Setting Limits

Remember the days when your baby stayed where you put him? No longer!

Now, if you leave your baby on a blanket on the floor with a few toys to amuse him, you may find him a few minutes later on the far side of the room. Babies this age are on the move, and taking care of one can be a daily marathon.

Sometimes a baby’s urge to explore can drive parents to their limits, which means that it’s time to set limits for the baby. Physical limits are the simplest and most effective way to allow a baby to explore an area safely.

For example, use baby gates, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Removing potential dangers from his reach, such as lamp cords and breakable objects, and baby-proofing all of your house are also important steps in setting limits.

Your baby is also able to understand the meaning of a gentle “no, no” if you see him going toward an electrical outlet or other danger. Know, however, that while he may respect that “no” in the moment, he cannot at this age remember its association with an object for more than a few minutes.

If, for example, he returns to the same electrical outlet repeatedly, he is not disobeying you on purpose; he is just being a baby.

Distracting your baby from potential dangers with inviting toys and activities with you is the easiest way to handle this behavior.

See also ...

•  Discipline for your baby or toddler

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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