While many of Life’s Choices services focus on pregnant clients (from tests and ultrasounds to prenatal and childbirth classes), our parenting classes are also a popular choice for clients. Whether clients are expecting a baby or seeking guidance in various parenting stages, we cover a variety of topics!
It’s been our true pleasure to work with many parenting clients every year. Here are some frequently asked questions we get about raising children:
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING THE BABY HOME?
We get it — there are so many gadgets and gizmos out there. And baby clothes are so cute! But experts agree you don’t need that much to take care of your newborn, and you don’t need to break the bank to do so. Must-haves include:
- Sleeping space-
a separate bassinet or crib with no stuffed animals, blankets or bumpers
- Food to eat-
Breast milk and/or formula; for the latter you will need a supply of bottles and nipples and a way to safely clean them
- Comfortable clothes-
soft cotton onesies are our favorite
- Diapers and wipes-
lots and lots of diapers and wipes.
You are also required by law to have an age-appropriate car seat when you take your baby home from the hospital.
NOTE: Life’s Choices can help you gather the supplies you need for your baby, including all of the above items. Contact us to see how you can earn a car seat during your pregnancy, or inquire about ways to earn diapers and other items on an on-going basis through our personal education program.
HOW DO I EVEN TAKE CARE OF AN INFANT?
Some clients have lots of experience taking care of younger siblings. Others don’t have a clue of what to do with a baby. But everyone needs facts about baby care and assurance that they can handle this tiny, dependent little human. We have great classes that cover:
- Cradling the head and neck when holding your infant
- Bathing and diapering a little one–
Note: girls and boys have different hygiene needs
- Feeding your baby-
We have breast-feeding consultants available to answer the age-old question (“Is my baby getting enough to eat?”) and also support parents who choose formula as a supplement or main source of nutrition. Most newborns eat every few hours. Signs that they are getting enough include steady weight gain, 6-8 wet or dirty diapers a day and a generally content baby between feedings.
Babies cry, a lot! It’s actually their main way to communicate any type of need. We can help parents know the different types of cries and recognize what they mean, be it the need for food or a diaper change or a desire for comfort.
CAN I SPOIL MY NEWBORN BY HOLDING HIM OR HER TOO OFTEN?
No! The opposite is true: babies thrive with love, attention, cuddles, and play. Babies don’t have the ability to manipulate adults through crying. They cry when they are hungry, uncomfortable or lonely, and by responding to your child’s needs at this stage, you help them grow emotionally, physically and intellectually.
If your baby cries often, consult your doctor to see if colic or another health concern is at play. If you are feeling overwhelmed in the moment, ask a family member to watch the baby, or set him down in a safe spot like his crib to take a few moments to relax before trying again. You will be better able to care for your baby after this needed break.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET MY BABY TO SLEEP?
Typically, a newborn sleeps 12 to 16 hours a day but only in one to two hour stretches. At three months, most babies “sleep through the night” (usually, a six hour stretch) plus naps and no longer need a nighttime feeding. At six months, babies tend to sleep 12 to 15 hours daily, including a short morning and longer afternoon nap, and by 9 months this shifts to a 11 hour stretch at night and one afternoon nap.
If your baby is not sleeping, neither are you! Try developing a consistent nighttime routine, swaddling (for newborns), a cradle with motion, a pacifier for babies with a high-suck need, a quiet and somewhat dark sleeping space, a small feeding before bed and responding appropriately if they do wake in the night.
HOW DO I HANDLE THE TERRIBLE TWOs?
Oh, the toddler years. As our babies grow physically, they also grow in their sense of who they are. This is a good thing – your child learns her own preferences and can vocalize what she does and does not want to do! But these same positive developments bring a big parenting challenge: tantrums.
Experts say tantrums rise out of your toddler’s growing independence, and it can be intensified when what he wants to do (say, get dressed himself) exceeds his ability to do so (those pesky buttons and zippers!). Added to that, toddlers often hear the word, “No!” It’s for their own good – but they don’t like it.
The best way to move out of the tantrum stage is to handle your child calmly. Learn the signs of an approaching tantrum and avoid it if you can. For example, if your child loses her temper when she is hungry, make sure you have regular snacks and mealtimes. Just make sure you don’t reward a tantrum unless you want to see more of them.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Parenting is tough, and we want you to know you are not alone in your journey. Seek out advice from trusted family and friends as well as stories from your own childhood to keep it all in perspective. Check in with your pediatrician and other professionals to make sure your child is on track developmentally.
And consider calling us to set up free, individualized parenting classes. We have something for almost every stage and challenge of the parenting years!
Kutztown: 610-683-8000 | Hamburg: 484-660-3526