Hold my bottle for me.
Hold me when I'm taking my bottle. Otherwise I could spit up and choke. Don't put me to bed at night with a bottle either. If I have a bottle in my mouth all night, the milk or juice could decay my new teeth!

New things are happening to me.

When something new happens to me, I may be angry or afraid. I am slow to change. As a parent, you could get angry and confused with me. What I really need is for you:
  • To be patient.
  • To show me new things, new people, and new situations very slowly.
  • To let me try 3 or 4 times to get used to something new. I might like it better the second and third time I try it.

      Help me be healthy.
At this checkup,
  • I will be weighed and measured.
  • I will be looked at everywhere. The doctor will check my hearing and look to see how I move and how well I see.
  • I will have several immunizations. Remember to record these in my health journal.
  • Ask the doctor or WIC Nutritionist about starting cereal at 4 months. Rice cereal is the first cereal I should try. Please feed me my cereal from a spoon - do not put it in a bottle.

Keep me away from cigarette and cigar smoke. It makes it harder for me to breathe.

     Play with me. It helps me learn.
  • Play "Talking back and forth." First, I make a noise and you listen. Then you make the same noise and I listen. We can do this many times.
  • Put me on my back and let me reach for toys hanging from the sides of my crib or playpen. Make sure these are tied safely and securely so they won't hurt me.
  • Read to me. I like stories that are short.
  • Hold a rattle or toy in front of me. Move it to get my attention. Then let me try to keep my eyes on it while you move it from one side to the other, up and down, and in circles. This helps me use both eyes.
  • Play "peek-a-boo: with your hands or a blanket.
  • Let me babble to you.

      Help me be safe.
  • Make sure that the toys, pacifiers, and other things give me are safe for me to have. They should not have any sharp edges or loose pieces. Toys should be big enough that I cannot fit them into my mouth.
  • I am now strong enough to wiggle out of the infant seat or tip it over. Use the safety strap and keep the infant seat on the floor, and away from steps or other dangers.
  • Never leave me alone on a bed, on a sofa, on the changing table, in a walker, or in the tub.
  • Many babies who use walkers are involved in accidents. Baby walkers have many safety hazards for me. If I use one keep me on a flat surface, away from carpets, stairs, and ledges. Always watch me while I am in a walker.
  • Keep me away from hot liquids such as coffee, tea, and soup. When you are holding me, don't try to drink anything hot. I could be badly burned by a hot liquid spilling on me.
  • It's time to start making our house safe for children. One way to do this is to get on your hands and knees and crawl around. Take away or move anything that I can reach or that could hurt me as I begin to crawl around. Keep me away from cords of all kinds - telephone cords, drapery cords, and electrical cords. Cover the electrical outlets. Be sure all painted surfaces are free of lead-based paint.
  • I like to look at balloons, but keep them away from my face. If a balloon covers my mouth, I will not be able to breathe.

      Watch for me to:
  • Smile at you to get you to pay attention to me.
  • Hold up my head without bobbling it around when I sit in your lap.
  • Hold a small toy, like a rattle, for a few seconds in my hand if you place it in my hand.
  • Laugh out loud.
  • Say oo, aah, and other vowel sounds. Sometimes when I say these sounds, I will say them quickly. Other times, I will say them slowly and kind of sing the sound.
  • Hold my head all the way up and rest on my arms when I am on my stomach.
  • Recognize sounds that I hear often - like your voice, the sound of a favorite toy, or running water.
  • Let me know I recognize you as a special person. I get excited when I see people I know or my bottle.

Each child grows and changes at a different rate.

Don't worry if I am early or late in the ways that I am growing. Help me to learn. If you are concerned, talk to my doctor or nurse.

The above information was obtained from
Smart Start and the North Carolina Partnership for Children.

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