Guest blog by: Jenny Wise created Special Home Educator as a forum for sharing her adventures in homeschooling and connecting with other homeschooling families.
Becoming a parent is a daunting challenge! Of course you want everything to be perfect for your little one. What can you expect with a newborn, and how do you really prepare? These tips will help you face parenthood with confidence.
Life is changing. Your entire world is about to change, and it’s going to be good! As the BBC advises first-time parents, adding a baby means life will become a new normal. There will be mistakes, and life will go on. Remember to enjoy the process and don’t become too caught up in guidelines and gurus. The first two years can be particularly challenging, which some parents describe as living in a “constant hangover.” Somehow, you’ll survive!
Those first two years. While infanthood may be exhausting, it is also a period of joy. You’ll see your baby developing practically before your eyes. The stages of baby development are referred to as “milestones,” and while no two infants are the same, EMedicineHealth explains you can expect certain skills to develop at certain ages. Here are some milestones of baby development during the first two years of life:
- By the end of month #1: Your baby can bring her hands nearby her face, and she can clutch them into tight fists. She can focus about eight to twelve inches in front of her. She prefers to see human faces above other shapes, as well as strongly contrasting patterns. She can hear well and recognize your voice.
- By the end of month #3: Your baby can support her upper body with her arms when she lays on her tummy. She can stretch out her legs and kick when she lays down. She can open and close her hands and bring them to her mouth. She can grab onto toys and shake them. She smiles when she hears your voice. She can follow the movement of objects with her eyes.
- By the end of month #7: Your baby can sit up, and she can support her weight standing if you hold her up. She can see colors and distances. She knows her name, and she will explore objects by putting them in her mouth. She plays peek-a-boo. She can understand your tone of voice and will respond to her name. She will struggle to reach for objects beyond her grasp and can move items from one hand to another.
- By the end of month #12: Your baby can sit on her own. She can pull herself into a standing position. She can crawl, say “mama” and “dada,” and tries to imitate words. She responds to simple requests. She shakes her head “no” and waves goodbye.
- By the end of month #24: Baby is becoming independent and walks alone. She’s beginning to run, kick balls, and carry large toys. She can scribble, build towers from toys, and sort objects by color and shape. She can imitate others’ behavior and climb on and off furniture without assistance. She can name familiar objects. She can recognize people she knows and call them by name.
Preparations. You’ll want to babyproof your home before your little one arrives. Get a jump start on as much as possible since you’ll have plenty to do once she’s here. Secure heavy items in your home such as bookshelves and dressers, install safety gates, put child-safe latches on cabinets, and cover electrical outlets. Store sharp items and weapons out of reach and secure medications and flammable materials. Remove cords, such as on window coverings, or take precautions to keep cords out of reach. Be alert to other hazards to your baby, such as dishwashers which house sharp utensils. Your kitchen can be a danger zone with hot and sharp items, so never leave your infant unattended in the kitchen.
Bringing home baby. The arrival of your baby is one of the most joyous events in life. With some simple guidelines and preparations, you can go into parenthood self-assured. Parenthood can be exhausting and exhilarating, so savor the journey!