Pregnancy and Beyond

Much supervision is needed to keep your baby safe as he explores his expanding world. Certain actions that may be "cute" now can create more problems when he becomes a toddler. Now is the time for you to set limits.

Pulling hair, eyeglasses and jewelry should be responded to with a stern look, saying "That hurts Mommy" and putting the child down. Your baby needs to learn not to harm other people.

Discipline teaches your baby by giving him useful information about acceptable behavior. This is different from punishment, which uses force to control behavior. You must be firm and consistent to help him learn what is "okay" and "not okay." Babies test limits in order to find out what the rules are. The same message of "not okay" will need repeating many times before he knows that the rules/limits are for real.

Techniques for Setting Limits

  • Telling your baby "no" or "stop" by itself does not help him learn. Telling must be accompanied by action to help him know what is expected, or what is not acceptable. For example, "No, you cannot touch the TV controls," must be followed by picking your baby up and removing him from the TV set.
  • Quickly remove your baby from unacceptable or unsafe areas.
  • Place forbidden or dangerous objects out of sight and out of reach.
  • Redirect his attention to a new toy, looking out the window, singing a song, etc.
  • Spanking or slapping hands is not effective. Don't hurt or be mean to your baby.
  • If you become really angry, quickly put your baby into his crib or playpen for a few minutes while you cool off.

Never hit, never spank, and never shake your baby. If you feel that you might hurt your baby, call the Parental Stress Helpline at 1-800-367-2543.