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The Helpful New Dad: A Checklist by Month

Months One Through Three

By the time you get through the first few months, you will likely be a pro at caring for your baby. Changing your baby's diaper and his clothes, feeding him, and keeping him safe will become easier and easier. Reviewing a summary of what you should be doing at this age can still be helpful though. Be sure to do the following things:

    Put your baby to sleep on his back to prevent SIDS. If your crib has bumper pads, they should be removed.
    Vary his positioning so that he doesn't develop a flat head.
    Remember that you usually don't need to start solid foods yet.
    Don't confuse a growth spurt and increased breastfeeding as a sign that you have to supplement with formula.
    Talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child's growth or development.
    Continue to use a rear-facing car seat in the backseat.
    Don't leave your baby on places where he can roll off and fall.
    Avoid infections by not exposing your baby to a lot of people.
    Call your pediatrician if your baby has a fever at or above 100.4º Fahrenheit.
    Start using an insect repellent at two months if necessary.

Months Four Through Seven

For some dads, taking care of the baby in these months is becoming easier. The baby is doing more things, is bigger and likely seems less "breakable." Other dads find it is more challenging to take care of the baby as he gets older, because older babies are awake more, need to be entertained more, and can place more demands on a dad's time. Both types of dads likely still find that baby care is fun, though. Reviewing these tips can help you make sure that you aren't leaving out anything important:

    Continue to put your child to sleep on her back to prevent SIDS.
    Continue to vary her positioning and give her tummy time so that she doesn't develop a flat head.
    Don't start solids foods until your baby is showing signs of readiness.
    Once you start solid foods, do so slowly, only offering one new food every two to three days.
    By six months of age, begin giving your baby some water with fluoride.
    Move your child to a rear-facing convertible car seat if she outgrows her rear-facing infant seat.
    Avoid sun exposure when possible and use sunscreen.
    After six months, consider starting to restrict her pacifier use so that she doesn't become overly dependent on it.
    Use the harness in highchairs and don't leave your baby where she can fall.
    Begin cleaning her teeth once she starts getting them.
    Finish childproofing your house before your baby becomes more mobile.

Months Eight Through Twelve

As your baby's first year is coming to an end, you are likely feeling like a pro at all of this parenting stuff. Childproofing, diaper changes, feedings, and even baths are second nature to you.

    Continue to use a rear-facing car seat until your infant is at least 2 years old.
    Review how well your home is childproofed, because your child is much more mobile now.
    Use sunscreen and insect repellent when necessary.
    Remove crib bumper pads, if you haven't done so already. Also remove mobiles if your baby is able to stand up in her crib.
    Supervise your baby when she eats solid foods in case she chokes.
    Don't start regular cow's milk before your baby is a year old.
    Offer juice in a sippie cup (only offer small amounts of diluted 100 percent fruit juice).
    Clean your infant's teeth each day.
    Don't give in to tantrums.

From The Everything Father's First Year Book Copyright © 2005, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.

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