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How your baby's growing
Your baby can't express his emotions in the same complex way you can. Although he can clearly let you know when he's happy or unhappy, his ability to demonstrate his love and sense of humor is just developing.
As your baby gets older, he may start to cry when you leave the room and get excited when you come back in. He may also raise his arms when he wants to be picked up and give you pats on the back.
And you'll probably see him getting your jokes – he'll laugh at funny expressions and try to make you laugh too. Keep the laughter flowing with your silly faces!
- Learn more fascinating facts about your 5-month-old's development.
Your life: Sex as new parents
Finding the time and energy for sex as new parents is challenging enough. And then there's the small matter of the third party in your room or down the hall, ready to wail at the least opportune moment. But with a little planning and effort, anything is possible!
Remember how to flirt. Flirting isn't the same as foreplay. It's sexual play without the intention of immediate sexual activity. Flirting with your partner (in person, on the phone, or by email, for example) helps both of you get in the mood.
Time it right. You don't always have to "sleep when the baby sleeps." Nap time provides a great chance to get intimate before end-of-the-day exhaustion sets in.
Make a "date." No need to dress up and go out – simply plan ahead to stay in. When you're parents, sharing massages or taking a shower together while the baby sleeps counts as a date.
Keep a sense of humor. Be ready for things to not go as usual. If you're breastfeeding, for instance, you may see some milk leak or spray. If your baby does start to cry, don't rush to the rescue. Wait a few minutes to see whether your baby settles back to sleep.
If your baby does settle down, you may find that the mood has been broken anyway. But don't call the whole thing off. Start back with slow, gentle foreplay and see what happens.
Learn about: Colds
How did my baby catch a cold?
It's practically a given that your baby will catch a cold during her first year – the numerous viruses that cause colds are nearly impossible to avoid. In fact, it's estimated that children catch up to eight colds a year. Viruses are spread through airborne droplets and by touching contaminated objects, such as doorknobs and toys. Your baby can't fight them off as easily as you can because her immune system is less well developed.
On top of this, your baby is constantly putting her fingers near her eyes and in her mouth, giving any viruses lurking on her hands easy passage into her body, where they can set up camp. If your baby is in group daycare or has older siblings, she's even more likely to come into contact with some of the hundreds of different cold germs. Common symptoms of a cold include sneezing, watery eyes, stuffiness, coughing, runny nose, fussiness, and low-grade fever. These symptoms usually last for about a week.
How can I make my baby more comfortable?
Suction stuffy nostrils with a rubber bulb syringe and use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier in the room where she sleeps. These steps help keep her mucus thin and moving so she can breathe more easily. Remember that babies like to breathe through their nose instead of their mouth, so a clogged nose can make for an unhappy baby. You might also try giving her smaller and more frequent feedings, since it may be harder for her to breathe comfortably while eating.
Don't give your baby any over-the-counter cold remedies. Doctors don't recommend them for children under 6 years old because they haven't been shown to help and they can have serious side effects. Since most colds are caused by viruses, antibiotics don't help either. Your baby's body should fight off the infection on its own. If your baby's cold is accompanied by a fever, your baby's doctor may recommend acetaminophen.
When should I call the doctor?
Play it safe and call the doctor if your baby has any of these symptoms:
- A fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher, taken rectally
- Labored or rapid breathing (more than 60 breaths a minute), a worsening cough, or wheezing or gasping
- Discharge from the eyes, which may signal conjunctivitis (pinkeye) or an ear infection
- Tugging persistently at her ear, crying when sucking during a feeding, or crying uncharacteristically when being put to bed, all of which suggest an ear infection
Also call if your baby seems sicker after five to seven days or has ongoing symptoms for more than two weeks.
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