(BPT) - More than one adorable baby has thrilled his parents by taking his first unassisted steps ... only to sit back down on his little diapered bottom and not walk again for another month. The milestones of infancy and childhood are filled with ups and downs, as well as joy. Children go at their own pace as they achieve all the milestones their parents cherish.
'The wonderful transitions of babyhood and early childhood can be a source of both happiness and stress for parents if they feel things aren't going as smoothly or as quickly as they expect,' says Morgan Anderson, a blogger at Modern Mommyhood. 'Fortunately, parents can do a lot to support their little ones through these transitions so that everyone can savor each milestone as it comes.'
As the seasons turn, you may be thinking about all the changes your baby will go through in the coming months. Here are some tips to help your child - and you - stay happy and on-track through some typical transitions:
* Coming home from the hospital. Taking your newborn home from the hospital can be at once scary and exciting. Soak up every bit of knowledge you can from sources you trust, and ask plenty of questions in the hospital. Chances are the hospital will put your baby in Pampers - it's the No. 1 choice of U.S. hospitals. 'The Pampers Swaddlers line is their softest diaper ever, specially crafted to be gentle on a newborn's skin,' says Anderson. 'Fortunately, stores like Babies'R'Us make it easy to find the size and stage diapers that you need.'
* Sleeping through the night. The sleep deprivation of early parenthood is well-known, but at some point your baby will begin sleeping through the night. Dr. Danny Lewin, associate director of pediatric sleep medicine at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., says babies typically start sleeping for an 8-hour or more stretch after six months, according to Parents.com. Many factors determine when a baby is ready to sleep through the night, including his overall health, weight, required feeding frequency and whether he is able to soothe himself back to sleep. Nighttime wetness can also hinder a baby's sleep, so choosing a diaper, like Pampers Swaddlers, that keeps a baby dry and comfortable through the night can help facilitate longer periods of sleep.
* Starting solids. While newborns and infants need only breast milk or formula, you may have heard that eating solids is more likely to help a baby sleep through the night. Don't rush things, though. You can make the transition to solids more successful by waiting until your baby has developed the necessary skills to eat safely, including the ability to hold their head up on their own and sit up in a highchair. Look for signs of readiness, such as mouthing their own hands or toys, and an interest in what adults are eating. Generally, by 4 to 6 months, most babies are ready to try solids.
* Self-feeding. By about 7 months, babies are ready to begin feeding themselves. Choose soft foods that are easy for their little fingers to pick up. Remember, in the beginning a lot more food will wind up on babies' faces, shirts, highchairs and the floor than in their mouths. Since self-feeding is an important skill, don't even try to keep them clean. Instead, do your best to make cleanup easier by dressing them in a bib before meals (or stripping them down to their diapers). You can even place a disposable drop cloth under the highchair to catch spills.
* Walking. Parents eagerly await their baby's first steps, and you may worry that they're not walking soon enough or well enough. But the time frame for when babies should begin walking is huge - 9 to 18 months, by some estimates. Some babies go from their first tentative steps to running in no time, others take a little more time to get moving. 'The best thing parents can do to support their babies in walking is to be there to keep them safe, encourage progress and celebrate their success,' Morgan says. 'A diaper made for early walkers, like Pampers Cruisers, can also help reduce parents' stress levels. The diapers are designed for the best protection and fit for on-the-go babies.'
Your baby's development in the first year is amazing. By keeping a positive attitude and taking some simple supportive steps, parents can help ensure their baby's milestones and transitions go as smoothly as possible.