A baby in the family

Have you just heard that you’re going to have a new baby in the family? Are you excited? Are you a bit worried? What are babies like?
Younger children can help feed the baby. Net photo.
Younger children can help feed the baby. Net photo.

Have you just heard that you’re going to have a new baby in the family? Are you excited? Are you a bit worried? What are babies like?
These are some things that you may notice first about babies...
. They are incredibly small and cute!!
. The head may be a bit uneven. Don’t worry - this will look OK soon.
. You can see a soft bit on top of her head moving up and down. This is called the fontanelle (fon-tan-elle) and is quite normal.
. They will do some things straight away like hold on to your finger (or hair if you get too close) and suck your finger if you put it into their mouth (make sure your finger is clean before you try this).
. They may bring back up some of the food.
. They may do lots of poos at first.
. They may cry a lot at first.

Getting to know your baby
When babies first come into the world, they don’t know anything. They don’t know where they are or who their family is.
. Move slowly and speak gently to them so that they feel safe.
. Hold and rock them gently on your lap if they cry and your mum or dad say it is OK.

Why babies cry
Babies can’t tell you what they want - the only way they can get your attention is to cry. They cry if...
. They are hungry or thirsty
. They are wet and need changing
. They are too hot or too cold
. They are tired
. They are in pain
. They are scared
What you can do to help with the baby

How big are you? If you are big enough or old enough, you may be able to help mum a lot with looking after the baby.

You may be allowed to hold, bath, fasten them in their pram or car seat, even walk them around the house or garden to give them something to look at if they are upset.

You could play or feed them as they get bigger. Wash their dummies and give it back if it drops. Mum or Dad will show you how.

If you are very small yourself, you may only be able to do a few of these things and only with your parents present.

Sing little songs and rhymes to the baby, the sort of songs you learned when you were a little kid.

Make the baby laugh by clapping your hands or poking out your tongue.

Play games like Peek-a-Boo, hiding your face then smiling when you say, ”Boo”.

Having a new baby in your family is really special. If everyone in the family helps take care of the baby, they will be very happy to be part of such a happy family.

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