Helpful tips: Five firsts for your baby

PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images
PHOTO: Gallo images/ Getty images

One of the SuperMoms in our Facebook community recently asked when she could take her two-week-old daughter to the beach for the first time. In response we give you some helpful hints for five firsts for baby.

1.     Baby’s first flight

Ideally your baby should be at least two to three months old before they fly. This will give their immune system a chance to grow strong enough to resist the germs that often make the rounds in aeroplane ventilation systems. It also gives the two of you enough time to settle into a routine and master the art of bottle- or breastfeeding. If you can’t wait that long, they should be okay to fly after their two-week checkup – provided they have a clean bill of health and you had a full-term pregnancy without complications.

Quick tips: 

·         Airlines won’t allow babies younger than one week to fly without a doctor’s note.

·         Your baby will feel more comfortable if they have something to suck on during takeoff and landing, so you may want to breastfeed or give them a bottle or pacifier.

·         You can give them some infant pain medication if their ears really seem to bother them.

·         To minimise disruption to your baby’s schedule when crossing time zones, you may want to keep one watch set to your home time so you’ll know what your baby’s expecting next.

2.     Going to the beach

Don’t think you have to rule out the beach just because your baby is an infant or even a newborn. In fact, babies younger than six months may be content to spend some time napping or just looking around, giving you more time to relax. Whether you’re taking an infant or toddler, concerns when going to the beach are similar – the pack list just gets longer and your relaxation time shorter.

Quick tips:

·         Make sure to use an infant sunscreen as most other sunscreens aren’t meant for babies younger than six months.

·         Be sure to stay in the shade despite applying sunscreen as baby’s skin is extremely sensitive. A beach umbrella is ideal for short visits, but if you’re going to extend your stay, invest in a gazebo or beach tent.

·         Be conscious of temperature and make sure your baby is comfortable at all times.

·         Take a blanket or big towel to spread out and sit on with baby or lie them down on for a nap.

3.     Baby’s first boat trip

Your baby shouldn’t go on a boat ride – including on rowboats, kayaks, motorboats or sailboats – until they weigh at least 8 kg and can wear a snug-fitting personal flotation device (PFD). On average this will be at about seven months for boys and nine months for girls. It can be difficult finding an infant-size PFD and even if the label says the device is approved for children weighing less than 14 kg, your infant must be at least 8 kg for it to fit them properly.

            Quick tips:

·         It’s important to check how well the PFD fits. Put it on your child, tighten the straps, and lift them up by the jacket’s shoulders. If their chin and head slip through the neck opening then it doesn’t fit, and it will be a bit longer before you can safely go boating together.

·         Staying safe yourself helps you keep your baby safe. So it’s just as important for you to wear a PFD at all times on a boat. In an emergency, there might not be enough time for you to put one on.

·         Never leave your baby unattended on a boat or dock, even if they’re wearing a PFD.

4.     Time for a swim

Letting your baby get used to water early in life not only makes sense as a safety precaution, swimming is also fun and good exercise for mom and baby. However, it’s best to wait until they’re at least six weeks old. There’s no need to wait until your baby is immunised before taking them into a pool.

Quick tips:

·         Babies younger than six months should only swim in water heated to about 32 °C and if you take your baby for swimming lessons, make sure it will take place in a heated pool.

·         If you’ve had a caesarean section or stitches your doctor may recommend you wait longer than six weeks before you get in the water.

·         Start off with sessions of 10 minutes and build up to 20 minutes. If your baby is under a year old, limit your time in the water to 30 minutes.

5.     Moving from a cot to a bed

There’s no set time to move your little one from a cot to a bed, but most kids make the transition between 18 months and three-and-a-half years. The best indicator it’s time to make the move is when your child tries to climb or jump out of their cot. Moving them into a bed at this point means you don’t have to worry about them getting hurt and, if they’re potty training, they’ll be able to get to the toilet by themselves when they wake up.

Quick tips:

·         To ease the transition, put the bed in the same place as the cot.

·         Your child may find it soothing to continue to sleep with their old cot blanket, even if it’s too small.

·         No matter how prepared your child is to move to a bed, always put up a guardrail to prevent them from rolling over and falling out of the new bed.


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