Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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6. Sleep whenever you can
Rest isn't a luxury-- it's necessary for your physical and emotional recovery. Try whatever works: napping when the baby sleeps, using a bedside bassinet or sharing your bed with the baby. "We had the nursery and crib all ready to go, but my baby ended up sleeping with us the first six weeks," says Glyck. As long as your bed is safe (for co-sleeping guidelines, visit the University of Notre Dame's mother-baby behavioral sleep lab at www.nd.edu/~jmckenn1/lab/index.html), it's too early to worry that your baby will never sleep alone. She'll adjust if and when you decide it's time for another arrangement.
7. Get your car seat inspected
While car crashes are a leading cause of infant death, babies in child-safety seats have an 80 percent lower risk of fatality, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Unfortunately, it's easy to incorrectly install and use the seat. Read both your car-seat's and your vehicle's owner manuals carefully, and take the time to have your handiwork inspected. Visit www.nhtsa.dot.gov or safekids.org for an online ZIP-code directory of police stations, car dealers and individuals qualified to provide free child-passenger safety checkups.
8. Bathe your baby like a pro
The kitchen sink is the ideal spot to scrub your sprout, says doula Vicky York. "You have to get on your knees and bend over a tub," she points out, "and in a tub the top half of her body gets cold fast." First, make sure you have all the necessities assembled: two towels, baby soap (this doubles as shampoo), cotton swabs, a diaper and a clean outfit.
Lay your baby on one of the towels spread out on the kitchen counter, soap her, then rinse her under the tap with warm--not hot--water, holding her by the ankles and around the shoulders, suggests York. Quickly wrap her in that towel and shampoo her head, rinse, then wash her face with the corner of the towel. Dry her head and face with the second towel, and inside her ears and between her toes with the cotton swabs, then dress her. For tips on other care basics, keep a favorite baby book close by; we like The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby From Birth to Age Two (Little, Brown, 2003) by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, R.N.