There’s nothing like the sound of little feet pitter-pattering across the floor at the crack of dawn. I should know, because I have two little children of my own: a two-year-old daughter and a two-month-old son. They are the brightest rays of sunshine in my life and make even the worst days worth living over again. Their youth, innocence, and love for life make me feel young again and fill me with a love that I had never known before.
Having children is a very scary enterprise, however. I had no idea what to expect through my wife’s pregnancy, much less afterward with a precious little life in my hands. Nothing could have prepared me for the sleepless nights, endless colicky crying, 2 a.m. feedings, thousands of dirty, stinky diapers, and the pervading thought that I was going to mess this little person up somehow. Thankfully, we had the sagely wisdom of two grandmothers and the best medical care that my health insurance could provide.
There are others in this world, however, who are not as fortunate. Take, for instance, the case of an unlucky individual who has found himself with a newborn in a remote region of Alaska. This man has no relatives nearby, being a newcomer to the area, and is completely perplexed with his predicament. How can this man take care of a newborn without knowing anything about baby development? Fortunately, this man has his trusty computer with a sophisticated satellite internet hookup. He is quite literally connected into the largest data stream known to mankind via the world wide web. His information disparity should be quickly and easily resolved with just a few clicks of the mouse.
I personally argue that it takes much more than a few mediocre web pages to raise a child. Having literally “been there and done that,” I must say that basic instincts and a nurturing disposition go a long way in child rearing. We do, however, live in an information rich environment and it appears that information is king. This being the case, I have found a few sites on the internet that do provide a decent amount of information that can be helpful in those hard to handle childcare moments. These websites are appropriate even for those who find themselves isolated in the Alaskan wilderness.
The first site that I found was at www.noah-health.org. This site is actually a spring board for a host of other wonderful sites related to childcare. This site links to A Guide for First Time Parents, by the Nemours Foundation; Bathing Your Baby, by the American Pediatrics Association; Childproofing Your Home: 12 Safety Devices to Protect Your Children, by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; What to do When Your Newborn Cries, by the Mayo Clinic; and Toilet Training Your Child, by the American Academy of Family Physicians, just to name a few. It is easy to see from this laundry list of representative topics that this site covers nearly the entire gambit of initial childcare issues and draws from the experience and reputation of excellent resources.
The second site that I found was Medline Plus: Infant and Newborn Care. I came by this site via the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federal government entity which is dedicated to ensuring the health of the nation through research, education, and the dissemination of health related information. This site is quite sophisticated in its setup and very prolific in its information. It covers a vast array of information just as www.noah-heatlh.org does, but also includes a unique feature with images of infant-related diseases and disorders. These images can be useful when trying to determine if an infant has simple diaper rash or a much more serious disease like rubella. This site also contains a very important link to the American Medical Association’s PDF, JAMA Patient Page: Caring for a Newborn Baby, which contains a wealth of information that is extremely handy for the first time parent.
The last site that I visited was at www.whattoexpect.com. This was, in my humble opinion, the best. My wife and I have been a big fan of the “What to Expect” self-help prenatal and postnatal paperback series since we started a family several years ago. The website holds its own against the print version with a “Week by Week” section that allows the user to explore what to expect with each passing week. It is really like having a syllabus for the first few weeks of your baby’s life! This site is much more interactive than the other two previously mentioned and also contains numerous links for age appropriate baby products and even gives access to an online community of scared parents like the rest of us. This site doesn’t stop at the first few weeks of life either. An interested and proactive parent can get the head’s up on his/her child’s development well into the second and third year of life.
All in all, the internet can be a very entertaining, interactive, and informative way to gain necessary information about the growth and development of a newborn. It can also be used in as a troubleshooting function to assess certain medical conditions and resolve minor issues in childcare. The internet alone, however, cannot be counted on to deliver the same level of information that experienced grandmothers and healthcare providers can supply. If you want simple, easy to understand information, just click for childcare!
Medline Plus: Infant and Newborn Care (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2008, from
NOAH: New York Online Access to Health (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2008, from
WhatToExpect.com (n.d.). Retrieved February 27, 2008, from