Your Baby's Development Between Two and Three Years

It's thrilling to watch your baby grow and develop, as they learn about you and the world around them. 

The information below shows some things your baby may be doing at two years of age and up. Keep in mind that every baby develops differently. Your baby may reach any of these milestones significantly before or after this age. Chances are, her development is proceeding perfectly normally.

Between two and three years: 

Vocabulary grows rapidly and child starts combining nouns with verbs to form three to four-word sentences 
Begins to use pronouns, such as "I" and "me," and other parts of speech 
May begin to ask "why" questions 
Pays attention to what others say, whether to him or to someone else

Your baby's motor skills encompass all sorts of movement, from supporting her head, to crawling, to holding a crayon. 

Gross motor skills involve control of the large muscle groups active in kicking, crawling and walking, among other movements. Fine motor skills typically cover movement and manipulation of objects with the hands -- skills such as reaching, grasping, picking things up and pointing. 

Between two and three years: 


Constantly on the move 
Loves to be chased 
Enjoys going down slides, swinging and running around playgrounds
May pedal small tricycle 
Learns to walk on tiptoe and may be able to stand on one foot 
May count stairs and jump off the final step 
Jumping in place still takes great effort and coordination 


Child learns to coordinate movements of his wrist, fingers and palm
May unscrew lids, turn knobs, unwrap paper

Babies are highly aware of their surroundings from the beginning. Given time, stimulation, love and interaction with the people in their lives, their understanding of the world grows surprisingly quickly. 

Between two and three years: 

Starts to solve problems in his head 
May understand number concepts like ordination (one dog, two dogs) and the process of classification (a cat is an animal)

Helping Your Child Avoid Allergens

Keeping Kids' Allergies Under Control
Pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander are the most common allergens. Here are 9 ways you can help your child avoid allergens—and avoid allergy flare-ups.

Improve the air quality.
Keep windows closed and use air conditioning (fans can stir up dust). Filter the air from air conditioning and heating vents with cheesecloth or HEPA filters. Clean air filters frequently, and air ducts once a year. Use a dehumidifier (especially in basements) to keep humidity below 50% and prevent mold growth. Don't allow tobacco smoke in the house.

Keep it clean.
Vacuum frequently. Wash bed linens and towels in hot water (at least 130° F), put laundry in the dryer right away so it doesn't grow any mold - and don't hang laundry outside to dry where it can collect pollen.

Allergy-free decorating.
Avoid venetian blinds and curtains that can't be washed, storing firewood indoors, carpeting, throw rugs, and indoor plants.

Keep pets outside as much as possible—and especially keep them out of the bedroom. Brush pets outside to remove loose hair, dander, and other allergens. Consider using an air filtration system.

Places your child should avoid.
Allergen-heavy areas like basements, crawl spaces, garages, barns, and compost heaps. Freshly cut grass.

Choose your child's outings wisely.
Check weather forecasts and pollen counts. When possible, keep kids indoors on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are highest.

Time your child's outings wisely.
Try to keep kids indoors between 5a.m. and 10a.m., when pollen counts are highest.

Leave the allergens outside.
Have your child shower and change clothes right away after being outdoors for extended periods. This will remove pollen and prevent it from spreading around the house.

Keep allergy medicine handy.
Always keep a few doses of your child's allergy medicine with you—especially when traveling. That way, even if your child's allergies flare up, you can keep him comfortable.

Baby's First Portrait

Baby's First Portrait
Sometimes sitting in front of the camera can be a bit scary for your baby or toddler, especially if she is in a new place and there's a photographer, rather than you, taking the picture. To keep your little one calm, one mom suggests talking to her ahead of time about the experience and offering a reward, such as visiting a favorite play place after the picture has been taken. Another mom recommends going in the afternoon after your child has had a nap and a meal. You can also play games that she's familiar with at home, such as peekaboo, while the photographer snaps a picture.

Getting Your Baby Ready

Make sure your baby is looking her best for her portrait by giving her a bath beforehand. Try using a gentle, moisturizing baby cleanser to nourish and cleanse your baby's skin, such asJOHNSON'S® Moisture Care Baby Wash. After her bath, you can moisturize her skin with JOHNSON'S® Baby Lotion, which has that wonderful baby-fresh scent. For drier skin, you can tryJOHNSON'S® SOOTHING NATURALS™ Nourishing Lotion.

As you're getting her ready, pick out one of your favorite outfits for her to wear. Make sure it fits well and avoid any busy fabrics or large frills, as these can detract from your baby's smiling face! If it's a group shot, try to get coordinating colors for everyone. Keep your baby's hair trim and simple, ribbons and barrettes shouldn't be too big. Use JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo when bathing her to leave her growing hair soft, shiny and clean.

Having your baby's picture taken is quite a momentous occasion. You'll be left with a beautiful photograph you'll want to keep forever.

To get more advice on having your baby's portrait taken,

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

Baby's First Birthday

Baby's First Birthday
Planning the Party

Planning your baby's first birthday can really depend on how much you'd like to spend. Some parents like to go all out, but most prefer to keep it simple. One way to keep things simple is to have the party in your home or, if the weather permits, in your backyard. Food doesn't have to be too complicated – pizza, hot dogs or hamburgers are easy items that typically go over well. Just be sure to cut up all food (especially hotdogs) to avoid a choking hazard. And remember you don't have to invite everyone – you may want to consider inviting only a few close friends and family members. You don't want to overwhelm your baby. Too many people, too much attention, and too many loud noises can sometimes give her a bit of a scare.


Decorations should be kept simple and fuss-free. Balloons are a fun, cheerful and inexpensive option, but make sure they're placed away from where your baby could pop them (off the floor, for example). The loud bang from a popped balloon could turn your baby's cheers into tears. Also, pieces of a popped balloon are a choking hazard, so be sure to pick them up if one pops. Watch out for small pieces of ribbon or bows as well, as they can be a choking hazard. When choosing balloons, consider getting foil balloons since they're harder to pop and tend to do so with less of a bang.

Getting Her Ready

It's usually a good idea to give your baby a nap before the party and to keep the party fairly short. The last thing you want is a fussy birthday girl. To get your baby ready for the party, pick out one of your favorite baby outfits and give her a bath. When bathing her, use a gentle cleanser specially formulated for babies, such asJOHNSON'S® Moisture Care Baby Wash and a gentle shampoo formulated not to sting her eyes, such as JOHNSON'S® Baby Shampoo. After the bath, you can give her that wonderful baby-fresh scent by using a gentle baby moisturizer, such asJOHNSON'S® Baby Lotion, or for drier skin, try JOHNSON'S® SOOTHING NATURALS™ Nourishing Lotion.

Getting a Little Messy

Things are sure to get a bit messy, especially at eating time (and when there's cake involved), so you may want to put a washable sheet or cloth under the dining area. Also, you may want to hand out a few washable bibs to other parents for their little ones, and you may want to put a bib on the birthday girl as well. You can use any JOHNSON'S® cleanser for a gentle hand and face washing before and after mealtime. Because there are bound to be a few germs passed back and forth amongst the young guests (especially during playtime), it's also important to wash your baby's hands to help keep her healthy. Encourage adults at your party to wash their hands as well, as they can also pass along germs.


You're baby is sure to receive plenty of gifts – although she may be more interested in the wrapping paper than the present itself. Be sure to pick out age-appropriate items for gifts. Consider choosing items that promote learning and encourage creativity, such as books, stackable items and blocks.

Your baby's first birthday is an exciting moment. Be sure to take pictures and have lots of fun. It's a moment you'll never want to forget.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

Tips for Breast-feeding Success

It's helpful for a woman who wants to breast-feed to learn as much about it as possible before delivery, while she is not exhausted from caring for an infant around-the-clock. The following tips can help foster successful nursing:

Get an early start
Nursing should begin within an hour after delivery if possible, when the infant is awake and the sucking instinct is strong. Even though the mother won't be producing milk yet, her breasts contain colostrum, a thin fluid that contains antibodies to disease.

Proper positioning
The baby's mouth should be wide open, with the nipple as far back into his or her mouth as possible. This minimizes soreness for the mother. A nurse, midwife or other knowledgeable person can help her find a comfortable nursing position.

Nurse on demand
Newborns need to nurse frequently, about every two hours, and not on any strict schedule. This will stimulate the mother's breasts to produce plenty of milk. Later, the baby can settle into a more predictable routine. But because breast milk is more easily digested than formula, breast-fed babies often eat more frequently than bottle-fed babies.

No supplements
Nursing babies don't need sugar water or formula supplements. These may interfere with their appetite for nursing, and that can lead to a diminished milk supply. The more the baby nurses, the more milk the mother will produce.

Delay artificial nipples
It's best to wait a week or two before introducing a pacifier, so that the baby doesn't get confused. Artificial nipples require a different sucking action than real ones. Sucking at a bottle could also confuse some babies in the early days. They, too, are learning how to breast-feed.

Air dry
In the early postpartum period or until her nipples toughen, the mother should air dry them after each nursing to prevent them from cracking, which can lead to infection. If her nipples do crack, the mother can coat them with breast milk or other natural moisturizers to help them heal. Proper positioning at the breast can help prevent sore nipples. If the mother's very sore, the baby may not have the nipple far enough back in his or her mouth.

Watch for infection
Symptoms of breast infection include fever, painful lumps and redness in the breast. These require immediate medical attention.

Expect engorgement
A new mother usually produces lots of milk, making her breasts big, hard and painful for a few days. To relieve this engorgement, she should feed the baby frequently and on demand until her body adjusts and produces only what the baby needs. In the meantime, the mother can take over-the-counter pain relievers, apply warm, wet compresses to her breasts and take warm baths to relieve the pain.

Eat right, get rest
To produce plenty of good milk, the nursing mother needs a balanced diet that includes 500 extra calories a day and six to eight glasses of fluid. She should also rest as much as possible to prevent breast infections, which are aggravated by fatigue. 

Source: FDA Consumer, A magazine of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Why Babies Cry

Babies cry for the same reason adults talk - to communicate. Crying is the only way for infants to tell us when something is wrong. But while the baby may know what's wrong, it's often more difficult for new parents to decipher the meaning of their baby's cries. As your baby grows, you will learn to recognize and differentiate among her various cries. 

Newborns sometimes cry up to four hours a day, and each cry can send a different message. 

I'm in pain 
Generally unmistakably loud and sudden, with long high-pitched shrieks followed by a pause and then a wail. If you are unable to find a minor cause, you should call your healthcare provider immediately if this type of crying persists and the baby is inconsolable. 

I'm lonely or bored 
Often your baby's coos will turn to a wail if she doesn't get the attention she wants or needs. Rest assured that no amount of love, cuddling, hugging, and caring will spoil your baby in the first six months. 

I'm tired or uncomfortable 
If your baby's cries are whiny, nasal, and continuous, chances are she's overtired, about to have a bowel movement, too warm, too cold, or otherwise uncomfortable. 

I just need to cry 
If your baby is "good" all day, sometimes she just needs to release energy by crying. This usually occurs at the end of the day, or the "witching hour." 

I'm cranky 
Some babies are just fussy by nature. Irritable crying varies in duration and occurs randomly, without an apparent cause. 

I have gas 
Gas is very common in infants, affecting more than half of all newborns. Gas bubbles can cause discomfort, leading to crankiness and crying. Many infants with gas will also pull their legs up, lying in a curled position for relief.

Giving your baby a bath

You'll want to sponge-bathe your baby until his circumcision and umbilical cord stump have healed (usually a week to 10 days). Most parents prefer sponge baths during this time because it is easier to hold the baby without worrying about slippery bathwater. 

Holding the baby's head, use a fresh cotton ball or square moistened with water for each eye. Wipe gently from the inside corner of the eye out. 

Be careful with the soft spot on his head, but don't be afraid to touch it. 

Using a soft washcloth and plain water, gently wipe your baby's entire face. Pay special attention to behind the ears and creases in the neck. Gently pat dry with a soft towel. 
To clean nostrils, use a fresh cotton swab moistened with water to gently wipe just inside each nostril. Be careful not to push the swab or let water drip into his nose. 

To clean ears, use a damp washcloth or cotton swab and clean the outer ear. Use a swab designed to help prevent entry too deep in your baby's ear (such as JOHNSON'S® Safety Swabs). 
Unwrap and remove the diaper. Wet and lather your hand or washcloth and wash the rest of your baby's body, washing the diaper area last. 

To clean the genital area, always wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from the bowel from spreading to the genital area. Rinse and gently pat baby dry. Apply lotions or creams from front to back, too. 

Moving up to the big tub: 
When your baby is about 2 to 8 weeks old, he's probably ready for a small tub. A baby tub can sit in the kitchen sink or in the big tub, whichever is easier for you. When your baby is able to hold his head up and keep his back straight, he can move up to the grown-up tub. Be sure to put a non-slip mat on the bottom. You may also want to use a plastic bath seat. While this will give you an extra hand, it's not a substitute for keeping your eye on your baby at all times. 

At first your baby may feel overwhelmed by the size of the bathtub. The sound and sensation of running bathwater may be disconcerting, so fill the tub before putting him in - just a couple of inches is all you'll need to do the job and let your baby splash without feeling scared.

Bonding With Your Baby

You'll never forget the first time you and your baby locked eyes, connecting for the first time. But bonding is actually a lifelong process of building a relationship, not a single magical moment. It begins during pregnancy, and is strengthened after birth. 

Even before your baby is born, he knows who you are. Research shows that by the seventh and eighth month, a fetus's heart rate slows down slightly whenever his mother is speaking, indicating that mom's voice has a calming effect. Studies also show that when newborns are offered two nipples that trigger two different voices when sucked, they'll almost always choose the one that triggers their mother's voice. 

The initial closeness that a mother and baby have just after birth produces physiological responses that enhance bonding. For the mother, breastfeeding releases maternal hormones, such as oxytocin, which fosters relaxation and nurturing feelings. The baby is comforted by the warmth of his mother's body and by the sound of her voice. 

Experts agree that bonding with your baby is essential to the baby's emotional and cognitive growth. Self-esteem is formed in the first year of life. Letting your baby know that he is the center of your world gives him a sense of security, confidence and self-esteem. Imagine how incredible it would be if everyone gave you their undivided attention, as if you were the most important person in the world. That's how an infant's life should be.

Bathing Safety

Here are some tips to keep baby happy and safe at bath time: 
Set your hot-water heater at 120 degrees or lower. 

Gather everything you need beforehand. Never leave your baby alone in the bath or on the changing table, not even for an instant. A child can drown in less than an inch of water. 

If the phone rings - ignore it! Let the answering machine pick up. 

Fill the tub with only 2 to 3 inches for newborns and infants up to six months old and never more than waist-high (in sitting position) for older children. 

Test the water temperature to be sure it's not too hot - between 90 and 100°F is ideal. 

In a large tub, use a non-slip mat and a supportive plastic bath seat if your baby needs help sitting up. 

Cover the bathroom floor with non-slip rugs. 

Teach your child to sit in the tub at all times. 

Consider using a padded faucet cover to prevent bumps and burns, especially if your child is active. 

Bathing can be fun! Bath time isn't just for getting clean! Try these activities for fun in the tub: 

Play peek-a-boo with a rubber ducky or other water-friendly toy, dipping the toy under the water and bringing up onto your baby's belly, shoulder, etc. 

Add a plastic boat or other floating device to the water and show your baby how the toy rocks when the water is splashed. 
Punch holes in the bottom of an empty yogurt container. Fill it with bath water and make it "rain" in the tub. 

Make a hand puppet by sewing washcloths together. Have the puppet sing or talk in a funny voice as you soap your baby with it. 

Make "bath-soup" using spoons, measuring cups, strainers and other cooking utensils to stir and mix the water. 
Anything plastic that floats, splashes, or squirts makes a great bath toy. Remember to clean the toys in hot soapy water.

Baby's Sense of Sight

Visual stimulation is another important way to engage your baby's interest in her surroundings. Newborns can focus best on objects 7-15 inches from their eyes, which is, appropriately enough, the distance from baby's face to mother's face during breastfeeding. Stimulating your baby's vision helps develop eye muscles and eye control. Because your newborn can see only this short distance and is relatively immobile, it is up to you to provide a variety of things to see. 

Of all visual stimuli, animated and talking faces draw the newborn's attention the most. Newborns will gaze most frequently at the edges of faces. As they get older, they will gaze into your eyes. By 2 days, your baby will be able to tell the difference between your face and that of another woman. Smiling, talking, facial expressions and eye contact help to create a loving bond between you and your infant. 

Newborns also like to look at high-contrast patterns and highly contrasted colors such as black and white, or red and yellow. Try placing colorful stuffed toys or patterned cards in the crib. Babies only a few hours old can distinguish red, yellow and green from gray. By 2 months, and sometimes even by 1 month, babies appear to have largely normal color vision. Not everything has to be colorful; even the contrast between light and dark areas of the room fascinates infants. 

Your baby will also enjoy looking at objects that move, such as mobiles. Secure these items and place them far enough away that your baby can't touch or kick them. Changing your baby's field of view can be achieved by simply changing her position, especially in the first few months, before she can roll over by herself. 

Here are some developments in your baby's sense of sight you may have noticed in the first few months: 

Your baby can focus on objects about 8-12 inches away -- perfect for viewing your face while you feed him. However, eye "crossing," either persistently now, or at any amount after 4 months, is abnormal and should be discussed with your baby's healthcare professional. 
An infant's eye muscles are weak, so his eyes may sometimes seem uncoordinated. 
He watches and listens intently when you talk to him. 
He prefers human faces. 
Let your baby study your face at close range. Use a lot of exaggerated facial expressions and imitate the faces he makes. 
Maintain eye contact with him whenever you can, for as long as he likes. 
Smile at your baby often to show your love, good humor and approval. 
Carry your baby about, supporting him so he can look over your shoulder or face forward. 
Show him pictures and objects with highly contrasting patterns or colors. Babies also like bright, shiny objects. 
Open the blinds, or raise the window shades to see if he moves his head toward the light. 
Secure a brightly colored mobile to your baby's crib. Remove it when he can raise himself to hands and knees or when he can sit up. 
Your baby's eyes can partially follow an object moving slowly in a circular direction. 
He can see objects in more detail, and can focus on things up to 20 feet away. 
He likes to look at objects of various shapes, sizes and colors. He especially enjoys looking in the mirror.

Quiet Alert

Most babies will be in this state, ready to respond to their surroundings, for 2-4 hours each day. When you interact with him, your baby may move his body or stare intently at objects within his range. This period is when your baby eats, and it is also the best time to stimulate his senses of touch, sight and hearing. 

Your baby's ability to focus is improving. 
She can follow an object as you move it slowly from side to side. 

She searches for the source of sounds and turns her head when a gentle noise is made near her ear. 
She prefers to watch bright, moving objects.

Some ways to stimulate your baby's sense of sight include:

Take your baby with you as you move from room to room during the course of the day. 
Show your baby objects of varying shapes, sizes and colors. Make sure that none of the items are small enough for her to put in her mouth. 
Slowly move a colorful object across your baby's line of vision to see whether she follows it. 
Take your baby on daily walks. 
Place a colorful toy near your baby's face while she's lying on her stomach to encourage her to lift her head to see it. 
Place your baby in an infant seat or hold him in your lap so that he has an upright view of his surroundings. 
Hang colorful, cheerful pictures on your baby's bedroom walls

All About Infant Gas

Could gas be making my baby fussy?
Gas is very common in babies, affecting more than half of all newborns within the first two months of life. Gas bubbles can often cause discomfort, leading to crankiness and crying. Many babies suffering from gas pull their legs up, lying in a curled position in an effort to relieve the discomfort.

How can I prevent my baby from getting gas?
  • Avoid "gassy" foods such as beans, bran, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, caffeine, and onions while you are nursing. These can cause your infant to get gas.

  • Avoid feeding your baby cow’s milk, as it can cause gas. Talk to your pediatrician about other options.

  • Make sure the nipple is the right size if you are bottle-feeding. If the nipple is too large, it will make your baby eat too fast; if it’s too small, it will cause your baby to gulp air.

  • Burp your baby every three to five minutes during feedings, or before switching breasts if nursing.

  • Burp your baby up against your shoulder, face down across your lap, or sitting upright on your lap, supporting her head and chest as you gently pat her back.

  • Avoid jostling or playing vigorously with your baby after feedings.

  • Encourage quiet time after your baby eats.

How can I relieve my baby’s gas?
  • Hold your baby gently, but securely, over your arm in a face-down position, known as the "gas hold."

  • Give your baby an anti-gas medicine to break down gas bubbles.

For more information about infant gas, visit

A Guide to Infant Massage

A Guide to Infant Massage
Research shows that massage can relax babies, improve their sleep patterns, and calm them when they are irritable. Infant massage should last about 15 minutes. Don't worry if you have only five or ten minutes: even a short massage is good for your baby. Choose a warm, quiet room and play background music if you like. 

Using a lotion or oil will help reduce friction and make the massage more soothing. Make sure you use a product that is gentle enough for your infant's skin. JOHNSON'S® Baby Lotion is easy to use, smells great and is hypoallergenic. For extra ease, you may prefer to use JOHNSON'S® Baby Oil because it spreads smoothly. It's also allergy- and dermatologist-tested so it's gentle enough for your baby. Whether you choose lotion or oil, place a quarter-sized amount in your palm and rub your hands together to distribute. 

Start with your baby lying on his stomach. Then gently rub your hands (make sure they're warm) back and forth six times on each of the following areas for about one minute in each area:

1. From the top of your baby's head to his neck
2. From his neck across his shoulders
3. From his upper back to his waist
4. From his thigh to his foot and back to his thigh, on each leg
5. From his shoulder to his hand and back to his shoulder, on each arm

Now turn your baby over onto his back so that he is facing you. Move each of his arms gently, flexing it and then straightening it. Exercise each arm and each leg in this way, and then both legs, as if he were pedaling a tiny bicycle, for a total of five minutes.
To finish your baby's massage, turn him back on his stomach and repeat the first sequence.

Throughout the massage, remember to be sensitive and responsive to your baby. Learn to recognize when your baby tells you that he's not interested or that he's had enough. Your baby might do the following to tell you he would rather be doing something else:
  • turn his head away
  • "crunch up" his forehead
  • suck in his cheeks
  • grimace
  • fuss
  • cry

As you give your baby more massages, you'll gradually find a routine that works best for both of you. And with all your love and attention focused on him, you and your baby will be truly in touch.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

The Importance of Touch

The Importance of Touch
Touch is so important to our health and well-being. Think about the times when you've felt sad or alone. Didn't a hug from a friend make you feel better? Likewise, your baby also feels better when held and comforted by your loving touch. In fact, studies show that touch therapy, including massage, contributes to a healthy weight gain, enhanced growth and social development in infants.

Our First Language

In many ways, touch is our first language – a language scientists are now beginning to understand. Being touched in a loving way can help small babies grow stronger and troubled children feel less anxious. In many hospitals and birthing centers, newborns are placed on the mother's chest or abdomen to give them the most skin-to-skin contact. The touch between the mother and her baby brings them emotionally close – a process known as bonding or attachment. In fact, in one study, premature infants who were massaged while at the hospital gained more weight and were ready to go home with their parents an average of six days earlier than premies who were not massaged.

Carrying More Means Less Crying

For many of us, babies communicate by crying. Would babies cry less if they're touched more? New research seems to suggest that increasing mother-baby contact reduces crying. Researchers asked a group of mothers to carry their babies for at least three hours a day. They then compared their crying patterns with a group of babies who were carried the typical one to two hours daily. The result: babies who were carried more, cried less – especially at six weeks of age, when babies usually cry the most. The close bond between parent and baby gave these infants a greater sense of security.

You Can't Spoil a Baby

Some parents do not pick up their babies as often as they could because they are afraid they will spoil them, but nothing could be further from the truth! Each time you pick up your baby, you let her know that you care and that you understand her needs. So don't hesitate to hold your crying baby. Carry her on your shoulder and sing her a lullaby. Stroke her head, rub her back tenderly, and let her know you'll always be there. Talking and singing while holding your baby can help you both to bond. 

The Difference Between Mothers and Fathers

Did you know? Each parent has his or her own way of touching. Research has shown that when mothers touch babies, they are usually soothing and calming. Moms most often touch gently – they stroke softly, rock slowly, and hold their babies tenderly. Fathers, on the other hand, tend to engage in more physical forms of touch – they bounce babies on their knees, hold them playfully in the air, or roll around on the floor with them. Your baby benefits from these two different styles of touch. Together they contribute to your infant's healthy development.

As you spend more time with your baby, you'll learn to read his likes, dislikes, desires and emotions. You'll learn the best time for cuddling, the best time for playing and the best time for relaxing. If too much playing or cuddling is making your baby cranky, give him a rest and check back a little later – he will let you know when he is ready for attention!

How important is touch? As our first language, it can help you to create a strong bond with your baby. And a strong bond can help your baby feel more secure, cry less and thrive more. As one of the main ways to help you create a nurturing bond with your baby, touch is very important indeed!

NOTE: If you feel that you don't have the will or energy to create a bond with your newborn, talk to your doctor. You may be suffering from postpartum depression, a physical condition for which there is help. Don't think “it's all in your head” and don't go it alone. It's important – for both your sake and your baby's sake – that you seek help.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

The First Ten Days

The First Ten Days
What Every New Parent Should Know

Yes, there's a lot to be aware of, but... relax. There really are just a few essential things you need to know to help your baby thrive in the first couple of weeks. Follow the step-by-step instructions in our guide to The First Ten Days, and you too will become an old pro at:
  • Holding Your Newborn
  • Bathing Your Newborn
  • Changing a Diaper
  • Comforting Newborn
  • Feeding Your Newborn

How to Hold Your Newborn
Your newborn may feel fragile and delicate, but don't be afraid to touch her! In fact, studies show that babies that are held more than 2 hours a day thrive better and cry less. Because your newborn's neck muscles are not yet developed, you will need to support her head whenever you pick her up. You should also support her head against your shoulder or in your opposite hand, as your carry her. Some parents find that a sling or baby carrier gives them an extra sense of security when carrying their newborn babies. And your baby will love it too!

How to Bath Your Newborn
Until your newborn's umbilical cord heals and falls off (usually in a week or two) it's best to clean your baby with a sponge bath. 

1. Lay your baby on a soft towel, or use a sponge-lined bath bed. Support your baby's head and limbs throughout. 

2. Clean around each eye with separate cotton balls dipped in warm water

3. Keep your baby covered with a towel to stay warm: uncover only the area you are washing. Dip a warm, wet washcloth in a little baby wash (JOHNSON'S® HEAD-TO-TOE® Baby Wash is mild enough for a newborn) then wash and rinse her face, arms, legs, tummy and genital area, in that order. Clean the umbilical stump with a cotton ball dipped in clean water. 

4. If your newborn has hair, clean it with baby wash and rinse by wiping her hair with a clean cloth. 

5. Next, dry your baby thoroughly but don't rub vigorously. Then wrap her in a hooded, dry towel.

How to Change A Diaper

Many first-time parents are surprised by how many diapers they go through in a day. To make life easier for yourself, have plenty of diapers on hand before you bring your baby home. 

Before you change your baby's diaper, be sure to wash your hands. And because you should NEVER leave your baby alone on the change table, you'll need to have the following items standing by before you begin:
  • A clean diaper
  • Baby wipes or a wet washcloth (that you'll use ONLY for this purpose)
  • A plastic bag to dispose of soiled diapers
  • Diaper rash preventative ointment containing petrolatum, such as BALMEX® Daily Protective Clear Ointment
  • Diaper rash treatment cream containing zinc oxide, such as BALMEX® Zinc Oxide
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • A change of clothes for your baby (just in case)

1. Lay your baby on a flat, secure surface.

2. Remove the diaper by lifting the adhesive tabs. Fold the tabs back on themselves so they don't stick to anything (including the baby!).

3. With a baby wipe or a washcloth moistened with water, clean the genital area by wiping from front to back. Fold the dirty diaper onto itself and move to the side. Place a clean diaper under your baby.

4. Pat your baby dry before applying ointment. Apply a protective ointment such as BALMEX® Daily Protective Clear Ointment to create a barrier against wetness and irritants. If your baby already has a diaper rash, choose a product with zinc oxide and other ingredient that soothe the skin and promote healing, such as BALMEX® Zinc Oxide Diaper Rash Cream.

5. Secure the clean diaper by fastening the adhesive strips from the back of the diaper to the front panel. It should be snug, but not tight.

6. Finally, dispose of the dirty diaper and wash your hands again. Done!

How to Comfort Your Newborn
Most babies cry for an average of two hours a day in the first three months. So while it may be disconcerting, it's also normal. To comfort your baby, first try to determine the cause of his discomfort. Is he hungry? Does he have gas? Does his diaper need changing? Is it time for a nap? Is he over-stimulated by noise, lights or activity? If the source of his discomfort is hunger, gas, or a wet diaper, the solution is obvious. To help soothe a sleepy or over-stimulated baby, hold him on your shoulder while gently rocking him. Sing or speak softly to them – reassure him with a calm voice. It can also help to rub his back as you do so. Try different positions to find one that's comfortable for both of you. 

Something else to consider: your baby doesn't have much mobility in the first few weeks and may cry for help if he is lying uncomfortably in the crib. You can help him by gently shifting his position. Note: NEVER put your baby to sleep face down.

How to Feed Your Newborn
Healthcare professionals agree that nothing is better for your newborn baby than breast milk. Nutritionally speaking, it's tailor-made for your infant. Of course, sometimes mothers cannot breastfeed, due to medical problems or other special circumstances. Discuss with your pediatrician how best to feed your newborn. No matter how you decide to feed your baby, be sure to always hold him while feeding. The cuddling that comes with nursing and feeding helps to build a strong, loving bond between you and your baby. Here are a few tips for when you're breastfeeding your baby:

1. Get an early start: Nursing should begin within an hour after delivery if possible, when your infant is awake and the sucking instinct is strong. Even though you won't be producing milk yet, your breasts contain colostrum, a thin fluid that contains beneficial antibodies.

2. Proper positioning: The baby's mouth should be wide open, with the nipple as far back into his or her mouth as possible. This minimizes soreness for you.

3. Nurse on demand: Newborns need to nurse frequently, about every two hours, and not on any strict schedule. This will stimulate your breasts to produce plenty of milk. Later, the baby can settle into a more predictable routine.

4. Use nursing pads: Use a nursing pad, such as super-absorbent, cushiony JOHNSON'S® Nursing Pads, to help eliminate embarrassing leakage between feedings.

5. Air dry: In the early postpartum period or until your nipples toughen, you should air dry them after each nursing to prevent them from cracking and getting infected. If your nipples do crack, you can coat them with breast milk to help them heal. Proper positioning at the breast can help prevent sore nipples. If you're very sore, your baby may not have the nipple far enough back in his or her mouth.

6. Watch for infection: Symptoms of breast infection include fever, painful lumps and redness in the breast. These require immediate medical attention.

7. Eat right, get rest: To produce plenty of good milk, you'll need to eat a balanced diet that includes an extra 500 calories a day and drink six to eight glasses of fluid. You should also rest as much as possible to prevent breast infections, which are aggravated by fatigue.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

How to Diaper Your Baby

How to Diaper Your Baby
You can change your baby on a changing table or on any surface covered with a changing pad or towel. It's important to have all the supplies you'll need within reach before you begin. NEVER leave your baby alone on a bed or changing table, even for an instant.

Many first-time parents are surprised by how many diapers they go through in a day. To make life a little easier for yourself, have plenty on hand.

Before and after you change your baby's diaper, be sure to wash your hands. And when it's time to change the diaper, make sure you have the following standing by:

  • A clean diaper
  • Baby wipes
  • A plastic bag to dispose of soiled diapers
  • Diaper rash cream containing zinc oxide, such as DESITIN® ORIGINAL™ and or DESITIN® CREAMY® Ointments. These formulas are clinically proven to provide babies with fast, effective relief of diaper rash.
  • Diaper rash ointment containing petrolatum, such asDESITIN® CLEAR™ Ointment, helps relieve and prevent not only diaper rash, but a multitude of baby skin problems.
  • A change of clothes for baby (just in case!)

Steps in changing your baby's diaper:
Lay your baby on a flat, secure surface. Remove the diaper by lifting the adhesive tabs, and then fold the adhesive strips back onto themselves so they don't stick to your baby. Next, using a baby wipe or washcloth dampened with water, clean the genital area by wiping from front to back. 

Fold the dirty diaper onto itself and move it to the side. You can apply a multipurpose ointment such as DESITIN® CLEAR™ to help relieve and prevent diaper rash. Products containing zinc oxide, such as DESITIN® ORIGINAL™ or DESITIN® CREAMY® Ointments, help soothe the skin and promote healing. Each of the threeDESITIN® Formulas forms a protective moisture barrier to seal out wetness and other irritants that can cause diaper rash.

Secure the clean diaper by fastening the adhesive strips from the back of the diaper to the front panel. It should be snug, but not tight. Finally, dispose of the dirty diaper and wash your hands again.

If changing diapers and all that hand washing is leaving your skin a bit dry, try using a mild, allergy-tested cream, such asJOHNSON'S® EXTRA CARE Healing Hand Cream. JOHNSON'S® EXTRA CARE and JOHNSON'S® SOFT offer a new line of cleansing and moisturizing products designed especially for adult women so JOHNSON'S® can nurture your skin again.

JOHNSON'S® SOFTCREAM™, JOHNSON'S® SOFTLOTION™ and SOFTWASH® are a new line of products designed especially for adult women so JOHNSON'S® can nurture your skin again.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

Caring for Your Newborn's Umbilical Cord Area

Caring for Your Newborn's Umbilical Cord Area
Your newborn's umbilical-cord area requires special care until it heals. Don't be afraid to clean your baby's cord: the quicker the base dries, the sooner the cord will fall off. You should clean the area each time you change your baby's diaper. To clean the cord safely, take a cotton swab, cotton square or cotton round and clean around the base of the cord.

Remember to avoid covering the cord with the diaper, because the cord area should be kept dry and clean at all times. If the diaper is too high, fold it down on your baby before securing. You can also buy special newborn diapers that have a cut-out space for the cord. The cord area should heal in about seven to ten days. 

Warning Signs 

Call your baby's pediatric caregiver if you notice that the umbilical cord stump:
  • is soft
  • has a strong odor
  • is streaked with red around the navel, or is discharging fluid

It is normal for a few drops of blood to appear when the stump separates.

We recommend the following products for your baby's umbilical cord area:

JOHNSON'S® Pure Cotton Squares and Rounds 
Soft and gentle for your newborn's skin care needs. Lint-free and non-fraying.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

When to Call the Doctor

Guidelines to Help You Decide
If you call your pediatrician or nurse with dosing questions, make sure you tell them which form (Infants', Children's, etc.) of medicine you're giving to your child. If your child has an underlying risk factor for serious infection, such as sickle cell disease or heart or kidney problems, you should always call your pediatrician about a fever. 

For most kids, call your pediatrician if:
  • Your child is unusually fussy, sleepy, cranky, or quiet
  • Your child appears very sick
  • You are unable to lower your child's fever or your child develops other serious symptoms
  • The fever goes away for more than 24 hours and then returns
  • Your child has a fever for more than 72 hours
  • Your child is younger than 3 months with a rectal temperature above 100.1° F
  • Your child is 3 to 6 months with a rectal temperature above 101° F
  • Your child is 6 to 12 months with a rectal temperature above 103° F
  • Your child has a history of febrile seizures

Or if you notice any of these symptoms:
  • Your child acts confused or sees/hears things that aren't there
  • A stiff neck (unable to touch chin to chest)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Ear or sore throat pain
  • Your child has a seizure (arms and legs jerk uncontrollably)
  • Your child has a skin rash
  • Your child cries inconsolably
  • Your child is difficult to awaken

First Night at Home

First Night at Home
When you welcome your newborn baby into your home, you'll discover that his sleeping patterns are very different from your own. Newborns sleep a lot – in fact most sleep up to 16-18 hours a day – but never for more than three or four hours at a time. For the first few months, your baby will fall asleep and wake up at all hours of the day (and night!). Waking frequently is normal. During the first weeks, you should respond to your newborn quickly – in about 30 seconds to a minute. Most newborns are unable to settle themselves back down. Later, when your baby is older – approximately two to four months old – you can give him a chance to comfort himself. 

Your newborn baby may awaken for many reasons, but most often because he is hungry or needs to be changed. As you get to know your baby, you'll know when and how quickly to respond. And you should respond quickly to a sudden change in your baby's established sleep pattern – it may signal illness, a hunger-inducing growth spurt or teething pain.

Every Baby Is Different

Learn your baby's signs of being sleepy. Many babies become fussy or cry when they get tired, while others will rub their eyes, pull on their ears, or even stare off into space. Put your baby down for bedtime or a nap when your baby first lets you know he is tired. 

Back to Sleep

To lessen the chances of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) always put your baby down to sleep on his back, not his tummy. A baby should sleep on a firm mattress, with no fluffy or loose bedding, no stuffed animals and no pillow. 

Distinguish Between Day and Night 

Although your baby is highly unpredictable during the first few weeks, you can help him learn that nighttime is sleeptime and daytime is playtime. When your baby sleeps during the day, keep the lights on and keep sounds at normal levels. After diapering or feeding your baby, stimulate his interest by speaking to him warmly and expressively, moving his arms and legs, or showing him toys. At night, on the other hand, turn off the light or use a night-light, feed and diaper your baby as calmly and quietly as possible, and limit your interactions to holding him gently. Soon you will notice your baby's longest periods of sleep occur at night.

Establish a Bedtime Routine 

Babies are comforted by routines. You may wish to establish a bedtime routine even at this tender age. For example, try regularly giving your newborn a warm bath, a feeding or a rocking session before bed. Also, a gentle, soothing massage can help to relax your newborn for easier sleep.

Catch Up on Your Sleep 

Finally, use your baby's naptime as a time to catch up on sleep yourself. As tempting as it is to use naptime to get things done, you'll be able to cope better if you nap when your baby does. 

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.

Children's Fever

Fever is a symptom - a sign that your child's body is fighting off an infection. Most fevers are caused by common childhood illnesses such as colds, ear infections, bronchitis and tonsilitis. 

Normal body temperature is not a single number but a range: 97° to 100.4°F or 36° to 38°C. It also varies depending on the time of day, age, general health and physical activity. 

What should I do when my child has a fever? 
It is important to use a thermometer to accurately determine your child's temperature. Rectal or Tympanic (ear) thermometers are recommended for children less than 3 years old. Oral thermometers can be used for children over 3 years. 

When should I call the doctor?
Call your doctor right away if...

If your child is younger than 3 months and rectal temperature goes above 100.1°F

If your child is 3-6 months and rectal temperature is 101°F or higher

If your child is 6-12 months and rectal temperature is 103°F or higher

At any age, call your doctor right away if fever lasts more than 3 days or is accompanied by: 
  • Unusually fussy, sleepy, cranky or quiet behavior
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Convulsions
  • Stiff neck
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Ear or sore throat pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Whenever you have concerns

If your child is over 1 year of age, and is eating, sleeping and playing normally, there is usually no need to call the doctor unless the fever persists for more than 24 hours. 

Your doctor may give you additional guidelines for when to contact a healthcare professional. Remember to follow your doctor's advice.

To help lower your child's fever: 
Place a cool washcloth on your child's forehead, or sponge your child with tepid water (85°F to 90°F). Make sure the water is not cold, and stop if your child starts to shiver. Never use rubbing alcohol - the vapors are toxic and can be absorbed through the skin. 
Keep your child's room comfortably cool. 
Depending on your child's age and your doctor's recommendations, encourage your child to drink fluids such as water and diluted fruit juices. 

Remember, you know your child best. So don't be afraid to call your pediatrician if you are unsure about what to do.

Beginning Toilet Training

Beginning Toilet Training
There is no single “right age” to begin toilet training because each toddler is different. It's useful to note that toilet training is possible only when your toddler is able to control the muscles of her bottom and bladder. These muscles mature between 18 and 36 months, so it is generally recommended to start toilet training after she is at least two years old.

Pick the Right Time

It is worth having a potty visible and available in the bathroom for some months prior to the start of formal training to allow your child the chance to get used to sitting on it and even using it occasionally. In addition to your toddler developing the necessary muscle control, other signs that may indicate your toddler is ready to begin include: 

  • Her ability to sit down on a potty and get up easily.
  • Her ability to tell you when she has the urge to go.

Past generations of parents, to escape the tyranny of endlessly washing cloth diapers, began toilet training their children at a much earlier age. There was a certain amount of success, but this depended on parents making a potty available at the right time rather than babies being able to control their bladders and bowels. Much of the time was spent with babies sitting on potties, waiting for things to happen! In fact, rushing to toilet train your child could just make the process longer and more drawn out. Studies show that many children who begin toilet training before 18 months aren't completely trained until after the age of four, whereas those who started at around age two were completely trained before their third birthday. 

To begin toilet training, you may choose a potty or a toilet seat insert. Some toddlers like the idea of their own potty, while others prefer to use the “grown-up” toilet with an insert seat. If you see signs of waning interest with the potty, for example, try switching to a toilet seat insert (or vice versa). 

Once you think your toddler is ready, explain that without diapers she will need to use the potty. Because many disposable diapers are designed to prevent any feeling of wetness, it may help to choose training-type diapers with special “wetness liners” that let your toddler feel a little bit of wetness. Be sure to watch for signs of diaper rash, and take precautions to protect against “accidental” wetness. Gentle, hypoallergenic BALMEX® Daily Protective Clear Ointment can help prevent and treat diaper rash by sealing out wetness and irritants. 

You may also wish to make the transition to underwear to teach toilet training. Of course, you may have to tolerate several “accidents” or near misses when you make the switch from diapers.

Here are some signs that your toddler may be ready to try underwear: 

  • She's beginning to try to remove her pants and diaper without your help.
  • She's aware of her need to pee or have a bowel movement (even if wearing a diaper) and she tells you.
  • She's watched you or other family members use the toilet.
  • She sits on and tries to use the potty, e.g., before her bath in the evening.

Getting into a Routine

Once you have some evidence that your toddler knows what will be required of her once she goes without diapers, you can consider taking the next step to underwear. You can make this a special occasion by explaining that she's now going to wear “big kid” underwear and asking her to help pick out a few pairs. Avoid a time when your toddler has to cope with other changes in her life, such as a move to a new place, the arrival of a new baby or other major adjustments. Try to pick a time of relative calm, when her routine is consistent. 

You will need to give your toddler regular reminders that she might like to use the potty. After asking her, don't sit her on the potty unless she says yes; otherwise she won't make the connection for herself. Sometimes she may say no, and two minutes later realize she does need to go. But this is better than relying on you to tell her. Some accidents are inevitable, but if your toddler is ready to manage without a diaper these should number very few. Work on the principle of praising her efforts and successes, and, if accidents do occur, gently remind her that this is what the potty is for, change her, and make no fuss. Reacting negatively may make her resentful and less inclined to try again. 

Another advantage of waiting until your toddler is older (and ready) to begin toilet training is that it's a natural time to teach good hygiene. As she becomes more independent, she'll want to bathe and wash herself, so now's a perfect time to introduce the concept of washing her hands each time she uses the potty. 

Choose gentle cleansing products that are made for your toddler. JOHNSON'S® BUDDIESTM Instant-foam Hand and Face Wash. It's the only toddler hand wash with a special, gentle NO MORE TEARS® formula. Another good option is JOHNSON'S® BUDDIES™ Easy-grip Sudzing Bar with a patented soft pouch that won't slip from your toddler's hands. Both are fun and easy for your toddler to use.

Practical Concerns

Make sure you have a potty that is comfortable to sit on, and for boys, it's helpful to have one that has a higher splashguard at the front. You will also have to instruct your son to point his penis down into the potty while sitting on it. It's easy for a boy to sit down quickly without checking, only to discover that he is splashing all over the floor!

It's a challenge to toilet train when on the road, but it's possible. Ask your toddler to visit the potty just before leaving home, and be sure to scope out restroom locations as soon as you get to wherever you're going. Try to maintain good hygiene habits even while on the road, by packing an easy-foam cleanser such asJOHNSON'S® BUDDIES™ Instant-foam Hand and Face Wash. For extra long trips, with no foreseeable restroom, you may want to consider using a diaper to avoid accidents. 

Finally, it is worth remembering that every toddler develops at a different rate, and that patience is key. If you try not to rush this stage and take toilet training at her pace, you will also end up teaching your toddler that learning new skills is fun and empowering. And that's a great life lesson.

For more articles about caring for your baby, visit THE JOHNSON'S® GUIDE TO NURTURING CARE™.