bugs, especially if they've started preschool or daycare. Minor ailments usually go away on their own within a few days. But when your child is feeling really miserable, you may need to call for medical backup.

    You can treat your child at home if she:

    • Vomits once or twice during an illness
    • Has a few loose stools (diarrhea) without blood or mucus
    • Has a cold
    • Has a minor cut or nosebleed

    It's time to call your doctor if your child:

    • Vomits several times
    • Has more than six to eight loose stools in a day
    • Has blood in the vomit or stools
    • Has a temperature of 103 degrees F or higher or is lethargic
    • Seems to be dehydrated (dry mouth, no tears, not urinating)
    • Has symptoms that are not getting better after 48 hours or are getting worse
    • Has a serious cut or bleeding that doesn't stop

    Month 18 Tips

    • Carve out a little bit of "me" time every day to read a book, have a cup of tea, or go out on a "date" with your significant other.
    • Don't feel that you have to take unsolicited advice on child rearing. Always trust your instincts, and do what you think is best for your child.
    • Treat a tummy bug -- vomiting or diarrhea -- by giving your child lots of clear fluids a little bit at a time. Consider adding a probiotic to her diet.
    • Kids need a flu vaccine to protect against the disease before every flu season, which may range from as early as October to as late as May.
    • Sucking on a cup of milk in the crib might soothe your child to sleep, but it could also rot her teeth. The sugars in milk and juice coat the teeth and lead to decay.
    • It's too early for your child to pump iron, but she should be eating it every day. Good sources include iron-fortified cereal, beef, and chicken.
    • Encourage your baby’s growing language by describing the daily routine, engaging in interactive conversations and obtaining his or her help with chores.
    • Use positive reinforcement for molding good behaviors. When your child does something right, praise her with a "Thank you" or "Good job!"

    WebMD Medical Reference

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