The Fourth Month: Working Mothers

Temperament should not be confused with misbehavior. At this stage of development, babies do not behave in ways to intentionally irritate you, so any kind of punishment is out of the question. An infant cannot understand your reprimands and often cannot control her own behavior. Some parents think that infants cry or soil their diapers just to make the parent mad, but this is not true. Patience on your part is a must. Remember: If you reward your baby's laughs and smiles, she will give them more often.

Baby's Clothing

Now that your baby is more active and goes out with you more often, dress her appropriately for the weather. Contrary to what many people believe, babies don't catch a cold from being cold. Most colds are carried by germs; often on people's hands. In spring and early summer (70° to 74°), a diaper, undershirt, sleep/play suit and blanket are usually sufficient. In summer (75° to 85°), remove the blanket and perhaps the undershirt. On those very hot days (above 85°), all your baby needs is her diaper and maybe a T-shirt or lightweight playsuit. Add a sunbonnet to your baby's wardrobe to help keep the sun out of her eyes and to shade her tender skin from the sun.

In the winter, keep the house temperature between 68° and 70°, and add a heavier blanket for baby's warmth. When you take baby out during winter, bundle her in a sweater, cap, mittens, booties and a warm wool blanket. Make sure heavier clothing does not interfere with the straps on her car safety seat. Baby's clothing is sized according to her body build (height and weight), not by her age. Below are some standard clothing sizes for infants.

SIZE HEIGHT WEIGHT
Newborn Up to 25.5" Up to 14 lbs.
Small 25.5" to 27.5" 15-19 lbs.
Medium 28" to 32" 20-26 lbs.
Large 32.5" to 36.5" 27-32 lbs.

Safety Tips

Keep any objects that can be dislodged by baby's movements out of the her reach. Also, keep tiny objects away from baby. Everything she touches goes into her mouth at this age, and objects smaller than 1" in diameter can become lodged in her throat.

Working Mothers

Many mothers returning to work sometimes feel guilty because they imagine that they are neglecting their babies. Single parents, in particular, may not have a choice. Feeling guilty won't help you or your baby. Consider the following:

"I want only the best for my baby."

Shop around for a quality day care center or family caregiver for your baby. Studies show that, unfortunately, many parents choose the center closest to their home or work, regardless of quality. Giving a child the best care available is a sign of a loving parent, and it is the best start for later success.

"Quality ... and quantity time!"

The quality of time you spend with your child becomes even more important when the quantity lessens. Make time to spend special time every day with your whole family. This may mean leaving some household chores undone, but your baby's and family's development are much more important. The dirty dishes will still be there after you've spent your special time with the family!

"Be alert!"

Your baby's needs are continually changing. Being aware of these changes will enable you to meet your baby's needs. A child who can depend on her parents to love her, care for her and meet her needs will be happy, healthy and secure. Even if Mom works!

"I have needs, too!"

Some parents know that they could not be happy away from their jobs. They are better parents after working. Be sure to balance the two roles so that all involved have their needs met. If your child's needs are not being met, it may be time to reconsider priorities.

"Buy Lines" -- Toy Storage