Adulthood is full of choices and options.
Once we grow up, we can choose whatever path of life suits us best, and in the end, we know that our choices affect us, but hey, it's our lives, and we can live them however we want, right?
Then parenthood approaches and suddenly those people who lived their lives for themselves, ever so unapologetically, are making daily decisions for another small human being. There is no room in motherhood for selfishness. Every step of a mama's journey is taken with that baby in mind, and we all want to make the best possible decisions for them.
The problem is that where parenthood is concerned, there are so many options to choose from. What bedding is best? What foods should we pick for our babies? How much tummy time is essential for optimal muscle strengthening? Is "crying it out" the way to go, or are we supposed to nurture and coddle every step of the way? It's hard to say if there are any right answers when it comes to the best way to parent. To help us all reach the finish line though, some guidelines have been set in place.
Moms will always do what they think is best when it comes to their child, so here are 20 things that moms might consider not doing during their first year of raising their babies.
The concept of crying it out is one that mothers everywhere desperately hold on to during that first year of motherhood. At some point, some other, more seasoned mom, convinces them that if they set the baby down and just let her scream herself tired, she will learn to not cry for her parents. Parents think that letting babies cry it out will make them "less needy," and that is an absolute misconception.
Babies under one year of age cry because they need something, not because they are holding court. They wail because that is their only means of communication, and ignoring their needs isn't something you want to establish early on.
Some parents think that if they hold young babies, they might spoil them and create habits that turn out to be hard to break. Even with all that we know about infant development, moms everywhere still swear that if they put the baby down enough, they will learn not to crave a grown up's attention all of the time. According to Psychology Today, babies are designed to be held. When they are securely in the arms of a loved one, they can genuinely relax and feel a deep sense of peace. This peace and trust are essential for infants, so don't short them of it.
Infants do need massive amounts of contact to develop and grow in the way that we want them to. No, you don't have to lock eyes with your infant 24 hours a day, nor must you rock them throughout their mid-day slumbers, but you should also not ignore them. Some parents assume that if the baby isn't screaming, then they are good to be set down and left alone. Babies need to hear soothing sounds, engage in touch, and watch their caregiver's facial expressions. Infants come into the world ready to communicate in their own ways, and parents should be in tune with those means of theirs. In other words, be present.
Tummy time is vital for a baby's development. The practice of placing a baby on her belly and allowing her to strengthen her muscles should start almost as soon as the baby comes home from the hospital. The sessions should begin briefly and continue to lengthen as they grow older and stronger. While most new parents know that they should encourage tummy time at some point, they often wait and start it much later than recommended. Don't wait until your little one is practically crawling across the floor before you schedule in his practice sessions, get a move on early and give him a leg up in the development department.
Grapes might look like an innocent fruit, and most kids adore them, but they are more dangerous than they appear to be. Grapes are major choking hazards to little ones, and even well past the first birthday, they can get stuck in small airways and restrict breathing. They are the third most common cause of death in food-related incidents in children. Don't serve them, or any small foods, in the first twelve months of life, and even, later on, make sure to cut them in half or even into quarters. Grapes and sausages look harmless, but if they get served incorrectly, they could be your greatest nightmare.
When it comes to microwaving baby bottles: don't. We know it's roughly a million times easier to stick the thing in the hotbox for 30 seconds and then feed it to your screaming child, but it is far better to take the time to heat the milk the old fashioned way.
Microwaving bottles can cause the liquid in them to warm up unevenly, leaving some parts scalding and others not so much. These "warm spots" can actually scald your infant's throat or tongue. When it comes to making a warm baby beverage, heat some water in a pan and stick the bottle in it, or spring for a specially designed bottle warmer. Whatever you do, don't nuke the milk!
We get you; you are pretty much living in your car by the time you have your second, third or fourth kid. Older kids have to get to school and sports and you, dear mother, are the family taxi driver. This new job title of yours can mean that little ones get fed on the go more than we care to admit. It isn't advised to feed youngsters in their car seats if they are still young enough to be lying back. When they take their bottles this way, gas can get trapped in their tiny bellies, causing a world of discomfort. It's hard to get back to the last row of the minivan and burp an uncomfortable infant. I can tell you that from experience!
Mothers feel strongly about how they nourish their infants. Lots of new mommies are sure that the only way to go it to nurse their babies for as long as they can. Others roll their eyes at the concept of exclusively breastfeeding and are totally at ease with bottle feeding formula to their babies. Most healthcare providers can now agree that when it comes to feeding babies, getting fed is best. It doesn't matter how your baby gets his meals, just as long as you are getting food to him frequently and often. Holding too firmly to one method of feeding or the other can negatively impact your child, and that is that last thing that mothers genuinely want.
It is a parent's instinct to make sure their child is bundled up warm, but too much bundling can be harmful to little ones. Babies are prone to overheating and throwing too many layers on them can even increase their risk to SIDS. A good rule of thumb for parents is to put one more layer on that they are wearing. If you are in a tee shirt, then maybe try a lightweight long shirt for your little one. If you aren't sure if your kiddo is getting too heated under his sweaters, place your hands on his chest or his tummy. If your baby feels warm, then he can likely go without a coat.
One of the most fun parts of parenting is going out and buying your tot all of the brightly colored toys that are currently on the market. Who knew that shopping for someone else other than ourselves would ever bring us such complete joy and fulfillment. When loading up on toys though, keep in mind that babies explore everything with their mouths. If you give it to them, then they will gum it. Knowing that whatever you buy is going to end up in your babies mouth, make sure you are purchasing age-appropriate toys without small pieces. Small pieces are never good when it comes to infants.
If spraying perfumes and lathering up with scented lotion makes you feel like a whole new woman, you may try and find an alternative way to feel fancy after you become a mother. Going scent and dye free may be the preference of your child. Strong odors in perfumes, lotions and other beauty products can be very overpowering and irritating to young babies because of the chemicals used to make them. If you must apply something, look for items on the shelf that are as chemically free as possible, or try using essential oils. Remember, regardless of what you do end up choosing, your natural scent is your little guy's favorite.
As your baby moves away from the newborn days, you may be tempted to gift her with softer bedding, blankets, pillows, and cushy stuffed animals. Resist this temptation at all costs. Bedding should remain bare until after your kid turns one year old. The only things that should be in his crib are himself, a firm mattress and a fitted sheet, nothing else. This recommendation, by the US Academy of Pediatrics, was put into place so that babies stayed safe during their slumber. Firm bedding helps to ensure infants don't get tangled up blankets or have their mouths and noses get covered by objects in the crib.
Juice is yummy, packed with vitamin C and loaded with sugars. Babies under six months of age especially, should not be given juice of any kind. She doesn't need the extra sugars nor the added calories. Her meals of formula or mama's milk alone are precisely enough for her growing body. If juices are going to get added to a baby's routine after the six-month mark, then they should be diluted down and used sparingly. Again, fruit juice is something that they don't know they are missing out on if they have never had it. Milk will do for now, and later on, thirst can be quenched with water alone.
Just because your little one is getting older and is sometimes able to entertain himself for half-a-minute doesn't mean that you are free to do whatever who want and leave him to raise himself for extended periods. Babies are made to be connected to their caregivers. When they are left alone, they immediately sense a feeling of wrongness. Infants innately know that they are supposed to be there with you, close to you. Independence is something that can't get forced onto a small baby. That skill will come with time, and that time is not within the first year of life.
Not all parents agree on how to give consequences out to their children. The way we provide rewards and discipline to our kids vastly varies. With so many different practices out there, how are moms to know which is right and which is wrong? Most professionals can agree that giving young babies any consequence is detrimental.
According to Psychology Today, punishment on young kids can have severe and lasting effects including decreased trust in adults, less motivation to learn, and suppression of interests. Babies aren't acting out to be naughty; they are merely learning about the world around them via the only way they developmentally can. Hold off on the punishing, moms — save it up for the teenage years.
When it comes to motherhood, the most detrimental thing that a new mommy can do is ignore her own needs. New moms often experience a whirlwind of experiences and emotions after giving birth, and many of these new moms get hit with the baby blues or worse postpartum depression. Feelings of depression can strike at any point during the first year of motherhood and often include feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety, and irritability. The bottom line is that new moms can't take care of their babies if they aren't taking care of themselves. If these feelings are present, moms should seek out help and get treatment.
If your child is fortunate enough to have a present mother and father in their life, then take advantage of this arrangement and allow daddy to take the reins. Moms sometimes become overwhelmingly attached to their infants and think that they are the only ones who can provide for the baby. It's understandable that mom feels this way after growing the baby in her body for nine months, but it is beneficial to the baby to allow others who love her to become fully immersed in her life. According to the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, it is just as crucial for dads to forge bonds with their babies as it is with moms.
Grown-ups like to add salt to their already pre-salted foods here in the Western World. Sodium dependence is not the healthiest habit. Just because mom and dad enjoy adding some sodium to their veggies and side dishes doesn't mean that they should go ahead and salt up Juniors foods, too. Babies systems, their kidneys, in particular, cannot cope with too much sodium, and parents could be putting them in harm's way if they shake on the good stuff. Keep your little one's meals pure and simple. They won't know that their food is bland because they will have nothing to compare it to. Steer clear from processed foods as much as you possibly can. Those also tend to be high in sodium content.
Adding honey to your little love's yogurt is another no-no if the baby is under a year old. Honey can occasionally contain a spore of a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum, and that is no good for little guys. Something like this can cause severe health issues in your baby. Besides the frightening stuff, honey can cause problems with emerging teeth. Some people believe that sweets like honey can steer your kiddo towards a tendency to crave sugary foods later on. Honey is delicious for sure, but your baby can wait until he is past the one year mark before indulging in the good stuff. You'll sleep better too knowing that he isn't going to get sick from it.
Humans are the only animals on the planet that drink milk after they get weaned from their mother. We go from formula and breastmilk directly to cow milk most times. It's important to hold off on the dairy drink until after the baby's first birthday. Babies can not break down or digest cow's milk easily, and this digestion roadblock makes for very unhappy infant tummies. Cows milk also contains high concentrations of proteins and minerals, which are hard on underdeveloped kidneys. Stick to infant formula or mama's milk until your kiddo turns one, and then you can make the decision to pour him a glass of good old 2%!