Seconds after your brain registers that plus sign on the stick, the relentless questions begin: boy or girl? Who will baby look like? Are we really ready for this? Once baby arrives -- and grows -- those questions become much more pointed: When is my baby ready to sleep on her tummy, drink water, eat solids? Here's what you need to know to ease all that worrying.
Sleep: Safety First
FAST FACT Even by his first birthday, baby will still be sleeping up to 14 hours a day. Here's how to keep him safe (and you sane).
Is My Baby Ready to
... snooze on her tummy? Babies should be put to bed on their backs to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Luckily, by the time your baby has the upper-body strength to roll over, at about 6 months, the risk of SIDS drops significantly. But that doesn't mean babies are ready to sleep on their stomachs. "Here's what I tell my patients: You should still put them down to sleep on their backs for the first year, but what babies do in the middle of the night is their business, and you can't control it," says Jennifer Shu, M.D., a pediatrician in Atlanta and co-author of Heading Home With Your Newborn.
... ditch the bumpers? Actually, it's safest to skip them in the first place. We know, we know, those crib sets are pretty darn cute, but the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against the use of pillows, pillowlike bumpers and any other kind of soft bedding, like a quilt, in the crib for fear of suffocation and an increased risk of SIDS. If you do use a bumper, make sure it is thin and well-secured to the crib slats. You should remove it when baby begins to stand so she can't use it as a step.
... sleep through the night? As her stomach capacity grows she'll need less frequent feedings. By 3 months, most infants sleep seven or eight hours without waking. If this isn't the case in your household, try keeping her awake -- and stimulated -- longer in the afternoon and early evening.