You have a baby for about a year. As soon as that first birthday rolls around, and your baby is trying to walk, she’s dubbed a “toddler.” Of course, she’s still a baby to you, but for the most part, you have a baby for about a year. That’s really not much time. However, there are two powerful healthy happy baby habits that you can be working on during that first year to help her be a happy baby bundle!
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Extreme and Effective Habits!
I know a guy that is up early every day; runs, bicycles, swims, (possibly all of those) spends time studying the Bible, works his 9-5, makes healthy nutrition choices, carves out time to connect with friends, spends time communicating with his daughter, etc…
No, I really do know this guy! The habits he’s created are kinda crazy. If you ask him how he does it, he would tell you it’s through forming good habits. He spent a lot of time to purposefully work on developing those good habits.
While he’s a stellar and slightly extreme example we can certainly do our part to give our children a big push in the right direction to develop good habits.
We’ll cover two of life’s most important habits, but let’s talk first about one important habit you can intentionally work on to help nurture a happy baby.
Best Healthy Happy Baby Habit #1.
I have 4 children, all of them have a bedtime and a wake-up time. I worked hard to intentionally sleep train them. And ya know what?… Each of them was a very happy baby.
While there are varying personality types among my children, meaning, some like being up at night and some, burst up in the morning like toast from a toaster, they were all trained with the same sleeping standards. Because training is about creating good habits, not catering to preferences.
This is why the first year of training is so crucial. Your baby doesn’t have any bad habits to break yet. Just start with the right and good habits and you’re already ahead of the game.
Your baby will inevitably have to get up in the morning, most mornings for the rest of his life. So, it’s up to you to help him learn the importance of getting to bed at a reasonable time and starting fresh in the morning.
I was always up late! ALWAYS! Waking up for school was difficult. Waking up for work was difficult. And still now, getting up before my children to be fresh and prepared for the day is difficult.
It takes much practice and discipline to go to bed at a good time and get up in the morning for me. How much a set bedtime in childhood would have benefited me!
How to Create a Good Sleep Habit for a Happy Baby
- Set a bedtime.
Establish a bedtime routine and stick to it. There will be room for flexibility in you and your child’s social life later, once good sleeping habits are formed. This is an area where it’s totally OK to be rigid!
- Set a wake-up time.
If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, set an alarm for yourself early enough to be up, and do what you need to do in order to greet your child with a smile. If you practice this long enough, you eventually won’t need the alarm.
I know, I know, alarms suck! But sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do for the well being of your baby. Remember one day, your home will be empty and there’ll be lots of time for sleeping in.
- Establish start and end time for naps as well.
Setting nap times and lengths keep both you and your baby on track. Making sure she doesn’t nap too long helps her sleep at night and laying her down at the same times every day makes it much more likely that she’ll fall asleep quickly at nap time.
“This mama who desperately needed sleep is beyond grateful for Shelley! My baby would get up every 2 hours since birth and with her help, my baby is now only getting up once a night and is on track to sleeping all night! Thank you again Shelley!”~Holly (mom of two boys ages 3 and 6 months)
Best Healthy Happy Baby Habit #2
You know the saying, “you are what you eat!” Ya, it’s true. It’s really, really, true. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 10 years, you’ve noticed that nutrition has become important to just about everyone. And for good reason!
Your baby is fortunate that you are armed with knowledge about how to teach her to eat right and eat well!
A brand new baby is such a clean slate, so fresh and unblemished. A well-fed baby is less likely to have tummy trouble and that will certainly make her happy. Now is the time to introduce only the best nutrition to her!
A quick true story for the sake of understanding:
I once watched a young, first-time mom offer her 6-month-old a spoon full of pureed veggies, for baby’s first introduction to solid food. (Nice job on choosing veggies, Mommy!)
When the baby gagged, she instantly went to a spoon full of applesauce. She assumed her baby “didn’t like” the veggies. Of course, that was a natural assumption, because as adults we have been exposed to all sorts of sweet things and apples taste better than green beans pretty much all the time.
What that Mommy didn’t consider was that the baby didn’t have any exposure to sweet things to measure the veggie against. And indeed had little concept of yummy vs yucky.
I hinted to the idea that it was more of a texture issue than taste. Explained that taste buds were being awakened. Suggested that the baby would take his cues from mommy (make a yummy sound and smile instead of a grimace) and recommended that she try foods several times before giving up on them.
How to Create a Good Eating Habit for a Happy Baby
- #1. Start with the end goal in mind.
Do you want your 3 yr old to eat vegetables? Yes, you do. So you have to start training now.
- #2. Offer only veggies and healthy fats one at a time, several times, until they eat it regularly and willingly. Avocado is a perfect first food for baby.
If the baby just does not take to a food after more than 2 weeks of trying, move on to another non-sweet food. Click here to make mealtime fun with these.
Once your baby has established good eating habits with veggies and healthy fats, begin to introduce fruits, etc.
When it’s time for yogurt, stick to plain, high fat, whole milk yogurt. Keep milk white… you get the picture.
- #3. Juice offers very little nutritional value and a lot of sugar. Whatever vitamin C has been added to it, can certainly be gained by eating a pureed fruit (or avocado) instead. Water is best.
Teach your baby to eat what is good for her! Just do it now, so that when she is 1, 2, 3 and beyond, it won’t be a battle. The more effort you put in asap, the better. All aspects of child training are easier the earlier you start. It only gets harder. Focus on healthy happy baby habits.
Final Thoughts on Healthy Happy Baby Habits
Teach your baby to sleep and eat the right things! Just do it now, so that when she is 1, 2, 3 and beyond, it won’t be a battle. The more effort you put in ASAP… the better. All aspects of child training are easier the earlier you start.