In a world so driven by social media and bold opinions, safely hidden behind the screen of a computer or smartphone, mom critics have become the new norm. There is NOTHING a mother can do to avoid it.
Even when we try to parent by the book, to the very best of our ability, there will be someone out there just waiting to tell us how poorly of a job we are doing. As if mothering isn't hard enough.
Women get criticized for raising their children vegan, being a helicopter mom, being a free-range mother, enforcing too many rules, not setting any boundaries, the list goes on and on, and it never stops. To be crystal clear, this isn't a list of no-nos to make moms feel bad. I have broken so many of these "Do No Dos" with my children, at one point I starting thinking, "Am I doing this right?"
I am, though. We all are are. I didn't know that many of these things were not okay to do with a six-month-old. True, some are no-brainers, but others might surprise many. Here are 20 informative, not accusatory, things that moms still think are safe to do with babies, but aren't.
20 Get Pregnant Again
For many moms and dads, the mere thought of carrying, birthing and raising another little person isn't even on the radar in the years after baby number one comes along. It can take years for parents to get their heads above water after they have their first child.
Aside from the logistics of adding another kid into the mix, there are biological reasons that moms should put the brakes on the baby making until well past their infant's first six months. The general recommendation is to wait eighteen months before deciding to get pregnant again so that a mother's body can recover fully from the previous childbirth experience.
19 Allowing A Swing Snooze
I have four children. Every single one of them napped in their infant swing, probably more often than I should admit. Honestly, I had no clue that a little sing-snooze was in the least bit questionable. When my eldest daughter was born, parents were still putting the car seats on top of the dryer to lull ordinary infants to sleep!
For those parents who aren't aware, allowing babies to sleep in a swing is not a good idea. The positioning of a sleeping baby in a swing can create difficulty in their breathing and even increase the odds of SIDS in some babies.
18 Skipping The Stroller Buckle
If you were anything like me, you didn't have an issue with skipping the stroller buckle when your babies were teeny tiny. Infants don't do a whole lot of rolling and crawling anyhow, right? It's not like they are going to eject themselves from a sturdy stroller suddenly.
While this is true, as babies get closer to that six-month mark, they become mobile little wizards, and a fall can undoubtedly happen. So can wonky sidewalk bumps and accidental tips. Just strap your baby into their stroller seat and anything that has a strap option, and check one thing off of your list of parental worries.
17 Put Off Baby Proofing
So you think you have more time to get around to baby proofing your pad? Think again. Six months is when little ones go from not moving an inch to rolling, scooting and crawling at warp speed. You need to be ready when the time comes.
Put plugs in your outlets, tuck cords away out of the reach of tiny hands and anchor down anything and everything that can tip over. Baby proofing is one area of parenting that you can get ahead of and that's huge considering so much of parenting is playing catch up!
16 Allowing Lots Of Screen Time
Now that your baby is coming up on his or her half-year birthday, you might be thinking it's high time to break out the Sesame Street and Baby Elmo videos. They are geared towards the education and development of children, so they can't be all that bad right? Actually, they can.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents keep all screens off around babies and toddlers younger than 18 months. Even children past the age of 2 should not be staring at a screen for longer than an hour. (I broke this rule a time or two... or a million.)
15 Install Crib Bumpers
Crib bumpers are cute, they keep infant heads from knocking against hard wooden rails, and they are far more questionable than they look. While many moms now know that these bedtime bumpers should be omitted no matter what, some moms continue to install them in their babies cribs.
Not only can very young infants become wedged in the plush material, but as they become mobile they can use the bumpers to help navigate their way out of the crib. The rest of the nursery is probably plenty beautiful. You don't need the crib bumpers.
14 Get The Ladies Redone
It is no great secret that pregnancy and nursing can take a severe toll on a woman's tatas. The girls never quite look the same after a little one has used them as their primary source of food for the better part of a year. Throw in several nursing experiences, and you may end up with the girls looking like they need some TLC.
If augmentation is something you see in your future, wait until you have finished nursing your baby, and then add on six more months of wait time before going through with it.
13 Bundling Up The Baby For A Car Ride
Bundling up your little one for a car ride: it's now known among parenting circles everywhere as "The winter coat mistake." Don't feel bad if you have don't think several hundreds of times before, so have I. I didn't know that I was putting my baby in a less than ideal situation. I merely felt that I was keeping them protected from winter's hard elements.
It is now highly recommended that parents do not put bulky coats and snowsuits on their babies before strapping them into their car seats. Doing so can prevent a safe and snug ride. Provide blankets, preheat the car or move to Florida to keep your baby warm during the colder months.
12 Taking A Puff
If you were a smoker before you got pregnant, and managed to kick the habit for nine months while your infant grew inside your belly, let me be the first to say job well done! Going cold turkey isn't an easy thing to do. Remember, just because your baby is now out of your belly and has made it to six months doesn't mean that it is safe to pick the habit back up. Second-hand smoke can still create many issues with your baby.
11 Omit Tummy Time
Many mommies out there still put tummy time off until their babies are safely out of the "I can barely lift my head, thus might quit breathing" stage of life. Of course, most parents only have the best of intentions when they put off the uber-important neck and upper body strengthening exercise, but forgoing it is indeed a disservice to infants.
Tummy time should start as early as during the newborn days. During the first few weeks of life, babies need a few minutes throughout the day to work their muscles and grow stronger. As they get older, the time spent on their bellies should increase.
10 Placing Bumbos And Infant Chairs On The Counter
Babies might be small, but they can be mighty. If they happen to get moving and shakin' in their Bumbo chair or bouncy chair and are high up on a counter, catastrophe can occur. We moms sometimes forget that an accident takes all but a second to happen and when we are popping muffins in the over, that is all the time it takes for a baby to tip on over.
Keep babies of all ages at the ground level so that any tips that happen to occur are happening from a few inches off the ground, not a few feet!
9 Ignoring Allergy Symptoms
Infants are no strangers to common cold symptoms, especially if they have older siblings or attend a daycare of sorts. Parents unwittingly mistake allergy symptoms for viral symptoms all of the time.
Allergy symptoms in babies might include itchy nose and eyes, nasal congestion, coughing, sneezing, and asthma.
If it seems like your tot can't shake what you think are cold symptoms, and they aren't running a fever, it might be time to consider allergens as the culprit to their ailment. Colds usually run their course in a matter of weeks while allergy symptoms hold on for longer.
8 Sleep Alongside Baby
Babies should always be put down for sleep sessions in their bed. To ensure the safest sleeping conditions possible, keep cribs free of all items no matter how big or small. All a baby needs in there are a solid mattress and a fitted sheet.
Allowing your baby to sleep in your bed beside you might seem convenient, but it is not a good idea. Co-sleeping can increase the risk of SIDS. If you must be within arms reach of your little one, spring for a sturdy bassinet and place it next to your bed. This was the baby is still right next to you, but safely in his own space.
7 Start Solid Foods
By the time your baby reaches six months of age he or she is probably eyeing your grown-up meals pretty hard. Your baby may already have a few teeth in his cute little mouth, and many moms take these developments as a sign that their baby is geared up and ready to eat with mom and dad at the Chinese buffet.
Solid foods will have to wait until after six months though. Breastmilk or formula is the only food that your baby needs until they reach the half a year threshold. Introducing solids early on can make him prone to allergies later on in life.
6 Change Out The Baby Seat
We know that to your eyes, your six-month-old baby looks so big and old! In a few short months, they have gone from a six-pound newborn to a babbling, smiling, clapping, crawling little person! While they look grown to you, they are far from being ready to graduate to a front-facing car seat.
Keep them turned backward for longer! The newest recommendation regarding car seats suggests parents keep their babies facing read until they are two years old or have exceeded the seat's height and weight limits for the rear position, which is typically around thirty-five pounds.
5 Let The Little One Cry It Out
Crying it out, otherwise known as The Ferber method, is a technique many parents rely on when teaching their child to self-soothe. Essentially they let their child cry and carry on instead of running into the nursery to meet their every need. Eventually, children figure out how to calm themselves down, and parents get a little bit more rest.
While there isn't anything wrong with going with the Cry It Out method of parenting, it is recommended that parents wait until babies are physically and emotionally ready to soothe themselves and meet their own needs. Before six months old, they are crying for reasons other than to simply see your pretty face and they are counting on you to meet those needs. The Cry It Out technique should be put off until after your baby reaches their half-year birthday.
4 Skip Out On Vaccinations
Vaccinations are one of modern medicines greatest creations. They keep us from dealing with some pretty bad illnesses. Last time we checked, Small Pox was fun for no one! Babies get a boatload of vaccines during their first few months of life, and while these shots have been proven to be far more beneficial than harmful for infants, some moms still skip out on them. For many, the fear of injecting a baby with something is just too worrisome, and some moms let this fear guide their decision not to vaccinate their young babies. My advice here is to listen to the medical professionals when it comes to protecting your child.
3 Microwave Bottles
There comes the point in every mother's life where she begins to wonder what life is like without bottles, for she has made so many of them in the last six months she can barely remember a time before them. Feeding infants is a fulltime gig, and the prepping of milk or formula, the actual feeding, the cleaning, and storage will start to run your entire day.
It's so tempting to pop a bottle in the microwave and nuke it for just a few seconds rather than stand over a pot of scalding water as you heat your baby's tenth bottle of the day. Tempting as it is, microwaving milky meals is not a good idea.
2 Leave The Baby In The Car
Bottom line" Just don't do it. Not for one minute. Leaving any children in a vehicle unattended is never the right call. Believe me, I get the inconvenience of having to uproot a sleeping baby from their car seat so that you can run into the store and grab milk, but the possibilities of what might happen in your absence are just not worth it. This is especially important to remember in warmer weather.
1 Leave A Sitting Baby In The Tub
I think the vast majority of moms and dads know that children should never be left alone in even a couple of inches of standing water. Mishaps happen all of the time. When babies become six months old, they begin to sit up all by themselves. Moms can see this new balance skill as a sign that they can sit in the tub.
This is a tremendous false sense of security folks and never worth it. Even though you have a sturdy sitter on your hands does not mean that you can take your eyes off your tot for even a second.