Is there an RSS feed of instructions for taking care of a baby?
December 4, 2008 5:23 AM   Subscribe

So we recently had a baby, and I am looking for an RSS feed that will teach me how to take care of her.

I have a book, but I have never been great about reading non-fiction and it goes into a lot of detail about stuff, and I really just want bullet points. I just need the basics. Like I asked my wife this morning how long it would be until she just ate solid foods and I have asked like ten times when she gets potty trained, and I know I could look that stuff up, but who has the time?

Anyway, here is what I am looking for: an RSS feed that is timed to a baby's age. So then it updates you with information relevant to that age. Like "Your baby is 4 months old. She will start teething soon. Give her something to chew on or something." My wife gets the babycenter version of that weekly I think, and it is pretty good, but it is a lot of articles that you have to go read and I am really more interested in sentences rather than articles. Like a baby fact a day would be great.

So what I want are simple short instructions about how to care for a baby the age of my baby delivered by RSS feed. Does it exist? I googled but didn't see anything. Thanks a lot in advance.
posted by ND¢ to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't seen an RSS feed that meets your specific needs (just ones like your wife subscribes to), however, state health departments do create materials like you describe--succinct, clear baby care and development sheets for each stage of your infant's life. Most states will send you this bulletin, newsletter, or pamphlet, without you doing anything at all, through the mail. In some states you can request that it be emailed to you.

Since I didn't know where you were located, I used the postal code in your user name--'ND'/North Dakota--to show you what I mean. North Dakota has made the available, as you can see, all on the same site, clickable by age. They're a good example of the quick, newletter/bulleted lists, style that I'm talking about.

You could use these materials to create your own, personal, RSS feed. If someone else knows of something exactly like what you're after, I'll be excited to bookmark it--it's part of the work I do to track down and research family education materials like this.

She's so lovely--many congratulations.
posted by rumposinc at 6:16 AM on December 4, 2008

I'd second rumposinc's reply but based on that gorgeous smile I think you're doing a fine job already! :-)
posted by ceri richard at 6:20 AM on December 4, 2008

We've just had a baby too, and I do have to say that the weekly Babycenter mailout is incredibly helpful - ie worth the time to read. I can't help but wonder whether an RSS feed (much as I love such things) is really going to convey the complexity of babies and their care sufficiently... That said, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread in case anyone knows of one!
posted by hatmandu at 6:24 AM on December 4, 2008

Having raised two safely into their teens, I can tell you there is no magic instruction manual that will give you the answers. The answer to just about every parenting question you will have is "It depends." Mine were born in the era of Netscape 1.0, so cool electronic resources were not even an option. The week by week guide at 'What to Expect..." might be useful though.

When all else fails remember this. Hundreds of millions, probably billions of people, most of whom are not as smart as you, have managed to raise children into productive adults. You'll be fine. You are dressing her in Stars Wars onesies, clearly you have good parenting instincts :)
posted by COD at 6:37 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I've found the most helpful resource to be the local parenting e-mail lists. Moms-lists rock (even if you're a Dad, which I am). I'm in Boston, and there are three for different neighborhoods, each of which has over a thousand subscribers. You can ask pretty much any question you can imagine, or just read the digests and see what other people are asking.

If you live in a major metropolitan area, a little googling will likely turn up a list for you. Or if not, you can subscribe to one from another locale. Much of the discussion is location independent.
posted by alms at 6:54 AM on December 4, 2008

I find the pamphlets my son's pediatrician gives me at his well-baby appointments to be pretty helpful.
posted by pinky at 7:03 AM on December 4, 2008

The thing you're looking for couldn't exist, because there's so much variety from baby to baby. For example:

Like I asked my wife this morning how long it would be until she just ate solid foods

Some kids nurse well into preschool; others give it up all on their own at eight months; some never breastfeed at all.

and I have asked like ten times when she gets potty trained

The average age these days is 3 1/2 (no matter what your in-laws say). But maybe you'll want to try elimination training, which you could start today, or maybe your daughter is going to be in Pull Ups until she's in Kindergarten.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:18 AM on December 4, 2008

Here's some bullet points of developmental milestones from the March of Dimes. If you scroll down on that page, there's links to all the basics of caring for a baby.
posted by chiababe at 7:21 AM on December 4, 2008

I have to second hatmandu and the Babycenter Child Development Calendar. My wife signed up for the mailings when she was 2 months preggers. Our daughter is a rambunctious 16 month old now and she still gets helpful, weekly, mailings. Some of the things they say are scarily prophetic.
posted by spoons at 7:25 AM on December 4, 2008

It sounds like it doesn't exist in the way that you would like it to, but I'm going to go on record to say that it should. I wouldn't think you would use it as the exclusive decider on what you should do and when (I'm not changing that diaper until my RSS feed says to!) but more as a friendly reminder of some of the joys/pains that are on the horizon. As the father of a 1 year old I would enjoy this immensely.

To make it unbelievably complex and as a way to address the differences in every child and every household, you could make it like a complex only for child development. Thumb up/thumbs down on breast feeding decides what feed item comes next.

Bottom line, it would be cool if you made this. Have it on my desk by 5:00.
posted by blackjack514 at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I think the best way to get the info you're describing is to join a local parent support group. Some community centers have classes where you get together, the kids play/drool/sleep and you can ask this kind of stuff there. You'll get to know other parents and form a support group.

People who are hands-on dealing with kids and can see YOUR kid give the best info. Yeah, an RSS feed that says "no solid food until 6 months" is good but someone to call who can tell you that your particular baby isn't ready (doesn't have the right reflexes) is going to be 10x more helpful and a lot more convenient.
posted by sondrialiac at 9:59 AM on December 4, 2008

Not an RSS feed and maybe a tad controversial in it's gender skew but googling around brought up this pdf which has detailed instructions and bullet points a-go-go.

The extended version is available as a Haynes manual.

Happy new babe!
posted by freya_lamb at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2008

Not an RSS, but short and sweet across ages and developmental milestones: researched-based interactive timeline. I still use it to check in on my 3yo's development.
posted by cocoagirl at 1:17 PM on December 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

I actually found the "For Dummies" book quite helpful. It has one of their bright yellow cheat tear-out sheets which has that "when they start to smile, when they start to laugh" stuff in it, I remember that.

But, what t.c.i.t.l. said. Every baby's different. And you shouldn't freak out if they don't do X by timeline Y.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2008

Amalah's baby is pretty close in age to your (adorable) child. Her blog might yield insights, if not specific directions. (And she has an archive full of stuff from her first son, too). I say look for other mommybloggers with equivalently-aged babies, there must be some out there.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:44 PM on December 4, 2008

nthing corpse. As parents, we want clear-cut rules, but what you discover over and over again is that everything's a gray area and variation is the rule, not the exception. Okay, there are some general dos and don'ts (most pediatricians these days would say don't feed solid food before six months) but there's always complication (e.g. when your kid decides she wants to eat solid food, what kind of food, how, and then there will be times when she doesn't want to eat what she did before, etc. etc...). Timelines are appealing, but they can also freak you out unnecessarily when your child doesn't adhere to them.

Also, though this lacks the convenience of the RSS-feed style update, your pediatrician should be discussing these issues with you at your regular appointments, and this is a key source of information. (IIRC, you see the ped. once a week for the first month, then once a month thereafter for the first year, so that's not too infrequent.) A pediatrician should be current and can convey more nuance than do the internet or books about expected ranges of behavior. Knowing they have that M.D. is nice, too.

If you have a good pediatrician, anyway, who shares your general approach to parenting, they are a good source of information; but that's a whole 'nother ball of wax.

I have found other parents' experience, in internet forums of various kinds, and certain blogs (e.g., Ask Moxie), very useful. But you have to take it all with grains of salt, and sort of average it out in your head.
posted by Herkimer at 3:46 PM on December 4, 2008

Response by poster: So, it looks like what I am looking for does not exist. Oh well. I appreciate everybody's suggestions. If someone decides to make an age-specific baby-fact-a-day RSS feed (Friday 12/5/08: Your baby is 4 months and two weeks old today. You should put her on her tummy once a day so that she can try to roll over, but don't worry if she doesn't. Every baby is different!), you have a subscriber waiting to sign up.
posted by ND¢ at 7:57 AM on December 5, 2008

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