With all of the information at our fingertips, we might think we know everything about keeping our babies safe. We see doctors and talk to other moms, so most of us feel fairly confident about making good decisions for our children. However, there are hidden dangers in places most moms don't expect, and they can have a profound effect on our babies.
New trends, our cell phone obsessed world, and just bad decision making can damage our children in the now and in the future. It's possible that parents may even being doing what they thought was right or what was done for them when they were kids, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.We can damage our children without meaning to, and that's what happens in many cases where children are harmed by their parents.
Moms are not only responsible for their children's physical development but also their emotional and mental well being. The responsibilities are endless, but it's best to know how to go about parenting in a way that helps guarantee the least amount of problems for the child. Though parenting advice is always changing, there are some solid pieces of advice that never go out of style.
Once mom makes it through pregnancy, she has to navigate birth and then actually raising a child, so it's best to stay up to date on how we are unintentionally harming our kids and then work to avoid these missteps.
15 Letting Baby Sleep With Blankets
Tragedy can strike when mom lets the baby sleep with a blanket. It's recommended that babies sleep without anything in their cribs, including pillows, stuffed animals, or blankets. However, some moms believe that a tiny blanket won't hurt, or they don't follow this rule for long enough. Because of this, tragedy has occurred.
Babies can get wrapped up in a blanket, even a small one, and suffocate. It's a horrible, senseless way to lose a child, but it does happen. A recent case was in the news because the mother who lost her baby wanted to warn other moms not to every let their kids sleep with sheets or blankets.
Dressing a child in appropriate clothes is enough. Mom can check to see if the baby is too cold during the night, but she does not need to solve that problem by putting covers in the crib.
14 Letting Them Cry It Out All Night
Unpopular truth: crying it out is not good for babies, no matter how convenient it may be for parents. It's true that the age of the child matters when it comes to crying it out, but very young babies should not be left to self-soothe. They simply can't, and denying them what they need can lead to failure to thrive.
Babies cry a lot when they are little, and they also need to be fed every couple of hours. This is normal, and parents shouldn't expect a baby to sleep through as many hours as they do uninterrupted. When a parent doesn't respond to a child's needs, it can leave them feeling insecure and nervous since they aren't sure they will be taken care of, and they can't take care of themselves.
As babies age, it may be more appropriate to teach them about calming down without needing something from mom and dad, but the first few weeks and months are not for that at all, and a child can fail to thrive if a parent tries to push them to independence too soon.
13 Separating From Them After Birth
Hospitals sometimes put rules in place that don't benefit mom or the baby, and moms don't always know this going in. It's absolutely best for mom and the baby to stay together after the birth, but many hospitals whisk the baby away to be weighed, receive vaccines, and get a bath. This is bonding time that is lost and can't be given back.
Early skin-to-skin time is good for bonding, and mom bonding to the baby is essential. It's also best if a mom starts trying to breastfeed as soon as possible since there is a connection between how early mom breastfeeds and how long she will breastfeed overall. When babies are taken away in those first minutes or hours, this isn't possible.
Women who are separated from their babies also often struggle with regrets. They may have a harder time recovering from birth or looking at their birth story without sadness since they felt isolated from their child in the beginning.
12 Putting Them To Sleep On Their Stomachs
The Back to Sleep Campaign was launched to try to lessen the occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS), and while no one is 100 percent sure why SIDS occurs, putting a baby to sleep on his back is a way to lessen the risks. In fact, even leaving a baby on his side is not a good idea.
Of course, babies tend to sleep best when their bellies and chests are up against something, making it logical to want to place them on their tummies. They don't startle as easily, and they sleep much longer most of the time. However, it's simply not safe. A baby who cannot turn his head and ends up with his face pressed into the mattress will suffocate, and mom and dad will have no idea that this is happening.
Don't risk stomach sleeping. It's better to have a baby who is waking every few hours than one who doesn't wake up at all because of a terrible tragedy.
11 Feeding Them Solids Too Soon
With an increase in food allergies, many doctors and researchers are recommending a simple step to help kids: don't feed them solids too early. Yes, we know that everyone's mom or grandma will tell her to put rice in the bottle to get the baby to sleep, or just to feed the kid from the table when he's six weeks old, but it's not a good idea.
First of all, it's good to breastfeed the baby at least through the first year of life, and he will get plenty of nutrients from mom's milk. Second, a baby's stomach is tiny, and the baby body is not ready to consume what adults consume. Waiting gives a child's body the chance to grow, and it may help him avoid food allergies. Plus, food before one is just for fun, so why rush it?
Waiting also gives mom a chance to find just the right starter foods and to decide if she wants to use store bought food or make her own. Feeding a baby a healthy, balanced diet is key, and that's why it's easy to let breast milk do the work for a while!
10 Distractions Galore
A strong argument for putting down the cell phone has finally been presented, and parents should take note. There is a window of time when babies are especially susceptible to negative outcomes due to distracted parents. It can change how their brains are wired and mess with the development of their systems in a way that keeps them from registering pleasure like the kids of non-distracted parents.
It's true that cell phones aren't the only things that distract, but when mom has tons of apps on her phone, all of which beep or make some other kind of noise when notifications come in, phones become the most distracting issue. A mom who is playing with her young child but then leaves to answer an incoming text is rerouting her child's brain, and not in a positive way.
It's true that we live in a phone-obsessed world, and many moms need them for work or social contact, but something as simple as muting notifications and setting times to check in can help us be less distracted. It will also benefit our babies' growing minds.
9 Not Vetting Caretakers
Just because someone offers to babysit doesn't mean they are a good candidate. Even family members need to understand that there are rules to be followed. In fact, many are finding that grandparents and those of older generations who watch young children aren't always up to date on safety regulations, such as putting the baby on the back to sleep or using car seats every single time.
Whether it's family or a sitter, parents need to make their expectations known to whoever keeps their kids, and they also need to make sure the caretaker knows CPR.
Even daycare centers shouldn't be spared a critical eye. Just because a place says they are approved to take in kids doesn't mean they are, and mom and dad need to do their research before choosing a place for their child to stay.
8 Not Responding To Their Needs During The Day
Babies don't cry because it's fun. If they are upset, there is a reason, and there are parents who refuse to acknowledge how upset their children are. This doesn't just take place at night when parents try to sleep train too early. It can happen in the middle of the day when a child needs a diaper change or is hungry.
Many moms try to schedule their child's eating to the point that they decide when the child eats, not the baby. This may sound convenient, but babies go through growth spurts, and not acknowledging that is dangerous. It's also not smart to let a child sit around in a dirty diaper or to ignore their distress just because mom can't immediately figure out what is wrong.
Sometimes babies just need to be held, and that's okay. It's a real need, not a want, and it helps children thrive and grow emotionally. Ignoring those needs is irresponsible.
7 Birth Interventions
Interventions during birth can lead to long-term problems for babies, but most moms don't know how to refuse them. When a doctor recommends scheduling an induction so mom will know when she's going to deliver, he often fails to admit that there are loads of problems that can occur when we mess with the natural course of things.
If a child is taken too early, he can have lung or other developmental problems, and due dates are just an estimate. There's also the risk that an induction will cause a domino effect, leading mom to other interventions. This all often ends in a C-section, a major surgery that can have a negative outcome for both mom and baby.
If mom is low risk and there is no reason to pile on tons of interventions, then she shouldn't. She has the right to refuse and to let her baby have as close to a natural start as possible.
6 Skipping The Pacifier
It may seem intuitive to not let our kids do things we will eventually want them to stop doing. That's why many moms don't offer their babies pacifiers. If a child becomes attached to a pacifier, it's hard to break them of using it, so many moms feel it's less of a hassle just to not give them one in the first place.
However, there are definite benefits to pacifiers, and a baby who uses one has a lower chance of succumbing to SIDS. Though no one is completely sure why, babies who use pacifiers when they sleep lower their risk of dying from SIDS by over 50 percent.
Some believe that a baby who is sucking on a pacifier will not fall into a sleep so deep that they have erratic breathing. Other people say it's hard for a child with a pacifier in his mouth to suffocate. Whatever the reason, don't skip the pacifier during sleep time.
5 Putting Them In Containers
Containers are defined as places that babies sit while mom isn't holding them, and they can be life savers. Car seats are containers, but babies should only be in them when riding in a car. The problems start when vibrating seats, car seats, and strollers are used to hold the baby more than they should be.
Plagiocephaly, a condition where a child's delicate head becomes flat in one area, is plaguing infants. The heavy helmets used to treat this condition are costly, uncomfortable, and a child may also need physical therapy to treat the issue.
Leaving babies in containers long term can also result in injuries, including death. Babies left to sleep in car seats or other containers without being constantly supervised can stop breathing because these seats are not made to hold the babies' heads in the right position for air to get through. It's a big risk to take, and one that parents should be educated about.
4 Screen Time
No parent wants to hear that screen time is bad for kids because we lean on it so much to help us get through the day. However, research confirms that too much screen time is a bad idea for kids, and kids under the age of two shouldn't be staring at screens at all.
How do we accomplish this in a screen-filled world? Intentionally with a ton of hard work. We need to time how long our kids watch television or play on devices because it can affect their behavior and brain development. We also need to monitor what our kids watch so they aren't exposed to content that is inappropriate.
Yes, even for babies screens are dangerous. In fact, it's unwise to put a baby in front a screen and let it babysit the child. A child's brain is growing so much that first year, and the baby needs interactions with real human beings who are near them to properly develop. No screen can replace that.
3 Letting Them Sleep In Their Own Rooms
We know, it's totally weird to think that after being warned forever not to co-sleep that researchers are now saying to move the babies into our rooms. However, they aren't recommending co-sleeping where baby is in the bed with mom. Researchers are just recommending that a baby be in the same room in their own crib or safe co-sleeping attachment.
Research shows that the outcomes for babies who bed down in mom and dad's room are much better. The chance of SIDS goes down drastically, and though six months is the minimum for the baby staying in mom and dad's room, it's best if this situation lasts the whole first year. This makes sense because SIDS is the biggest risk the first year of life.
It may be that mom is more responsive if the baby is in the room, or it may be something else entirely. Whatever is going on, babies who are in their own rooms are at risk of problems babies who room with their parents are not.
2 Not Providing Gut Bacteria
This can not always be helped, especially at birth. Women who give birth vaginally provide their children with microbes, or bacteria, at birth that will help build their immune systems. The baby receives these when traveling down the birth canal and out of mom's body, and it's a very important start to a healthy life.
Women who have C-sections miss this opportunity for their children. However, there is a process now where a bag can be placed in mom's vagina before birth and then the bacteria rubbed on the baby when he emerges. It's not exactly the same, and the baby won't receive as much helpful bacteria, but it definitely helps.
Breastfeeding also provides our kids with a better start in life when it comes to immunity. This is important since so many diseases are now being linked to gut issues, meaning there are problems with bacteria in the gut that lead to disease.
1 Not Talking To Them
For most moms, it's intuitive to talk to their babies. Sure, the baby doesn't talk back, but he does look into mom's eyes, and mom will likely notice a calm expression on his face when she is speaking to him. Though most women don't think about it, speaking to a child is the first step in teaching them to speak back to us at some point.
Babies also need someone speaking to them to make them feel safe and loved. They can understand the tone of what mom is saying, and they know where she is at emotionally by hearing her voice. It's an important part in the baby's development.
Not speaking to our children can put them behind, and a child who is not ever spoken to could be considered neglected. For women who are struggling with postpartum depression(PPD), it may be hard to find words when they feel so bad. Seeking help is key so mom and baby won't suffer.