Fearless First Year
Having a new baby in the house often means experiencing anxieties about things you never even knew existed. From SIDS to solids, here is expert advice to put your worried mind at ease.
the fear} I’ll screw up when it’s time for solids.
the facts} It’s simple: Breast milk (or formula) is all your baby needs for the first six months; at 6 to 8 months, start serving her baby cereal and puréed cooked fruit and vegetables. At 8 to 10 months, move on to mashed versions of adult foods (minus milk or honey). After that, your baby should be ready for chunkier foods as long as she’s not having difficulty chewing. (See “What You Should Worry About,” left, for choking hazards.)
solutions} To make eating solids attractive, offer foods popular among the 1-and-under crowd. These include well-cooked, unsalted sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, squash, peas, green beans and mangos, as well as raw, mashed bananas.
the fear} My life is over (and I’ll need a minivan)!
the facts} Today’s mothers are starting families later, having fewer kids and logging more hours at the office than ever before. This means more time to nurture your career and interests before and after you start a family. “You don’t automatically have to give up everything you’ve valued,” says Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D., co-director of the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media and author of five parenting books, including Pregnancy and Your Baby’s First Year (Avon Books, 1994). “Parenting, like much of life, is about adapting to change in creative ways,” he explains.
solutions} Take a cue from Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Shara Frederick, who started monthly new-mom get-togethers (called Tots and Tonic) to combat isolation and to chat about interests besides diaper brands. If you’ve left work, stay in touch with your pals from the office. Pursue a hobby without guilt—a happy mom makes for a happy baby. And cool new baby products, from cleverly disguised diaper bags to sleek strollers, mean you don’t have to abandon your stylish tastes.