Parenting is complicated. Some breeze through it, while some struggle with the many humps and bumps on the parenting road. Do not get us wrong, help is indeed all around if one knows where to look. Grandparents are always there to help, and there are motherhood/baby websites and apps that sprout up in the app store all the time. Stores also offer all the new gizmos and gadgets to assist mama on her journey. But, with all the data and help available, mothers still make mistakes that prove crucial in raising good mannered children and later, adults.
How are parents, and mothers, in particular, failing their children? As parents, we all know that no amount of love and willingness to learn and teach can guarantee well-adjusted children. To expect this is setting yourself up for failure. There is no clear-cut way to raise children, no matter what the books tell us. It is all about trial and error. What works for other families might not necessarily work for you.
How do we go about raising children with minimal mistakes? We don’t. We make mistakes and we deal with them. Like all mistakes, there are ways to prevent them from wreaking havoc in our kids’ lives. Here are 15 dangerous mistakes moms keep making that could be prevented.
15 Breastfeeding Lying Down
Breastfeeding while lying down may seem like a harmless thing to do. When mom is tired and has no energy to sit in a rocking chair, feeding while lying down is the most convenient thing to do. But there is actual danger in doing so. Studies show that doing so carries a risk of accidentally squashing your baby to death. If this happens, the baby’s death will not be classified as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but as suffocation.
Another danger of breastfeeding while lying down is the risk of giving the baby an ear infection. Even lying on your side could result in the breast milk easily sliding into the baby’s ear canal. The ear canal is a warm, moist place in which bacteria can easily grow. This can give way to infections and viruses in your baby, as well as high fevers and a cranky mood.
14 Force Feeding
Force feeding is a practice known by mothers all over the world, but it does not necessarily mean it is a good one. It is usually born out of good intentions. Mothers want to make sure their baby doesn’t go hungry, but this practice is dangerous as it could lead to accidental choking and worse death. Babies have an inherent sense of knowing when they have eaten enough, so force feeding (no matter how tempting and age-old it is) is actually not needed.
So what should a mom do, then? Well, when feeding your baby, it is important to keep a close eye on when they turn their heads away, as this is a good sign of them indicating when they are full and no longer hungry. Force feeding is dated and for a fact highly dangerous, so it is best to just let the practice fade away.
13 Over Diluting Formula
Sometimes, to make ends meet, some mothers over-dilute their baby’s formula. This practice is unsafe for babies due to the fact that this deprives them of the actual nutrient servings the baby really needs. Over-diluting can save more formula, yes, but at the risk of the baby’s nutrition and growth. Mothers who over-dilute have babies that are unhealthy and who weigh much less than babies of moms that do not engage in this practice.
Not only do moms who do this risk the baby’s nutrition, but they also put their baby at risk of getting too much water in their system. Typically, water is used to dilute the formula which may not seem like a bad thing, except babies don’t need extra water. They get all the water they need from the formula when mixed as directed. Too much of anything is always bad, and in this case, when a baby gets too much water and not enough formula, there is also a higher probability of choking.
12 Leaving Breastmilk Out
Imagine pumping a day’s worth of breastmilk and accidentally leaving it out for too long. Yikes! Some moms would consider keeping the milk, warming it up, and feeding it to their baby. This practice is dangerous and could be fatal to your baby due to the amount of bacteria that could have built up during the time it was left out. When this happens, always remember the saying: “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Despite the fact that breastmilk can withstand a few hours without being refrigerated, it absolutely is not worth it to keep milk that’s been left sitting for a while, even if it is a lot. Bacteria can start to grow quicker than most people think. Consider keeping your baby safe, and do not make this mistake. Your baby is more important than crying over spilled milk!
11 Showering With Door Closed
Getting a few silent moments by shutting the door while you shower may sound tempting, but steer clear of this mommy mistake. Showering with the door closed can lead to not being aware of what’s going on with your baby. The possibilities are endless when your bathroom door is closed: a fire might break out, somebody might break in, or something small and easy to choke on could be lying around within baby’s reach.
It’s very easy to overlook this mistake, especially when you’re tired and in need of a shower. But when it comes to your baby’s safety, be more watchful. Why not make sure your child is napping peacefully in a crib before showering? Or maybe you could leave the door open to make sure that your baby is all right and in sight, even while you bathe.
10 Picking Up Baby By Their Arms
This is one of the more common mistakes made by moms. Picking a baby up by their arms may seem like a playful thing to do. However, keep in mind that doing so is highly dangerous and could seriously harm your baby. A baby that is often picked up by the arms is at high risk of dislocating their soft elbows and shoulders, especially when the picking up is done abruptly.
Aside from the danger of accidentally dislocating the baby’s arm or elbow, there is also a chance you might damage your baby’s neck and back by picking them up with their arms. Remember, there is a reason we are taught to hold babies the way we are. It keeps all their sensitive, soft parts in proper alignment while they continue to grow. Keep your baby safe by picking them up carefully and properly, making sure to support the neck and head most of all.
9 Not Keeping A Hand On Baby When Changing Their Diaper
The main danger of this practice is your baby rolling off the changing table. Falling off of high objects could cause serious harm to them, if not death. Not keeping your hand on your baby’s torso while changing them may seem like a rookie mistake, but keep in mind even the experts make mistakes. Babies are not exactly known for their ability to keep still. Any mom, new or experienced, could commit this mistake.
To avoid this mistake, make it your common practice to always have a hand on Baby while changing their diaper. Also, make sure you are laying them on a stable and safe surface that has enough room for them and your things. Try to remember to get everything you need ready ahead of time, as well. It’s easy to overlook it, but you have to be careful, Mommy!
8 Napping With The Baby
What harm can a simple nap do, right? Apparently, studies show that most of the crib deaths that occur in a year happen when the baby is co-sleeping with the parent. Co-sleeping is done out of affection, and sometimes even necessary. Some families cannot afford a crib or bassinet, so this seems like a natural solution. But this is dangerous, as even napping in the same bed as your baby increases chances of suffocation and SIDS, not to mention accidentally squashing your baby to death.
A good alternative to co-sleeping is having a crib or bassinet next to the bed, as opposed to having it in another room. Some countries even provide boxes for baby to sleep in! That way baby can be near mom without the risks associated with sharing a bed. Or, if you must have the baby on the bed, make sure to strip the duvet as this can cause the baby to suffocate, and keep them away from any curtains, blankets, or intricate headboards that they could get caught in.
7 Not Taking Allergies Seriously
With the influx of a variety of allergies, aches, and pains, parents are usually overwhelmed with what or what not to worry about. Is it a simple tummy ache or a ruptured appendix? An allergy to nuts or just a bad case of hives? Mothers need to be aware of when the symptom occurred and what the child ate so she can mention it to the doctor just in case it comes back. An observant mother can get lost in the paranoia while an uninterested mom might be overlooking something major.
So, when is the time to get worried? We are on the fence about it but as experts always say, “when an allergy strikes a child, it is best to see a health practitioner.” It is so easy to blame pollen or the cat but sometimes these symptoms, when repeatedly ignored, might be a cause for alarm. For mommies out there, don’t risk it. Bundle up the child and go for a doctor's visit. It could be nothing, or it could be fatal.
6 Putting Warm Honey In Milk
Putting warm honey in baby’s milk might be a sweet move to avoid colds and make the milk sweeter, but this is also a harmful move that could have lasting effects. Warm honey is not supposed to be given to infants due to a high risk of your baby getting botulism, a rare form of food poisoning from a certain spore of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. Botulism can cause listlessness, constipation, and a severe lack of appetite. In fact, honey should also be avoided by pregnant and nursing mothers for this same reason.
Not only can honey cause botulism, but it can also cause your child to have a sweet tooth from a young age. Honey has a high amount of sugar that can damage a growing infant’s teeth and slow down growth. Like all sugars, honey should be limited. If you want to add a bit more flavor to your baby’s food, try using pureed fruit like apples and bananas!
5 Wrong Car Seat Installation
With so many new models of car seats with loads of gadgets that need attaching, it can feel like one needs to have an engineering degree to get the job done. Every day five children die in car crashes. The way to prevent this statistic from continuing to rise is to use car seats. According to Dr. Alisa Baer, a pediatrician and nationally certified child passenger safety instructor, a large number of parents improperly install car seats.
When buying or installing one, parents should always do their homework. Research different products and check manuals before doing the deed. A child's size, age, and specifications need to be considered when finding an appropriate car seat. And while some parents want to go the economical route and find one on Craigslist -- please do not. Refrain from using a used car seat because one small missing part or a defective strap can make all the difference. Time to hit the stores dear parents and start searching!
4 Keeping The Baby Swaddled For Too Long
Keeping baby swaddled for too long can cut off their blood flow and cause their limbs to cramp. Swaddling as a practice has divided mothers into two camps because it has been an old practice (much like overfeeding), but until recently, swaddling has been met with more negative responses. If the swaddling is too tight it can cause hip dysplasia in babies. If the swaddling is too loose the baby can kick off their blankets and roll themselves over.
Not only can too much swaddling cause all of these, but it can also overheat your baby. Swaddling for longer periods of time is highly dangerous to your baby as it can mess with your child’s internal temperature and cause restlessness. This can also cause heat stroke and greatly harm your baby if left swaddled for too long. But then there are babies who only sleep when swaddled. As with all things, if in doubt contact your doctor.
3 Overheating The Baby By Over-bundling
Covering up for the colder months is one thing, and over-bundling your baby is another. Over-bundling your baby can overheat your baby, which can lead to a harmful heat stroke. Heat stroke can cause your baby to be less responsive with an incredibly high temperature, which is usually coupled with dehydration. This is harmful to your baby, not to mention highly stressful for you.
In the event that this happens, a mom must gently take Baby’s clothing off and pat her child with cold washcloths. It’s very easy to panic in this situation, but it is important to stay calm and be gentle until your baby responds. A good rule of thumb to prevent overheating is to dress your baby as you would yourself. Babies don’t need to be bundled head to toe just because they’re small.
2 Not Knowing Baby CPR
Baby Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation or CPR is an important skill every mom and dad should have. Proper administration of the technique also matters. That’s why not knowing how it works can turn a bad situation into a worse one really quickly. Not knowing CPR for your baby could put them at high risk in the event of choking, suffocation, smoke inhalation, asthma, or even poisoning.
Not knowing the proper administration of baby CPR can actually worsen the situation. This type of CPR requires a special, more restrained pressure to help clear your baby’s airways. Too little pressure? It would not make a difference and not help your baby. Too much pressure and you just might accidentally crush your baby’s ribs. Do not risk making this mistake. Sign-up for a CPR class at your local hospital or health center before baby arrives!
1 Putting Them To Sleep In Bad Position
Something as simple as sleep positions can make a world of difference to your baby. In some cases that difference could mean life or death. Putting baby to sleep in a bad position (such as on their side and on their stomach) can cause suffocation and cramping. Laying baby down to sleep on any side but their back is even associated with a higher risk of SIDS.
To avoid this, make sure the bed that baby is lying in is not soft enough for them to sink into. Put them to sleep in a position that clears their airways and allows them to breathe properly (on their back). It is also a good tip to remember not to leave any loose fabrics like blankets and curtains near your child, as these could also lead to suffocation. That means no stuffed animals in the crib either!