A Healthy Mouth
Even before your baby has a tooth, it is important to clean their gums. Gently stroke your baby’s gums using a clean, soft cloth and warm water. Make it fun for your baby by talking, singing, or counting while you wipe their gums. Say,
- I’m going to wipe your gums three times on each side, up and down.
- Here we go! One, two, three.
If your baby has teeth, make this a counting game. Count their teeth. Hold them up to a mirror and talk with them about their teeth.
You can use this gum cleaning as part of your baby’s bedtime routine. Going to bed with clean teeth is a healthy habit. Your warm and gentle touch may help to calm them before sleeping.
My Sleep Song
Create a bedtime routine! Pick a song you can sing to your baby every time you put them down for bedtime. You can read a book, say a rhyme, or tell a story. Bedtime routines can also include a bath or just you saying soothing words.
If you have more than one child, you can pick a different book, song, or rhyme for each child as their special “bedtime helper.”
Creating a routine that you do with your baby every time you put them to sleep will help them move from play time to bedtime.
Make family movement a part of every day! When your baby is little, try:
- Going for a short walk around the block
- Dancing to music in the house
- Climbing stairs
At first, you can take baby out in a carrier or stroller. As they grow, your baby will want to move, too! Let them share in the fun. Your daily movement does not need to be hard – it just has to include your baby!
Fifteen minutes is plenty… and be sure to have fun!
Make your baby’s dinner as colorful as possible. Serve foods with different colors and textures, too. Try mashed strawberries, blended spinach, or mashed yams.
Baby foods come in many flavors, colors, and textures. When you serve different ones, you can be sure that your baby is getting many vitamins and minerals.
When your baby is ready, let them try to feed themself!
I Can Drink It!
At about 6 months, let your baby try drinking from a cup. Try different kinds of cups, for example:
- small disposable paper cups,
- child’s plastic cups with handles,
- cups with pour spouts
- a sports bottle with a pop-up opening
Show your baby how to put the cup to their mouth and drink. Start with water, since it is easy to clean when it spills!