Articles- Sensory Development & Related Baby Activities

9 – 12 Months Vision & Developmental Activities

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1 Year and Beyond: Vision and Baby Activities

Learn baby activities to engage with your little one that gives them a chance to practice and exercise many visual skills, such as: visual-spatial, visual-motor, or observation skills.

Baby’s Vision and Developmental Activities for 1 Year and Beyond:

Many of your baby’s visual abilities and development of the corresponding area in the brain that is activated are continuing to adjust even up to 9 years of age.  However, early experience, specifically from birth to 2 years of age, will have the greatest impact on most of these abilities.  So, it is save to say that though genetics definitely has a role in visual quality, our visual abilities are not solely dependent on nature but also experience.

Help your baby, toddler, and child along by continue to engage in activities that focuses on spatial perception, coordination, visual memory, and observation skills.  You can now understand that visual development is not just important for being able to see, but is key for movement, sports, arts, science, and so much more.  Below we give you activities that work on these skills.  Be sure to also check out the Activity page for more and more specific ideas.  Also, visit TipTopKidz.com if you would like to learn more on ways to stimulate your baby, toddler, or child’s brain development.

Your 1 year old will begin to have the motor ability to stack blocks, roll/throw balls, or push around toy cars.  These are all great examples of activities for babies to do that not only work on coordination but also visual-spatial perception.  They also are learning more about cause and effect and understanding distance better.  If he hasn’t already, you will see him banging toys together, dropping toys, throwing toys, and pointing at things on their own.

Be sure to continue reading to your child.  Be more descriptive then you have been.  Describe what you notice in the book.  Also begin to ask questions about what they think will happen next in the book- engage their imagination.

 Recommended Baby Activity Toys:

Vision from 9-12 Months and Fun Baby Activities

Below we give you baby activities based on what your 9 month old – 12 month old sees and what best engages skill developments that utilizes sight.

Baby’s Vision from 9-12 Months and Fun Baby Activities:

Most of your baby’s foundational visual developments have occurred.  During these next few months, she will be able to judge distance better and may even throw just slightly more precisely (keep in mind this is based on baby standards).  If your main point is to cultivate her visual abilities, then the answer would be to let her experience and practice these abilities often through fun activities for babies.  We know that visual-spatial skills can be improved through practice.  It also would make sense that different experiences with viewing different angles (ex: curved walls vs. normal rectangular room) or manipulating different shapes undoubtedly will have an affect on their visual abstraction and perhaps artistic skills.

Continuing playing hide and seek with her.  During this infant activity, fully hide the toy and have her seek it.  Most likely she will have reached the cognitive milestone of object permanence.  This baby game will engage her visual memory.

You also want to encourage her to crawl around and explore her play area.  There is no need to rush or force her into a walking position.  By crawling, she practices hand-eye-body coordination.

Play roll the ball.  At this age, she should be able to roll the ball towards you better.  You may need to play this activity multiple times before she really gets what to do.  This is an example activity for baby that works on hand-eye coordination.

Take her out to see different things!  Outside is always a stimulating visual environment.  Also add motion when playing.  You can swing, spin, or playfully raise her up and down.  Take her to the playground and use the swing set.

As always, be sure to incorporate language in all your baby activities.  Not only does it affect her language development, but you can also use it to describe what you and her see.  This will help her practice her observation skills.  Even if she does not completely understand what you are describing, she is getting in the habit of examining what she is looking at or noticing and finding what you are pointing at or speaking about.  Books are great ways to build language skills, build bonds, and are visually stimulating.

Be sure to check out more sensory activities for infants on the Activity Page as you will find more and specific baby activities.  We give you a few general ideas here, but the Activity Page will list more.  Also visit TipTopKidz.com for even more activities that will give you specific activities for you to do throughout the day or week.

Recommended Baby Activity Toys:

We give you recommended toys that are visually stimulating so they will be of interest to baby to examine and explore more.  This will give you an opportunity to build the foundation for visual memory or observation skills with your little one.  We also list items that will help exercise visual-spatial skills.

6 – 9 Months Vision & Developmental Baby Activities

vision activities

In this article we give you insight into what your 6 month – 9 month old actually sees, baby activities that begin to foster other visual skills such as visual memory or visual coordination, and recommended toys and other items that entice your baby to explore.

What does your baby see?  Baby’s Vision from 6-9 Months:

A lot of changes happened the past few months.  During these next 3 months, your baby’s vision will continue to refine.  Have you wondered how far can a baby see?  Baby’s distance vision will continue to improve, and around 6 months, he will be able to focus on things 15 feet away.  Over the period of 3 months, distance vision will nearly mature completely.

A large milestone your baby will reach is called object permanence.  This is where you baby’s memory has reached the stage where he is able to recall things from his memory.  For instance, even though you hid a toy, he knows that it is still there.  Or, if he falls asleep in your arms being rocked, but wakes up still in a crib, he will now realize the difference and not be happy with it.

Activities to engage a baby’s visual development:

Vision is very impressionable in the early years of your child’s life and the visual experiences they have as a baby, toddler, and young child matter in helping mold their visual development and abilities.  Here we give baby activities that will contribute to shaping their visual abilities.  Remember, visual development encompasses not only sight but, observation, visual-spatial skills, visual-motor skills, visual recall, and so on.

Partially hide a toy, and watch as he goes to grab it.  As he gets older or closer to 8 months of age object permanence may have fully set in.  In this case, change the baby game up, and fully hide the toy.

Be sure to talk to your baby during any of the fun activities you and baby are playing.  Point at objects and describe what you see to help build his observation skills.  This is very effective when you are reading books or speaking about something he is already focusing on, but also try to grab his attention on things farther away.  Point to things in motion and describe what it is doing.

Give him different visual experiences.  Take him outside, to a museum, or simply move rooms and positions where he normally is.  He should be a pro at tummy time by now, so be sure to let him play frequently in this position.

He may not be fully coordinated to play the baby game of roll the ball, but he can still try.  Place a ball in front of him and watch as he moves it back and forth.  This stimulates his visual-spatial perception.  You can use different sized balls in this baby activity.

You can also vary the toys that he frequently plays with.  Incorporate different geometric shapes during sensory activities for baby.

Be sure to check out more sensory activities for infants on the Activity Page as you will find more and specific baby activities.

Recommended Baby Toys:

Below are recommended toys that provide varying shapes, angles, and textures for your baby to see.  Also included are items that will stimulate their spatial perception.

2 – 5 Months Vision and Developmental Baby Activities

In this article we go over the numerous changes in your baby’s vision, baby activities that will help activate key visual developments, and recommended toys and other items that match your baby’s visual abilities.

What does a young baby see? Baby’s Vision from 2-5 Months:

Prior to 2 months old, your baby’s vision was limited in distance, color, and dimension (Read more on newborn’s vision).  Within the next 3 months, her vision will develop and change dramatically.  The sensory development of sight opens the door for babies to engage, experience, and learn about the amazing new world around them and therefore is a key player in their emerging minds.

During these few months, the coordination between both of her eyes will improve, pairing nicely with the fine motor milestones of pre-reaching and reaching.  This also allows her to target moving objects much better.  In fact, your baby will look slightly before where the object is moving versus following it’s motion exactly.  She is deciding where to look!  This marks a major cognitive milestone, which occurs between 4-6 months of age.

Around 2-5 months old, your infant’s vision will change rapidly, within weeks, from 2D vision to 3D vision, with the average age of this transition beginning around 3.5 months.  She will also be able to see gradients of brightness and shades of colors easier, and around 3 months she will now be able to see blues and yellows much clearer.  By 4 months of age, your little one should be able to see the full range of colors and shades.  Also beginning around 4 months, your baby’s visual development achieves the big milestone of improved visual acuity.  This means that she will be able to see much more detail in the things around her- her recent blurry vision almost obsolete!  Baby’s distance vision will also improve more and more over these months to the point that she will be able to see across the room.

Another big developmental stage your baby will go through is called obligatory looking, which can occur as early as 1 month and usually ends around 4 months.  This is the stage where your infant will stare or seem fixated on something for a long period of time, and seems to be important in wiring your baby’s visual areas of her brain.  Sometimes, it’s a good idea to help her break that fixation as it may be slightly distressing to them if they are viewing a strong visual stimuli that they cannot look away from.  In some studies, this was found to be high contrast checkerboard patterns.  Many parents enjoy this infant stage because this is when many parents bond with their babies- during prolonged, interactive eye contact.

A note about eye crossing:  The brain needs normal visual input for it to wire correctly. If your infant’s coordination of her two eyes is impaired, as in the case of crossed-eyes, and allowed to continue without intervention, her vision may be irreversibly jeopardized.  Ask your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s vision.

Activities to engage an infant’s visual development:

Obligatory looking is a milestone your baby will reach during these months. Engage her with 1 on 1 conversation!  Not only does she still prefer human faces best, but this baby activity also provides language development.  Practice taking turns “talking”- meaning add pauses as you would in normal conversation.  Also, make different, fun, and light hearted faces during this baby game.

Hang toys so that they are within their reach.  Make sure toys are enticing and vary in color, shape, and texture (see below recommendations) as they begin to focus more and more on what they look at.  Also, change out the toys you have every couple of weeks.  As always, make sure you are with your baby and exercise safety to ensure there is no risk of entanglement in cords or wires.

Ensure your baby has baby play time on their tummy.  This gives them a different vantage point in their view while also developing their muscles for gross motor skills.  Toys with mirrors are great toys to capture infant’s attention and can prolong infant play time.

If your baby frequently lays in their crib or playpen, be sure to move where the crib or playpen is. For instance, instead of doing baby activities in her room, move the playpen into the living room! You can also change the end of the bed you lay her head.  This lets your baby see different things.  Remember, visual experience is important when the brain is wiring areas of their brain for vision.

Another fun game to play with baby is the classic peek-a-boo.  Also be sure to incorporate brightly colored books in your things to do with baby list.  As you read, point to things to let her practice following where you point as well as listening to what you are speaking about.  We list some favorite books we like below.

Be sure to check out more sensory activities for infants on the Activity Page as you will find more and specific baby activities.

Recommended Baby Toys:

As you have read above, your baby’s eye sight is progressing rapidly, and she’s going to start to look for things that are more stimulating for her to see.  For instance, at 3 months, infants begin to like circular patters more.  We also have learned that her eyes are now working together and she is also beginning to work on coordinating her sight and body to reach and grab toys.  Baby’s ability to see colors, shades of colors, and details takes a drastic leap forward.  Below we list toys we recommend for your baby that stimulates their vision and also entices them to practice their fine motor skill development.

Newborn’s Vision and Developmental Baby Activities

newborn eye development

Below we go over what does a newborn see, newborn activities designed to help foster your newborn’s visual development, and recommended toys that are perfect based on what a newborn can see.

What can a newborn see? Baby’s vision from 0-1 Month:

Your newborn’s vision will fly through milestones rapidly in his first weeks and months of life. However, it is important to know what he can see as a newborn, so that you know how to best engage his visual development and also what toys to have during this newborn stage.

Once your bundle of joy is born, he can see best 8-10 inches in front of him and will be sensitive to light.  Even at this close range distance, however, everything is blurry.  In other words, he has poor visual acuity; so it is very difficult for him to differentiate between two objects that are close together.  Despite having no visual memory and relatively poor vision, newborns have been shown to recognize their Mom’s and Dad’s faces within hours.  Nature is truly amazing.

Unlike some of his other senses, your baby’s visual development will go through a relatively rapid improvement after being born.  But in the first month, he sees things in a 2-dimension viewpoint, unlike us who see the world in 3D.  Around the end of his one month birthday, your newborn may be able to briefly focus on things 3 feet away, and be able to recognize things and individuals at a distance.  His color vision is also very poor in the first weeks of life, and can only really see those with high contrasting qualities (for example: black and white).  He will also show a preference for human faces, simpler stimuli, and simpler patterns in this first month.

There are 2 visual characteristics that most parents are not aware of in their newborn.  The first is that your baby sees better with their peripheral vision, which lasts about 2 months.  Pay attention to him and see if you notice how toys or objects grab his attention more to his side versus in front of him.  The second visual milestone worth mentioning is babies are interested in objects in motion when compared to other visual characteristics.  At first, when you slowly move a toy across your baby’s face, their eyes will follow in a delayed, jerky way.  However, by 2 months, he will follow objects more smoothly and with more precision.

Activities for newborns that engage visual development:

Now that we know what your baby sees and their visual preferences, we can now design an engaging visual environment for your newborn.  His visual range is short, but perfect to focus on Mom and Dad.  The first months of your baby’s life are especially important for creating a loving bond and sense of security for him.  This all naturally ties in nicely together.  The main activity for your newborn, therefore, is face to face contact!  This can be during the brief moments of quiet alertness, holding, breastfeeding, or laying down.  Let him see your smiling face and give him practice in focusing on and differentiating between your eyes, nose, and watch the movement of your mouth.

  • Be sure to hang those fun toys 8-15 inches away, so that it’s where your newborn will most likely see them best.  Also, hang them to the side of the crib or wherever baby is laying, so that he can see them in his peripheral vision.
  • Grab a toy that matches the characteristics we list below and move it from side to side in front of him.  Watch as the toy grabs his attention and he tracks its motion.  As you do this game next time, see if you can tell if he is tracking the toy smoother and with less delay.
  • Begin the habit of reading books to your baby.  Reading books is always a fun thing to do with babies and it targets many areas of development for your newborn, so it’s good to start now!
  • Be sure to check out more sensory activities for infants on the Activity Page as you will find more and specific baby activities.

Recommended Developmental Newborn Toys:

If we want to stimulate our newborn’s vision, we have to understand 1. what he is able to see and 2. what will entice him most.  For example, soft colored, pastel blue and/or pink mobiles look great for a baby’s room, however, they will unfortunately go mainly unnoticed by them. Instead, aim for high contrasting colors, especially black and white at this stage.  Patterns such as stripes, lines, or checkerboards are also good to get.  Toys with pleasant faces are also enticing for babies, but make sure the features of the face are noticeable. Here are examples below:

This mobile (Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim-Mobile for Cribs) is very visually stimulating and diverse.  It comes with 10 different interchangeable cards.  You can start with high contrast, black and white patterns, and then move to the colored red cards, then blue and yellow cards.  Also, included are various pleasant faces.  They also make a similar mobile for traveling purposes- Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile To Go Travel Toy.  It folds flat which makes it easily transportable.

 

This is a Developmental Mat that your little one can play on while in tummy time.  The high contrast colors will get your baby’s attention and will be stimulating from afar or directly on the mat.

 

A box of high-contrast entertaining cards you can switch out to stimulate baby’s vision. They have different sets, such as Safari Animals or Farm Animals. The Farm Animals are favorites!

 

Books are great to have for young babies.  Good ones provide stimulating things to look at, different textures to feel, begins conversations with Mom and Dad, and are interesting to play with as your baby gets older.  We list a few we like here.

Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest Soft Book
By Roger Priddy Fuzzy Bee and Friends (Touch and Feel Cloth Books)

      Look, Look! by Peter Linenthal

What Parents Don’t Tell New Parents About- Things You Want To Know

If you’re a new parent, you will find that your parent friends and parent family members are pouring out all their trials, tribulations and joys of parenthood.

Which is great…Now some of you may…

  1. Eat it all up!  It’ll build the excitement of the new addition to your family- you’re now part of the Mommy and Daddy Club!  And you must say, it’s fantastic.
  2. Simply get or already be overwhelmed. Not sure which advice to follow or just lost in what do you do with this newborn baby?!
  3. Blow past these tips, because you got this.  Being a parent, taking care of a baby is common sense right?  Plus, you’ve seen how these parents act and you know that you will NOT be caught acting that way, so why would you take their advice?

Most of us have felt all these things.  I know I have.  Been there, done that.  Actually…still doing it. *sigh.  No matter what stage you are at or what your views are about parenthood and taking advice, there are certainly some things that you will want to know.  Specifically the nitty gritty things that other parents somehow forget to tell you.  Or, what probably happened was they locked those memories away leaving no chance to leak into consciousness. Kidding…

Below includes good and not so pleasant things to expect of your baby and parenthood. Just like you get a bunch of stuff for your baby shower to find you’ve been duped- “I really don’t need all this STUFF!  Why didn’t anyone tell me?”  The only difference is, you find baby shower gifts hyped, but parenthood…in the end, is not.  You get more than you bargained for (both good and bad).

Change Bomb:

There is no way you can fully prepare for what is about to come. I don’t care how Martha Stewart or MacGyver you are.  The baby is a bomb- a bomb designed to rock and change your world.  And, it will do exactly that.  No amount of advice, preparation, book reading, or classes will ever get you ready for what is about to come.  It’s one of those things you just can’t understand until you do it. So, prepare as best you can, but know that change is a’ comin’.  Now relax and enjoy the ride of parenthood. Well, read on first….

Being a parent is all amazing Part I:

It really isn’t.  It isn’t easy.  And it really isn’t pleasant at points.  Just like marriage, there’s good and there’s bad.  But, if you average it all together, the good definitely outweighs the bad.  Having a great marriage is work.  Having an amazing marriage is hard work.  And, having a baby is a lot of work too.  But, just like most things, the more work and focus you put into it, the more you and baby reap the benefits.  Now that’s honesty for you.

Being a parent is amazing- Part 2:

This is a lie.  It’s more amazing and cliche than your brain could have ever imagined. Prepare for your mind and your heart to be blown.  You will be owned period, by that light weight, little person.  The upside is, unconditional love does exist.  You will love them unconditionally.  It’s in your little one too.  They will look at you like you truly are Superman, and that you are everything to them.  Because you are.

You may not fall in love with baby immediately:

This one is a grey area. Some do. Many Moms and Dads do.  But, some just don’t. In fact, it is more than just some.  Some parents fall in love with their baby around the 2-3 month mark when something called obligatory looking develops, which is when babies fixate on a single object.  This is when they make eye contact with you for prolonged periods and are also becoming more communicative and expressive with their face and body.  These sessions can be heart melting.  Other parents may not feel that strong bond until they become more mobile and verbally communicative.  And for others, this doesn’t happen until the baby’s toddler years.  My point is, when you fall in love obviously varies from parent to parent, and clearly, it doesn’t happen immediately for many.  Don’t beat yourself up.  You are not an abnormal or bad person.  Be patient, and your little one will win your heart one way or the other.

My Mom told me to follow my dreams…so I took a nap.
– unknown

 

Don’t get used to it past the newborn stage:

So, you have been preparing yourself for lack of sleep.  Everyone tells you it will happen.  The only thing they leave out, is that your baby does a bait and switch on you early on.  After the first couple of days in the hospital you may get lack of sleep, and it may even continue as you settle back at home.  After that though, your newborn sleeps ALL THE TIME.  That’s the stage they are in. Beautiful isn’t it?  Because you get a lot of sleep too, and you begin to get cocky thinking things like: “this isn’t so bad. I don’t know why everyone complains about sleep.”  Like clockwork, when that thought comes, and it can be as early as the 1 month mark and beyond, your baby isn’t a newborn anymore. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

But…I will say, there is an end in sight.

Not again?!

As if it wasn’t funny enough for baby the first time.  This happens again.  You have your rhythm down.  Maybe it’s bath, dim lighting, read books, and rock to sleep, followed by long relaxation time for you.  But, then something called object permanence develops in your baby.  It’s a great cognitive development milestone, but stinks for your sleep time. Object permanence is when babies truly begin to remember things- like you.  As in, I was just being held in Daddy’s arms and now he’s disappeared and I’m in a bed with bars around me?! You can imagine how startling that would be for anyone.  This is the stage that can occur at 6-9 months old.  Again, don’t say I didn’t warn you.  As far as solutions go, there are many out there.  Find one that works for you since there really are many out there and it largely is a personal preference.  I personally liked using the swing and read the blog troublesometots.com.

Napping when baby naps:

Everyone tells you this.  I just don’t understand why, because no new parents do this.  They aren’t able to.  Either they have too much stuff to catch up on, spend that time sitting in a chair planning out what to do for baby, or worrying about if baby is safely sleeping ok.  Yeah, it’s a nice thought and makes sense….but it’s wishful thinking. Seriously though…you should nap when your baby naps.

Breastfeeding:

1. It isn’t easy, intuitive, or a natural instinct.  Everyone naturally thinks it will be, but it just isn’t.  There are techniques out there to make sure the baby latches on the nipple well. There are also different holding positions that you can consider trying based on comfort level and if you have twins.  It is generally standard procedure to have a lactation consultant come visit you in the hospital to go over these things before you go home with your newborn baby. So, do not worry. The biggest thing I want to tell you is don’t let yourself or others make you feel bad about figuring out the ropes of breastfeeding because that is exactly what will happen.  You will need to figure out the ropes of breastfeeding- it’s not a magical, easy start.  Your husband will not understand.  And sometimes, though lactation consultants are there to help, they apply unnecessary pressure.  Let’s face it, they see so many women in the hospital, that I am sure some become numb and forget the rough beginnings.  This is only some lactation consultants, others are Godsends.

I happened to meet a woman who told me this warning. Just one, and I was lucky enough to have had that conversation.  She said women endure so much pressure in breastfeeding because they and everyone thinks the baby will pop out and the Mom will know exactly how to breastfeed, and that just doesn’t happen.  Women need help and to learn how. When it was my time to begin breastfeeding, I held on to her statement and it helped me through the early days. I do not know why other women don’t tell others this.  It gives you reassurance during those days when you’re trying to figure out breastfeeding.  Stress will take a toll on your breastmilk, so I hope this reassures you enough that if you have a rocky road at the start of breastfeeding and it feels not naturally easy, this is actually the norm- for ALL WOMEN.

I recommend a course in breastfeeding. You can usually find courses given at the hospital you will be giving birth at. Also a good blog that list good resources: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/bf-basics/latch-resources/

2. The nipples will hurt. Badly. Sometimes they crack and bleed.  Hence, the need for the baby to have a good latch on your nipple.  Too much information you say?  Nope!  That’s what this article is about.  To tell you what you need to know that is kept hush, hush.  The truth is: it’s extremely painful.  The good news is, just stick with it for 2 weeks.  Don’t give up.  My sister told me this, and seriously, the 2 week mark hit, and bam no more pain. After that, a goose could grab your nipple and twist and you wouldn’t even flinch.  Remind yourself you can do this, that you want to breastfeed your baby, and that it only will last 2 weeks.  You just gave birth, trust me and yourself, you can do it!  The next advice- apply lanolin.  The hospital will give it to you.  Use it and bring it home!  It is amazing….

3. Breastmilk supply:  Some people can produce milk until their child is in their teenage years if they wanted to, and others wake up every hour at night to pump hoping to get their milk production to stay as long as possible.  We all come in different shapes and sizes, and so does our breastmilk.  If you are one that just can’t last until that 1 year mark, don’t let yourself or others make you feel like a failure.  You are not.  You are an amazing mother.  Again, I mention stress will take a toll on your breastmilk which starts a vicious cycle. So, try to relax since what will happen will happen naturally.

4. Once you get past the early days of figuring out breastfeeding and pushing through the painful 2 week mark, enjoy every moment.  Remember this: this is the only time that is truly just you and baby.  Only you can do what you are doing. They feed so often during that year, but once they get older and you no longer breastfeed, you will have realized how precious those moments were.  Relish in that quiet time spent together and the loving looks and smiles your baby gives to you and only you during those sessions.

For parents who use formula:

IF you feel guilty, don’t.  It seems like every 10 years or so it swings from breast is best to formula is best.  My mother gave us formula because “science” said that was the best thing to give to baby.  My point is, either way, we all survived and grew up to be useful adults (*wince…atleast I hope).  Ask your pediatrician about formulas they recommend and research which formula will best fit you and your baby.

Paranoia:


You will temporarily be paranoid schizophrenic.  Kidding on the schizo, but not on the paranoia.  The first cough and runny nose will freak you out.  And that first fever?!  No words to describe the panic that it will send you into.  You just have to deal…with whatever it is: he’s not eating enough; is she growing according to the growth chart; when is he going to hit those milestones Penny Sue down the lane already hit; and the list goes on.  Remember what I said earlier, your heart does not belong to you anymore.  That being said, just know it will happen since you care for this little one enormously.  Try to not freak out to the point your little one picks up on it.  They are more sensitive to your emotions than you think.  A freaked out parent= a freaked out baby, which is not so great when they already feel sick.  Also, try not to self diagnose via the interwebs….they will scare you.  Stay away!  Call your pediatrician people. That’s what they are there for.

They understand:

So, your baby may not even be qualified as a “real person” yet.  I mean, come on, they’re a big, fat blob with what seems their only job is to be cute- too cute.  Don’t let them fool you…they understand…everything… You don’t have to take my word on it.  Scientists have shown that babies, just minutes after being born, can mimic what you are doing, such as sticking out your tongue.  This is what you need to do: understand that your baby, toddler, child really is a sponge!  They will absorb and pick up everything you do- good and, let’s be honest, not so good traits of yours.  For example: a daughter ignoring her Daddy when she was upset…and umm no, that is not coming from a harsh personal experience…

Even if your baby is a newborn, 3 months old, or 1 year old, don’t let loose too much because you think they won’t pick things up at such a young age.

The difficulty in finding the right temperature that means fever

Why this is so unclear baffles me.  Why doesn’t the pediatrician tell you?  Who knows. There are many sites that you can take a temperature from: mouth, armpit, ear, rectum, and now via the forehead.  Some of these require devices specifically designed to get temps via the forehead or ear.  The point is, is that the temperature point that diagnoses a fever will vary based on which site you check the temperature from.  The normal temp of 98.6ºF is based on the mouth temperature.  Temps taken from the armpit and rectum will give you a slightly higher temp compared to the mouth.  The armpit will give you a slightly lower temp.  They will tell you that a baby will have a fever when it is 100.4ºF or greater. This is a rectal temp.  Confused yet?

So, how do I take my baby’s temperature?:

I listed ways above.  Rectal temperature is generally what is recommended in babies since it is most accurate.

How will I know when my baby has a fever?:

The exact conversion between mouth, rectal, armpit, or forehead temperature has not been determined.  However, there is an average consensus that medical practitioners use.  If we base everything off of a rectal temperature, since that is what pediatricians give as the threshold for fever, then that means a normal rectal temperature for baby could be between 99.1ºF- 99.6ºF.  Given what we know above, let’s say you take a rectal temp, then a fever is anything 100.4ºF or above.  These numbers can be applied for temperatures taken from the ear.  Just know that ear temperatures may not be as accurate as rectal temperatures.
However, if you take it via the armpit, then a reading of 99ºF from the armpit could mean your baby has a fever.  Because temperatures from the armpit generally read lower than the temperature readings from the mouth, ear, and rectum.

Just remember that the 100.4ºF threshold for fever is based on a rectal temperature.  So, this number will be different if you take it via the armpit or mouth. (Most likely you will not be getting oral temperatures since the baby will not allow you to do so).  This article gives you a nice chart to compare based on what temperature and what site. Visit: http://www.webmd.com/children/tc/fever-temperatures-accuracy-and-comparison-topic-overview

Nosey People or those that don’t have anything better to say

After baby #1 pops out, people will ask about baby #2…and then #3…ugh. Enough said. Just be prepared.

Socks

Where do they go?  The mystery that spans across the globe.  In every country across the world, humans have been dealing with this unsolved case.  When you have kids, you realize how true this is, especially as the number of kids add up.  My recommendation is to not get only cute designed socks, so that it’s more obvious when you have lost a pair.  Get generic one’s that can match many other socks!  Here’s more recommendations on clothing for newborns.

Carseats

Did you know almost 50% of carseats are installed wrong (based on a 2011 nationwide survey)? Scary, huh?  In addition, many parents do not belt the baby in correctly, generally keeping the harness too loose or placing the clip too low.  There’s not much more I need to say than this. Make sure you install your carseat correctly.  Most cities will have places for someone to inspect if you have installed your carseat correctly.

Visit here to find a location near you: http://www.safercar.gov/cpsApp/cps/index.htm.  Definitely read this article for more information on common mistakes parents make: http://www.parents.com/baby/safety/car/baby-car-seat-safety-check-avoid-common-mistakes/

Babysitters:

Finding a caregiver is easy.  Finding a good one not so much.  Sorry, no real solutions here in finding a good one.  The only thing I would recommend is that when you do find a babysitter, know that you do have control over what your babysitter does with your baby, toddler, or child.  You do not have to spend a ton of time researching meaningful activities for them to do during the day, and you do not have to rely on your babysitter to do this even though you are paying them.  Tell them to go to http://www.tiptopkidz.com where they have a plethora of activities you or the babysitter can choose from.  What is even more cool is that they currently offer personalized schedules for your child to make sure activities are included that develop a well-rounded child.  You will actually get to converse with an expert directly!  They are just in their research, starting phase, so this is all FREE right now.  I would hurry and jump on that train when you can…. And, yes, this App is where we pull our smartbabyactivities from.

Numero Two-o:

Hate to break it to you, but having a second child is not so easy as you would guess.  I know you’re thi
nking, I survived the first one and I now know what to expect.  I can handle another baby and be even better at it!  Let’s step back and think about it.  It will be 2 against 2.
Not 2 against 1 anymore. Do the math.

I am absolutely not discouraging you from having a 2nd, 3rd, etc child.  I, personally love a big family and each child is an amazing gift.  However, many parents planning for #2, think they have it down, and I think it is more than fair to warn them properly vs. giving them only Pros.  Armed with more knowledge, you will more likely enjoy the time you have with your new addition to the growing family vs. being shocked at the difficulty no-one spoke of.

Guilt and doubt:

You will feel guilty and you will doubt yourself A LOT.  Examples: I shouldn’t have eaten all that cheese, he’s going to be so uncomfortably gasey; am I spending too much time cleaning up the house when I should be engaged playing with her; I really should spend more time with him; how did I miss his first word!; dang those stay at home parents; am I setting a good example by staying home with him instead of setting the example of work ethic; maybe this sleep method I chose wasn’t a good idea; I really am not doing enough for his development.  I think you get the point.  Yes, this will happen a lot, but if you do feel this way a lot, then be resolved to know that’s a sign you are a good, caring parent.  It is the definition of bittersweet.  No matter how much worry, guilt, or doubt you have as a parent, trust in yourself that you are an amazing parent.  Your little one thinks the world of you and is solely dependent on you. You are wanted and needed.

Misdirection- I love you.


If you have not heard about misdirection, this point alone is worth reading this article.  It is a parenting trick you will want to know and will last you years into your child’s life.  You may have already naturally done so, but still haven’t discovered the complete power of it. Misdirection is basically when you take your baby’s focus on something to something else. You grab their attention away and bring it toward something else more engaging.  Employ this when baby is crying or fussing.  Let’s say they’re not so happy you took their toy away… “Oh, my gosh! Look at the dog rolling around! That’s so silly!” Bam…problem dissolved.  DIRECTIONS: use freely when needed.