Your baby: 4.5 months old

Tips on picking a daycare, homemade toys and how to get a diaper on a wiggly baby. Learn all about life with your 4.5-month-old.

Photo: iStockphoto

Photo: iStockphoto

Daycare decisions
You probably don’t like to think about returning to work right now, but if it’s your reality, it’s definitely time to start formulating your child-care plans. There are lots of options: taking your baby to a local daycare or a home daycare provider, leaving her with a family member, sharing a nanny with friends, or hiring a nanny to come to your home. Learn the pros and cons of different child care arrangements and check out our no-nonsense guide to nannies. Plus, read what other parents have to say about their child care experiences.

Read more: 5 ways to maximize nap time>

Save your cash: how to make homemade toys
The world is like a big playground to explore for your baby and just about every object or person he encounters is a new “toy” to explore with his hands and mouth. So don’t worry about buying the latest and greatest toys on the market — he may find your tea-strainer just as interesting.

Making homemade toys is easier than you think. For example, make a rattle by filling a small, clean plastic bottle with various brightly-coloured objects. Glue the lid on, or screw on tightly and then secure so it can’t pop off. Just be careful to give these toys frequent safety checks to ensure they’re not coming apart in a way that could be dangerous for baby. And remember, you are the best toy of all: here are some play ideas that your baby is old enough to start enjoying.

Read more: Road trip with baby: 5 tips for new moms>

Tips from the trenches
“Keep an extra stocked diaper bag in the car, with a spare shirt for yourself and a $20 bill. Then you won’t be so panic-stricken if an emergency occurs and you are away from home.” – Viola, mom of three

The dreaded ear infection
What makes babies so prone to ear infections? Until their small skulls grow, the Eustachian tubes — one per ear forming a passageway from middle ear to back of throat — aren’t very efficient at draining, making for a convenient bacteria superhighway. An ordinary cold virus can trigger a secondary infection in the ears. So can allergens or irritants that cause congestion and clog the tubes.

Here are some ways to detect an ear infection, and the latest advice on preventing and treating them.

Read more: 7 things I learned from my baby’s first cold>

Baby care 101: the diaper dance
Remember the days when you could lay your baby down and take your time removing the diaper and cleaning everything up? Your little one might have fussed a bit — or even cried — but he couldn’t do much to evade the process. Then he learned to roll over, and it’s been downhill ever since (sometimes literally). Here are some strategies to help.

Read more: What you need to know about kids’ genital health>

Did you know?
Your baby can probably learn to drink from a cup at this point in his development. So if you’re a breastfeeding mom trying to avoid bottles but eager to get out sans baby, introduce a cup — and voila! — problem solved. In fact, he may even be interested in doing it from watching people all around him. Give it a try and see!

Originally published on Oct. 20, 2011.

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