Wow – caring for a new baby is a big job! What are you supposed to do now that your cutie pie is home?
- Breastfeeding: It’s the best choice for you and for your baby. If you’ve read our other guides, we know you’re tired of hearing about it. But remember – not only does breastfeeding make your baby healthier, but it also costs less than formula. And breastfeeding mothers can get WIC benefits longer than those who aren’t breastfeeding! Click here for help and resources.
- Solid Foods: If you’re breastfeeding, try to only feed your baby breastmilk for the first 6 months. After that time, you can start giving your baby solid food. Believe it or not, babies can handle all sorts of foods before age 1. Click here for info on introducing solids.
- Doctor Visits: Make sure you have a doctor for your baby. Take your baby for regular check-ups to make sure they are growing and healthy. LaCHIP or your Medicaid plan can connect you with an affordable doctor in your area.
- Care: Above all, make sure your baby is safe. This includes having a car seat. But there is a lot more to think about – from how you bathe your baby or where you change their diapers, to childproofing your home against things that could be poisonous. Check out the Safe Kids website for safety tips for your baby.
- Sleeping: There are several things you must do to reduce your baby’s chances of SIDS or suffocation. Your baby needs to sleep alone, on their backs, and in a crib or pack-n-play. Remove toys, stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, or bumper pads in the crib. For more info about safe sleep habits, visit Give Your Baby Space.
- What’s normal? Your baby is going to grow really fast! You might wonder what’s normal for your baby. How often should they cry? When will they start to crawl? BabyCenter helps you know what to expect from month to month. Remember, even if you feel frustrated, never ever shake or hit your baby.
- Lead poisoning prevention: When your baby is around 6 months old, ask your doctor about testing for lead levels in his or her blood. Learn more about how to keep your child safe from lead. And don’t worry – you can prevent lead poisoning by taking the right steps!
- Hurricanes: Storms are part of living in Louisiana. Now that you have another person to keep safe, it’s important to prepare for severe weather. For help creating a plan, visit the Get a Game Plan website. And our helpline is always standing by: 1-800-251-BABY (2229).
- Shots: Babies need vaccinations to keep them healthy and safe from infections. Talk to your baby’s doctor to make sure they are up to date. If you have questions about shots and when they should happen, check out Shots for Tots.
- LaCHIP: If you don’t have health insurance for your child, you can get insurance through the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP). In the meantime, visit a doctor at a Parish Health Unit (PHU) or a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
- Parenting Tips: Here are a few great websites with tips on caring for your baby, including how to make diaper changes easy:
- Need help paying for groceries? Click here to learn more about WIC eligibility. You can also sign up for the Louisiana Commodity Supplemental Food Program. Call Food for Families toll-free at 1 (800) 522-3333 or see if you qualify here.
Prepare to have your hands full! With a toddler, you’ll deal with potty training, walking, and talking. Your little one will keep you on your toes! Here are some ways you can be ready for this exciting time.
- Doctor Visits: Make sure you have a regular doctor for your toddler! Take your child for regular check-ups to make sure they are growing and healthy. If your child has LaCHIP or Medicaid, click here to find a doctor near you. Choose “Pediatrics” under Specialty to find doctors that specialize in caring for kids.
- Shots: Don’t forget, your child still needs regular vaccinations. Usually, your child will receive shots based on the recommended schedule: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12-15 months, 4 years. Ask your doctor how shots keep your child healthy and safe.
- Child Proofing: Your toddler will explore more and more as they start walking! Safe Kids USA has information tips to help you prevent accidents at home and create a safe space for your child to grow and play.
- Car Seats: Make sure you use a properly installed car seat. The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission offers safety checks for car seats. You can also find information about child passenger safety.
- Emergency Numbers: You never know when you’ll need help during an emergency. Make a list of important phone numbers, including to call your child’s doctor, the fire department, or poison control. Keep it in plain sight. If a friend or family member is caring for your toddler, make sure to include your phone numbers and other emergency contacts.
- Lead poisoning prevention: When your child is between 6 months and 6 years old, ask your doctor about getting your child tested for lead in their blood. Learn more about protecting your child from lead. And don’t worry – you can prevent lead poisoning by taking the right steps!
- Hurricanes: They’re part of living in Louisiana. Now that you have someone else to take care of, it’s really important to have a plan. For help figuring it all out, visit Get a Game Plan. And remember, our hotline is always standing by to help: 1-800-251-BABY (2229).
- Health Insurance: If you don’t have health insurance for your child, you can get insurance through the Louisiana Children’s Health Insurance Program (LaCHIP). In the meantime, visit a doctor at a Parish Health Unit (PHU) or a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC).
- Healthy Development: Lot’s of milestones! As a parent, you have lots to think about – from feeding your toddler and caring for their dental health, to potty training and playtime. Here are a few websites that can help you understand your child’s growth and development:
- Poison Control: Kids can be curious! And now, your child is old enough to open cabinets and explore your home. In case of emergencies, keep the Poison Control Hotline nearby: 1 (800) 222-2222.
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