Motherhood is a tough ride, and is not for the weak. All the effort a mother exerts in the different and numerous chores it takes to raise a baby is not to be underestimated. Coupled with sleepless nights, the days get exhausting and sometimes boring. There are a lot of ways to deal with baby-related aspects. The debates on breast versus formula feeding, co-sleeping versus cribs, when to send to daycare…etc., go on and on, but at the end of the day, what matters is to keep all babies safe and healthy. The different opinions stem from difference in upbringing and culture, but they do not necessarily make a certain group of mothers bad or selfish.
On the other hand, some mothers actually have a bad side. They neglect important parts of caring for their babies. They engage in behaviors that are harmful to their babies and take the things that could hurt them too lightly. Babies are very sensitive creatures, therefore, not paying attention to “the little things” may end up causing more damaging consequences than the parents ever imagined.
Every parent wants what is best for their baby, but some of them are not able to commit to the sacrifice that parenthood demands, and do not put their babies’ needs above their own desires. Others are ignorant enough not to ask knowledgeable people for opinions, such as doctors, and insist on follow practices that are old, outdated and possibly dangerous. In this article, 15 things that selfish mothers do are listed, including how the baby is hurt by them.
15 Having A Smoke
Smoking has serious devastating effects on adult’s health. Yet, many mothers are not able to give up the habit. Worse, some mothers are so addicted to smoking that they smoke around their babies all the time. Paradoxical as it is, some mothers lessen, but are not able to quit, the smoking habit during pregnancy – a time in which they should refrain completely from this habit.
This means that the damage to the baby starts as early as fetal life. If the mother is lucky enough not to give birth to a baby with birth defects, continuing to smoke around that baby during the early years can still be equally harmful. Second hand smoke puts the baby at high risk of cancer, respiratory diseases and ear infections. Babies who are born preterm are particularly vulnerable because their lung development is incomplete at birth and takes time. There is no “safe” level of exposure, because babies are quite sensitive to chemicals in cigarette smoke.
14 Ignoring The Baby
To some, a crying baby sounds like it is just trying to give parents a headache and get on their nerves, but in reality, it is not. Crying is the only way a baby communicates its needs. Therefore, a parent must be attentive to the baby’s cries. Sadly, some parents think that babies cry all the time and choose to ignore the cries as long as the baby hasn’t obviously hurt themselves. This is not an emotionally healthy thing to do.
In fact, babies do not cry for no reason. They cry because they cannot go to sleep or because they are teething or coliciky, or simply because they are lonely. Medications can be given if the baby is ill, but it does not stop the crying. However, since the need is met, through medication and/or soothing, the crying eventually stops. What is unhealthy is ignoring the baby without checking if there is an unmet need. Sometimes, the need may not be physical as much as it is emotional. It is exhausting, but looking out for the baby by entertaining it and keeping it company is actually reassuring and builds strong bonds.
13 Yelling At The Baby
The pressure of taking care of a baby, side by side with other responsibilities, can be overwhelming sometimes. Babies do things that get on our nerves and we can lose control. Some parents lose control easier than others and start taking out their anger on their babies. They yell at them for spilling or breaking something, which is just a natural byproduct of the babies’ exploration. Persistent crying, which is a characteristic of babies, can also trigger parents.
Needless to say, yelling at such a small person yields horrible results. The parents are the only source of safety for the baby. The world is a big scary place to them, and mom and dad are the only things that makes them feel secure. When that feeling of safety is lost, a baby can suffer from fear that affects eating and sleeping patterns, particularly if yelling is common. It also damages the relationship with the baby into toddlerhood and beyond, creating scars that may be later impossible to heal.
12 Eliminating Household Dangers
One important aspect of having a baby is setting up the house to accommodate the little one. Other than buying stuff that the baby needs, such as a crib and a car seat, there is also the glorious baby proofing. As inconvenient as it is for parents, it is a must to keep the babies safe. This may mean extra effort for the parents as they navigate the home, which some parents neglect to do. It puts the baby at danger, but they do compromise their inconvenience.
Some mothers, for example, do not give up the expensive vases. They leave everything as it is and insist that the baby should “learn” not to touch them. While discipline is, in fact, an attractive and needed option, it starts at a certain age. Expecting young babies to give up their sense of adventure and exploration so a parent can have nice things at home is selfish and illogical. This very sense of exploring is how their brains develop and they should never be denied that chance. If you have expensive trinkets, put them up and and secure where the baby can’t reach it.
11 Buying Unsafe Used Baby Gear
Baby gear is an expensive part of having a baby, but it is an absolute necessity. It is not a must to buy every product in the book, but some things, such as car seats, are a needed safety measure. To save money, some parents use hand-me-down baby gear from friends, family or neighbors or buy used items at yard sales. It sounds like a bargain, and some things are actually worth the money.
With used baby gear, there is a risk of broken or missing parts. There may also be a lot of baby products out there that were recalled without the seller realizing it. There is also a chance of normal wear and tear that leaves certain parts, like belts, inefficient. This can have grave consequences. For example, a loose belt can increase risk of falling or slipping. A damaged part on a car seat can detach the seat from the car in the event of a car crash. Such carelessness can result in major injuries or death. Most people carry their cellphones, so if you see a bargain on a baby product, look it up before buying.
10 Sun Protection
A day at the beach is a great way to unwind. Even babies enjoy being outdoor by the sea. The fresh air does wonders for health. It is actually calming and helps kids and adults sleep better. However, this does not eliminate the needs for certain measures that keep the baby safe. Sun protection is one of those measures and is vital.
Negligent parents do not apply sunscreen to their babies according to their age. They also hit the beach at noon when the sun is too hot for the baby. In short, they look at how fun the day will be for them, ignoring the effects it might have on the little one. Additionally, if the parents go swimming, it is vital to leave the baby with someone trusted. The baby must never be left unattended, even if the parents can see it. Sunburn can be dangerous for babies, and leaving them without supervision means that they will not be heard if they cry.
9 Not Vetting The Babysitter
Hiring a babysitter to get a night out or run errands is a healthy option. Being away from the baby for an hour or two is needed, and so is running errands fast without worrying about taking the baby and dragging along all the accoutrements. Some parents take this advantage too far. They leave the baby with whoever agrees to take it, sometimes at the lowest of prices.
Although babysitters may not be regular, it is still a must to trust them. Background checks help to determine how good a person is. If something happens and the good trusted sitter or nanny leaves, the new one must be thoroughly checked before trusting them with the baby. Recommendations from trusted people is also a good way to determine who can stay with the baby. Otherwise, the baby may be left in the hands of someone who is negligent and careless, leaving its needs unmet and possible leaving it in danger.
8 Loud Noises And Music
Babies’ ears are as sensitive as the rest of their bodies. They process stimuli at an augmented intensity compared to adults. This applies to their hearing. This translates into their irritability and lack of comfort in loud noises. If something is noisy for a mother who is an adult, it is unbearable for babies.
Babies have smaller ear canal volume, which is why they could freak out at the sound of an airplane in the sky that adults barely notice. While loud noises do not necessarily contribute to hearing loss, they do irritate infants and scare them. Sustained noises can affect hearing negatively. It might not be the best idea to take a baby to a loud concert, or to the NASCAR races, considering how it will scare it and mess up its sleeping schedule. A one-time event may be fine, like some music at a wedding, but a lifestyle of noise is too much for a baby to handle.
7 Junk Food
Healthy eating is an integral part of baby care. It starts as early as their first meal at around 6 months of age. Choosing healthy foods for the baby is a must, although it requires a substantial amount of trial and error to see what the baby likes and a lot of effort in home cooking. Some parents choose the easy way out and buy junk food for their babies instead of preparing meals.
As soon as the baby starts eating finger foods, some parents choose French fries, pizzas and chicken nuggets from fast food restaurants as opposed to preparing healthy alternatives at home. Not only does this build up unhealthy eating habits from the start, but also it might start affecting the baby already. Research shows that unhealthy food for babies predisposes them for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Those are not to be taken lightly, because they can strike at any age. Children don’t have much choice when it comes to the food offered to them. It is best to give them the best health possible, now and as they get older, by offering healthy foods.
6 Skipping Vaccines
Vaccines are an ongoing debate. Some people think vaccines are harmful because they introduce diseases a baby’s body. Yet, science backs up vaccines by providing detailed mechanisms of how those vaccines worked to eradicate some diseases and protect children from others. Parents who give up vaccinating do it because they do not want to follow up on a schedule, because they would rather spend the money elsewhere if they do not have health care plan, or because they don’t believe the vaccine is helpful and actually is harmful.
Horror stories about unvaccinated children who got sick are everywhere. Personal experiences change parents’ minds, and some people have a change of heart and begin vaccinating later. It is never too late to protect babies from diseases. Some parents start vaccinating late on purpose using a delayed vaccine approach. Some people do not vaccinate out of the belief that it is not important, so they do not keep up with doctor’s advice or latest research and they put their babies at risk of life-threatening diseases.
5 Skipping Checkups
All babies get sick at some point. That is a known unchangeable fact of life. How parents handle their babies’ sickness is another story. There are mothers who worry endlessly about a sick baby and take every possible measure for the baby to get better. On the other side of the spectrum, there is the mother who wants to do so with minimum effort.
Some mothers take babies to the doctor, get the prescription, and give the baby the medication as the doctor ordered. As soon as the baby gets better, they drop the meds and neglect taking them for a checkup, even if the doctors asks. The downside is that sickness may come back if not treated properly. If a doctor recommends a checkup it is highly likely that skipping it will result in complications, the least of which is recurrent illness. The same can be said for stopping meds early based on symptomatic signs. Lazy parents who do that, harm their babies’ health by cutting out a part of the healthcare they need.
4 Too Much Screen Time
Television is a great way to entertain babies. Baby channels are designed to include programs with lots of appealing colors and music. They even custom make the programs to match night and day, with night programs being quieter and with soft music. This keeps babies busy and lets them see a lot of things they can’t get at home. While some experts recommend that television is only introduced starting the second year of life, others argue that television is not damaging as long as the time the baby spends does not exceed the reasonable recommendations.
Another way babies get screen time is if their parents give them tablets or smartphones to look at. Those devices isolate the baby and hinder its ability to talk and communicate effectively. They also have negative effects on brain development and attention span. Some parents use television and electronic devices to buy themselves some quiet time, but going overboard with this strategy can have undesirable effects later, especially in learning abilities.
3 Swing Naps
Napping in the swing is a hallmark of babyhood. Even if the parents do not intend to do it, the rocking motion of a swing puts babies to sleep eventually. With babies who are very hard to put to bed, using a swing with soft music may seem like a good option. However, caution should be exercised when doing this.
Some parents put babies to sleep in swings than transfer them to more comfortable positions in cribs. Others leave the baby where it is so they don’t risk dealing with more crying. Napping in the swing is not good for the baby’s back and head. The position of the swing that allows the baby to see well is upright, which is not designed for sleep. This is why parents harm their babies if they leave them to nap for an hour or more at an uncomfortable position just to get some quiet.
2 Lack Of Quality Time
Some parents think that non-talking babies are too young for playtime. They buy them toys and expect them to do all the playing by themselves. While is it true that babies need to play on their own, as it boosts their confidence and abilities, this does not diminish the need for quality time with parents. When parents ignore this silent need, the baby gets troubled.
It all depends on the baby’s temperament. Some babies cry to communicate the need for company and do not stop unless someone stays with them. Others get busy silently and rarely tug at a parent’s sleeve to get attention. This does not mean that not all babies need bonding with parents to develop in a healthy way. Parents who ignore spending quality time with babies and prefer to spend time on other things affect the baby’s bond with them and affect his social skills and emotional wellbeing.
1 Too Much Help
It may seem ironic that parents who are selfish actually pay their baby’s too much attention instead of ignoring them, but this actually can have deep psychological effects. One possibility is that parents use their babies as challenges, so they do everything for them because they want each and every thing to be done perfectly, leaving no room for the baby to do things as simple as feeding on its own. Another possibility is if this parent has a void in their lives that the baby fills. They do everything for the baby to make themselves feel “important.”
In either case, not giving a baby space to try and fail will result in the baby not learning anything. Instead of perfecting the task, the extra unneeded help actually interferes with the baby’s motor skills because it takes away the chance to practice. Some parents care more about their own feelings than about how fast or well the baby will develop. Later on, this attitude could persist into childhood and produce insecure children who lack self-confidence.