There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.” is not just that catchy tune from “The King and I.” It’s actually the most important task of the new family that was created when Baby emerged into the world.

How do the newborn baby and the parents, who have never met before, get to know each other?

The first few weeks of a baby’s life are very busy. There are many tasks to learn and do for the baby. Mommy is recovering from the arduous task of giving birth and waiting for her body to recover from the pregnancy. Daddy may find baby care more difficult than he thought it would be. Because new babies need frequent feeding and don’t have a clue about what is night and what is day, the grownups are sleep-deprived.

The best way to get to know a new baby is to observe how he or she does what newborns do. Babies come into the world with reflexes like rooting (turning to the side of the cheek that is touched), sucking, and swallowing. A newborn can sneeze, cough, yawn, hiccup, and stretch. Fun to watch the first sneeze but the real trick is to observe your baby’s temperament and personality. Calm or jumpy? Happy or grumpy? Eager or slow-to-warm-up?

The advice I give new parents is pretty simple:

* Spend lots of time with your baby.

* Pay attention to what the baby does and how he or she acts. Charles Darwin observed his own son and described what we know about infant development with amazing accuracy.

* Get to recognize your baby’s way of signaling being hungry, wet, tired.

* Give the baby your full, even if it is sometimes sleepy, attention. Don’t even think of multitasking. Turn off the phone and computer when Baby is awake.

* Talk to your baby. Tell the baby what you are doing and how much love you have in your heart.

* Be sure to hold the baby close so Baby can see your face.

* These precious days go by fast so take some pictures and keep a journal of milestones.

* Enjoy!

Everybody understands that the bride and groom go on a honeymoon to get to know each other as a married couple. I propose new parents have a “baby honeymoon”–a special time with both parents home from the workplace and doing nothing but taking care of the baby together, becoming accustomed to their new roles as Daddy and Mommy, and getting to know the baby. Alas, not every new parent gets time off from work but that’s another ParenTip on Family Leave and other family-friendly policies we need around here. (Marilyn’s Propaganda: Vote for candidates who support and advocate family-friendly policies. Our future depends on it.)