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Keep Up With Baby: From tooth fairy to car seats

April 01, 2008
Doting new parents "Ooh" and "Ah" at how their babies seem to change daily. Their first smiles, their first words and each new tooth is celebrated and documented in the baby book. New mommies and daddies revel in each developmental milestone, yet few feel confident in knowing when their baby's changes signal a new stage and how to address it.

When it comes to raising children, sometimes the greatest challenge is staying one step ahead, ready for — rather than surprised by — the next stage. Getting a child to start eating baby food can be a challenge, and a humorous and messy one at that! Parents have to know the ins and outs of rear-facing and front-facing car seats. There's even a science to diapers. They not only come in different sizes, but today's diapers change with babies as they grow and develop. It's too bad babies don't come with manuals, because parenting doesn't always come instinctively.

"Parenting is such a rewarding experience and there are so many different milestones to look forward to, yet it can be difficult for parents to understand what to introduce and when," says Dr. Loraine Stern, M.D., clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA and a member of the Pampers Parenting Institute. "Parents want to make sure they are doing all they can to promote their children's development at each stage."

Transitioning to Baby Food and Eating Veggies!

Babies' eating habits change dramatically in the first few months, and it is often difficult for new parents to know when to begin offering their babies new options. Below are some helpful tips to guide parents along the way:

• While every baby is different, solid foods can be introduced around 6 months.

• Start with a single grain, iron-fortified infant cereal such as rice cereal, mixed with breast milk or formula.

• While tempting to start with fun fruits, it's best to add strained vegetables first and then strained fruits to your baby's diet.

• Introduce one new food every three to five days like strained vegetables or fruit; it may take 10 or more attempts before baby is willing to accept a new food.

• At around 8 or 9 months, babies may be ready to start feeding themselves with finger foods. Soon they'll move on to using a child-sized spoon and drinking from a cup.

Diapers: More Than Just a Bigger Size

Most parents think that they just move to a bigger diaper size as their babies gets older. But with new Pampers Stages, there is a complete line of diapers, training pants and corresponding wipes for each stage of development, which makes it easy for parents to know which products are most appropriate for their babies or toddlers at that time.

• For the newborn stage, expect more frequent diaper changes than other stages because of a baby's all-liquid diet. Pampers Swaddlers feature quilted, blanket-like softness, and Sensitive Wipes are ideal for newborns because they help restore the natural pH balance of delicate skin up to two times faster than a washcloth and water.

• Pampers Cruisers and new Swipers wipes are for babies when they start to crawl, walk and eat solid foods.

• For easy standing changes once toddlers start exploring their world, a training pant like Pampers Easy Ups can really help. New Pampers Clean 'n Go wipes can be used for all-over cleansing — from a toddler's face and hands, to diaper changes — which makes them ideal for parents and children on the go.

• For toddlers entering the potty training stage, try a training pant that provides leak protection but helps toddlers feel when they've wet to help them learn when it's time to use the potty.

Car Seat Safety

Car safety is such an important topic, but many parents don't know how to navigate through the stages. It's important to choose the right car seat for the right age and size, to keep babies safe as they grow.

• Rear-facing car seats are required for babies until they're 1 year old regardless of weight. Infant car seats are ideal for this stage and can be used during the first year until baby reaches 20 to 22 pounds. Once a baby reaches this weight, change to a convertible car seat (but still place rear-facing until 1 year).

• When a baby is big enough — over 20 pounds AND 1 year old — a convertible seat can be placed facing forward. To ensure proper fit, move the shoulder straps to the slots just above the child's shoulders.

• When children are 4 years old, more than 40 pounds and their ears reach the top of their car seat, it's time for a booster seat.

Toothless Grins and Tooth Fairy Visits

Parents often ask when is the right time to start brushing children's teeth so they can start off on the right track to a perfect smile!

• Parents can start good oral care even at the newborn stage by gently wiping their babies' gums with a damp washcloth following feedings.

• When the first tooth appears, it's recommended that parents start brushing their children's teeth twice a day.

• Look for stage-appropriate oral care products like toothbrushes designed with chunky handles for toddlers' little hands and baby soft bristles. Children younger than age 2 should use toothpaste without fluoride.

Parents should consult their health care provider at each stage and can utilize helpful online resources such as Pampers.com in between checkups. Most importantly, parents should take the time to enjoy each and every milestone their precious little ones celebrate!

All Materials Courtesy of: Pampers

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