Tomorrow would mark my fourth anniversary here at About Baby's First Year, and I must say it has been a wonderful four years at that.
I've enjoyed the interaction with my readers, answering questions running the gamut from physical development to diaper bags. I also believe that the experience has grown me as a writer and as a parent.
I have said before that becoming a parent changed me in ways I never could have imagined. The charge of caring for my babies was the most important, most challenging job I have ever had. Over the years, I have come to firmly believe that good parenting is a coupling of guided instinct and educated judgment.
It is with those two aspects in mind that I devoted my energy to the articles and information you will find here. My goal was to present the facts to parents so that they could make informed choices regarding the care of their baby - from baby proofing to sleep theories, from development to baby activities.
While I do not expect that parents will ever find a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, I do expect that through About Baby they would find helpful, accurate information. And, in the process of becoming informed parents, they become empowered parents as well.
While I am very thankful for my time at About.com, I must admit that it is time for me to move on in new directions. I am very excited about what lies ahead of me, and I will always thinking fondly of my experience here.
As the Guide to Baby's First Year, I've gotten asked a ton of questions about parenting little ones. Wondering what the most common question I get asked has to do with?
One word: Alcohol.
- Does pumping and dumping reduce the alcohol level of breastmilk more quickly? - NO.
- Can I have a drink of alcohol if I am breastfeeding? A drink, occasionally, yes. No, to drinking daily and frequently.
- Will Alcohol Help My Baby Sleep? Really? This is just wrong on so many levels.
- Alcohol Increases Milk Supply, Right? Actually, nope. That's an old wives' tail.
What's the standard mattress crib size?
Truth be told, I am actually rather surprised that I get asked this one so often, but I do. Parents know the importance of crib safety, and they know that a great part of that has to do what your baby sleeps on and how well the mattress fits in the crib.
Wait... What? Car Seats Expire?
The short answer. A-yup.
I know, it seems like a marketing ploy, but the above article details why you really should stop using your car seat after it expires (generally about 6 to 8 years from the date it was manufactured.) Though it won't grow mold like forgotten leftovers shoved in the back of the fridge, car seats should not be used beyond their expiration date.
How can I get her to sleep??? Please!!!
So many of my emails from readers are on the topic of sleep and how to get it. Here are some of my most helpful articles on the topic
How much should he be eating???
I get this one quite often for various reasons. One, the mother is breastfeeding and she feels her baby is eating all the time, or she's breastfeeding and is concerned about low milk supply or slow weight gain.
Formula feeding parents also often wonder this one as well, unsure of infant formula needs..
The SSA recently released their top baby names, a list that gives each unique spelling it's only place on the chart.
However, these days, a single name can have as many as 15 different spelling variations to it (that winner goes to the baby name Jayden. When you take a look at name popularity that groups names of similar pronunciation together, we start to see a different group of baby names.
I went through and compiled the top 1000 baby names for the first decade of this century (2000 to 2009) and found some slight variations. Check out this comparison of the top 10 SSA girl names, with my new ranking.
- Emily ----------> Emily, Emely, Emilee, Emmalee
- Madison -------> Madison, Madisyn, Maddison, Madyson, Madisen
- Emma ---------> Hailey, Haley, Haylee, Hayley, Hailee, Haleigh, Haylie, Hailie, Halie, Hayleigh
- Olivia ----------> Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Caitlin, Caitlyn, Katelynn, Kaitlin, Kaitlynn, Katelin, Caitlynn
- Hannah --------> Emma
- Abigail ---------> Hannah, Hanna, Hana
- Isabella --------> Brianna, Briana, Breanna, Bryanna, Breana, Bryana, Breonna, Brionna
- Samantha -----> Olivia, Alivia, Alyvia
- Elizabeth ------> Abigail, Abigayle, Abbigail, Abagail, Abigale
- Ashley --------->Isabella, Izabella, Isabela
The interesting thing is that those names made up for over 13% of all baby girls born between 2000 to 2009.
For a complete look at the top 1000 baby girl names, along with a guide to how to pronounce them, see the ranking below.
See also: Popular Boy Names, 2000 to 2009
It's amazing that something has sweet as your little baby could make such an awful stink isn't it?
And I am guessing that you've noticed that no matter what brand of diaper pail you have, whether it is a Diaper Genie or Diaper Champ, yours stinks to high heaven after a while just as mine has.
If you are looking how to cure your smelly diaper pail, I've got a few tricks to share with you.
What about you? What do you do to help prevent or mask the smell of your diaper pail?
Recently, I've had an influx of emails from readers all caught up in comparing themselves to other parents. Parent who feel guilty. Ashamed. Frustrated. Mostly because they've taken a single snap shot view of other parents around them, and they wrongly have assumed everyone is doing it better than they are.
It's a hard place to be. I know because I've been there. Thankfully, I've reconciled they fact that I am no Super Mom, and, quite frankly, I have no desire to be that. I don't need to put that kind of pressure on myself.
If your goal is to do it all exactly right without mistakes, let me clue you in on something. The quest to be the "perfect parent" is a futile one. It will leave you overwhelmed, confused, and guilt-ridden.
The better quest for the true "Super Parent" is not for perfection, but for information. While certainly a great part of parenting is using your gut instinct, sometimes you will need some help. There is so much you need to know about parenting a child and about supporting your partner. That information will not just fall from the sky like a pop fly to center field. No, you have to actively pursue it past the warning track and straight into the outfield wall.
That is where this About Baby's First Year can help. This empowers you with the ability to make educated decisions and gives you suggestions on how to develop a compassionate and supportive spirit. Whether you are looking for help on baby's development, activity ideas, budget tips, or even how to make time for your spouse or partner, you'll find information here to help you achieve that.
Truly, one of the keys to excelling as a parent and as a partner is being informed. Understand that it does not matter if you use the same information to make a different choice than the family down the street. It is not always black and white. about doing the "right" thing, but about doing what is right for your family. When you can grasp that difference, you free yourself from doubt, guilt, and the fear of doing something wrong. You will still make some mistakes - that is inevitable. However, you will know that you not only did the best with what you knew but also strove to learn as much as you could at that time. When you achieve all that, you can fully enjoy the role you play as parent and partner. In the end, that should be your ultimate goal.
Best wishes and happy parenting!
Undoubtedly, for the earlier months with your baby, you will be preoccupied with a few things. The most pressing of which is simply loving and getting to know your baby, as well as embracing your new role as parent. Sometimes new parents find themselves feeling that they have been dropped into new surroundings without any roadmap to guide them.
There are times when dads specifically feel a bit lost during this change. Mothers are often seen as tipping the scale of the nurturing parent, while fathers are portrayed as the bumbling parent who cannot fasten a diaper correctly. It is quite possible for any man -- even one with no infant experience -- to break free of that stereotype. With some foresight and planning, the scale can be balanced and fathers can accept the roles both of the nurturing parent and of the attentive partner. In the process, not only will dads bond with their baby, they will also be able to help relieve some of the burdens on the mother.
Here are some insights and tips for new fathers.