Ringing in the New Year with a New Baby!

For some lucky parents, the first day of 2014 will be a day to celebrate for two reasons: the birth of the New Year and of a new baby.

No matter the time of birth, a new baby can be very exciting and also challenging. That's why First Things First provides the Arizona Parent Kit to the family of each newborn at a hospital or birthing center. The kit has a wealth of information to help families support the development of their child in the early years.

Each Arizona Parent Kit includes: the Arizona Parents Guide, which offers information and resources to help you care for your child; an infant board book to encourage you to begin reading to your child at an early age; a DVD series covering topics like health and nutrition, child safety, discipline, early literacy and finding quality child care; and a refrigerator magnet with the Birth to Five Helpline toll-free number - 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) - a resource for parents to get answers to even the toughest parenting questions.

First Things First, in partnership with Virginia G. Piper Trust, has been providing the Arizona Parent Kit to families across Arizona since 2010.

Parents like Tracy and Donovan excitedly welcomed the Arizona Parent Kit when they left the Hopi Health Care Center with their 6lb 9oz newborn baby boy, Dondre, who was born before the New Year.

"The kit helps! I like it. It helps with things like car seat safety, preventing SIDS, ways to keep him safe, and breast feeding, which I like since I want him to get all his nutrients and not get sick. It was a good reminder even as second-time parents. I didn't get the Parent Kit with my first daughter. I learned by having her and from my family. It would have helped me."

If you are welcoming home a new baby this year, here are just a few helpful tips offered in the Arizona Parent Guide:

• Hold your baby close. Holding him helps him feel secure and bond with you. Responding quickly to her needs, supports her brain develop and builds a sense of trust.

• Breastfeed if you can. Breast milk has everything your baby needs and it protects against diseases. Ask a nurse or lactation specialist if you want help.

• Make sure your baby's crib is safe. Use a new, safety-approved crib. Babies sleep safest when they are bare, or wearing a onesie for warmth, and on their back for the first year.

• Share responsibilities if you can. Research shows that when both partners care for their children, the children do better in school. Children benefit from the love and attention of many caring adults.

• Talk, read, sing and play with your baby. Babies learn by exploring with their mouths, eyes, ears and hands. Let her explore safely and with you beside her in her learning journey. Your baby learns more from playing and being with you than from anything else.

Be sure to ask for your Arizona Parent Kit before going home with your baby!

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