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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > Infant and Children > Newborns and Infants > Caring for your baby

Caring for a baby can be very difficult at times. Because babies are so small, their only way to communicate is by crying. Some babies may seem to cry more than others and this can be frustrating to new parents. When you begin to feel frustrated, try to stay calm. Common reasons for crying include: the baby may be too hot or cold, his/her diaper may be wet or soiled, the baby may be hungry or he/she may need to be burped.

Isaiah crying.jpgTo sooth your baby, try a pacifier or toy to distract him/her, hold your baby, take the baby to a quiet room and rock him/her gently, take him/her for a ride in the car or stroller, or put the baby in an infant swing. If your baby continues to cry, and you start to feel frustrated and have tried all of the above suggestions, you may need a break. It is okay to lay the baby down on his/her back in a crib and give yourself a short break. You must check on the baby every five to ten minutes. During this time you can calm yourself by breathing slowly and deeply, calling a family member or friend, exercising nearby, listening to light music or reading. If your baby continues to cry, there could be a medical problem. In this case you may need to call your baby’s doctor for advice. You also can get help by calling 1-800-4-ACHILD. But remember, no matter how frustrated you get, please DON’T EVER SHAKE A BABY! Babies’ heads are significantly larger than their bodies. Shaking a baby causes his/her head to snap back and forth. This can cause a variety of physical injuries that lead to blindness, mental retardation, hearing loss, broken bones and even death.
Healthy eating for you and your baby after delivery 

Breast milk or formula is the only nutrition a newborn baby needs from birth to 4-6 photo of baby being fed with spoonmonths. An excellent resource on feeding infants can be found at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Information Center.
New moms may worry about how to lose the weight they gained during pregnancy. Give your body at least six weeks to recover. Eat sensibly and avoid fad diets. Stay active by walking when comfortable. Always talk to your doctor about when you can start more vigorous exercise. If you are breast feeding, your body will burn calories a little faster, so it is especially important to pay attention to what you eat and drink. To avoid putting on extra weight, stay away from sugary drinks. Avoid alcohol and excess intake of caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
Eventually, you will want to look for signs that your baby is ready for solid foods. This usually happens between four to six months of age. When it is time, your baby will sit with support, will have good head and neck control, and will move foods from the front of his/her mouth to the back in order to swallow. 
Baby’s first solid food should be iron-fortified, single grain infant cereal mixed with formula or water. Cereal should be fed on a spoon, and not in a bottle. At around five to six months, you can start feeding your baby other foods like pureed fruits and vegetables. Introduce one new food at a time, and watch your baby for five days for signs of allergies (e.g., skin rashes, runny nose, diarrhea and constipation) before starting another new food. Meats can be introduced around seven to ten months of age and whole cow’s milk after 12 months of age. For children two years old and older, use to determine how many calories and how much of each food group your child needs to continue to grow healthy and strong. The food pyramid website can also show you what serving size is right for your child’s age. For more information about feeding your growing child, ask your doctor or dietitian. 
Good nutrition for you and your baby starts with making the right food choices. It also includes taking care of baby’s teeth, weaning baby to an open cup (not a sippy cup) at the right time, and making sure that physical activity becomes a regular part of your life. Take walks together, play games together and limit television to two hours or less a day. Nourish your baby’s body with the right kinds of food and nourish his or her mind by reading out loud.