Baby’s First Year 

What You Can Do

Mission accomplished! Now what? Besides being a little short on sleep and a little short on quiet, parenthood is upon you (or enhanced if this isn’t your first time around!) Knowing your time is at a premium, here is a quick list of helpful tools to keep you in the know and equipped to fully experience the joys, and handle the challenges, of the life-changing event of a new baby.

Woman with baby

Understanding Your Baby’s Crying

Oh the joy. Oh the crying! The first few weeks at home you will be learning your baby’s behavior patterns. Infant crying has been researched and the Period of Purple Crying is a normal part of a baby’s development beginning at about 2 weeks. All babies cry, some a lot more than others.

  • Healthy crying babies can look like they are in pain, event when they are not.
  • Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.
  • Crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
  • No matter how frustrated you get, never shake your baby.

Try these tips to comfort your crying baby:

  • Hold your baby close with skin-to-skin contact.
  • Walk and sing with your baby.
  • Give your baby a warm bath.
  • Take your baby outside for a walk.
  • Check to see if your baby is hungry, tired or needs changing.
Woman doing yoga

Taking Care of You

As you recover from birth, your body is going through many changes and you will likely feel many different emotions and feelings. Do your best to take care of yourself by following these tips:

  • Try to get enough rest.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Spend a little time away from the baby each day (a few minutes for a quiet bath, etc.).
  • Take a walk.
  • Share your feelings with a partner, close friend or family member.
  • Find a local support system.
  • Give yourself time to heal and rest. Don’t expect too much from yourself.
  • Ask for help at home for cooking, laundry, cleaning or help with older children.
Baby hand holding adult hand

Baby Blues

Having the “blues” is a natural response to a drop in hormone levels after giving birth and can last from three days to two weeks. As you recover from giving birth and adjust to being a parent, you may feel overwhelmed leaving you tearful, exhausted and irritable.

Don’t go it alone! If you can’t shake your blues and have sadness, anxiety, despair or hopelessness, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Call your medical provider or maternity care coordinator.

If you are not sure, we encourage you to download a 10 question survey that will give you a good idea if you are experiencing depression.

Safe Sleep for Every Sleep

When you put your baby “safe to sleep” for every sleep, you reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other causes of sleep-related infant death.


• Place your baby “back to sleep” for naps and at night.
• Put your baby in a crib, bassinet or portable play yard with a firm mattress and tight-fitting sheet. No other items including crib bumpers should be in the crib.
• Breastfeed and room share. Once breastfeeding is established, a pacifier may be offered.


• Sharing your bed. While room sharing is encouraged, it is unsafe to a baby to sleep in a bed with any adult or child or sleep in or on a chair or couch.
• Overheating your baby while sleeping. Dress in a one piece sleeper or a sleep sack and keep temperature of room at a level comfortable to an adult, about 65 to 71 degrees.
• Smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs that alter your awareness while pregnant or caring for an infant.

Well-Baby Visits

You will see your baby’s doctor for your well-baby appointments and there will be many the first year including the first week, month, and then at 2, 4, 6 and 9 months and then at a year! These appointments are an important time to check-in with your provider, ask questions about your baby’s development and ensure that your baby gets immunized from certain diseases. Kids get most of their vaccines during the first two years of life.

Woman holding baby

When Your Baby Is Sick

Babies don’t come with an instruction book and sometimes it is hard to know what is wrong. If you have a health-related question, or think your baby may be sick, call your baby’s doctor. Samaritan Health Services pediatric and family medicine clinics have a nurse available 24/7 that can help answer your health-related questions about your baby.

If it is an emergency, take your baby to your local Emergency Department. 

Find Local Help

Access helpful health, community and social services in Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties by calling 2-1-1 or visiting Listings include where to find financial assistance, child care, counseling, WIC, prescription assistance and more.

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