Being a new parent is exciting, but bringing the baby home from the hospital is just the first step. Now, you have to figure out how to take care of them for the next 18 years, or even the next 18 months! So, here are three things pediatricians and experienced moms think you need to know, courtesy of Parenting magazine.

  • About 20 years ago researchers discovered that putting babies down on their backs cut down on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. New parents: don’t freak out if your baby rolls over on their own in the middle of the night after five or six months. By the time babies are strong enough to turn themselves over, the risk of SIDS is lower. Parents should still put the baby down on their backs, but what the baby does after that is up to the baby.
  • Now, let’s talk about what should and shouldn’t be in the crib. Those big cushy bumpers that soften the edges are a waste of money and a huge hazard because they can suffocate the baby. Don’t buy them. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends putting nothing in the crib for the first year. After that, stuffed animals and toys are okay as long as the toys are smaller than the baby’s head and have no removable parts.
  • The last thing parents and pediatricians think you need to know is when to start feeding the baby anything other than breast milk. Pediatrician Jennifer Roche says, after about nine months you can start giving the baby bready foods. Just make sure the pieces are the size of your pinky nail so they can’t choke. Babies can eat dairy foods like yogurt or cheese after six months, but make sure it’s made of pasteurized, whole milk. Don’t go with low-fat products because babies need the extra fat for brain development. Never give a baby actual cow’s milk until they turn one! Cow’s milk has too much protein for the baby to handle and not enough of the vitamins and minerals the baby needs to develop properly.