Infant Care

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

One of the greatest challenges a parent, caretaker, or child care provider faces is handling an infant and toddler. Following information can help you handle the child in a better way.

  • Breast milk provides the best nutrition for the baby and helps build stronger immunity to illnesses. However, each feeding should last no more than 10 to 20 minutes.
  • It is very important to be gentle when bathing an infant. You can then bathe the baby in a basin filled with two inches of warm water. The baby's head and neck should be supported throughout the procedure of bathing. Never leave the baby unattended in the bath.
  • To avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), put the infant's head in proper position. You can talk to the baby's doctor about what position is best if you have any concerns.
  • Young children need to get immunization vaccines for 10 major childhood diseases. Work with the baby's doctor to stay current on the recommended immunization schedule.
  • Care must be taken that the child is not shaken vigorously either while playing or in frustration. It can cause Shaken Baby Syndrome which results in bleeding in the brain and even death. If you need to wake your infant, don't shake him - instead, tickle his feet or blow gently on his cheek.
  • While driving or traveling, the baby should be securely fastened into the carrier, stroller, or car seat. Try to avoid car rides and any other activity that would be too rough or bouncy.
  • A newborn is not ready for rough play like being jiggled on the knee or thrown in the air and hence, they should be avoided.
  • The key to making potty training a short and stress-free experience is to make sure that the baby is ready for toilet training when you begin. Most training will occur during the six weeks that follow the start of the baby's toilet training. The whole process, however, may take a long time, but be patient and relax.
  • Diapers chosen should be of proper size. There are different kinds of diapers available like cotton fitted diapers, water proof wraps, etc. Choose which is suitable and they can be mixed-and-matched.
  • The two lower front teeth usually appear between 3 and 12 months of age. By 2 years of age children generally have at least 16 teeth. Hence care should be taken to maintain proper dental hygiene.
  • Bed-wetting problem should be dealt with properly and doctor's advice can also be taken for overcoming it. Bedwetting generally declines with age.
  • Moreover, the baby's crib should be carefully chosen. It should not have any corner posts. Never put a baby in a crib that has missing slats as that increases risks of accident. The locks and the latches should be smooth and tight enough to prevent accidental release.

Even though a lot has been written about toddler and infant care, most of it is pure common sense. Relax and trust your instincts. Watch the baby grow. Take pleasure in his personality and development. And never hesitate to ask for help.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,