Friday, December 1, 2017

Never Too Careful

 My sister is about to have her second baby. It's been five and a half years since her first, and even longer for me. We haven't had to deal with all the baby rules for quite some time.

Back when I had Madison, smart phones were really JUST becoming a thing. My phone had a camera, and the internet, and I had unlimited texting, which was huge. But I wasn't crawling the web for mommy blogs, joining a multitude of Facebook groups, or obsessing about what random strangers thought about my parenting choices. I read my baby books (kept conveniently stocked next to the chair I nursed in), and I listened to my mom, my friends with babies, and my pediatrician. I felt like I was ok with those sources.

When Reagan was born eighteen months later, my phone was MUCH smarter. Rather than reading books while I nursed, I wasted time on Facebook, or read blogs. But the blogs and Facebook were much more for amusement and conversation. I wasn't really looking for advice, and I wasn't getting a ton.

Now, that is NOT the case, and I give my sister a lot of credit. Having a baby in this age of ridiculous information has to be excruciating. We know too much.

That sounds wrong. I am not advocating for blissful ignorance. I do look back at pictures of Madison in a car seat just SWIMMING in after market products, and I'm really happy that we were never in a wreck. I know now that I made all sorts of mistakes. Half the things I not only used but swore by when she was a newborn are now recalled. All the sanctimommies, wearing their badges proudly, nod and chant "know better, do better". I am not judged for doing the best with the information (or lack thereof) I had. But now that I know, it is my DUTY to make sure that no baby lives the perilous first year without ALL THE INFORMATION.

I mean, seriously, it seems like my poor sister is bringing a baby into the world where you have to be completely fearful of EVERYTHING. We all know that thick bumpers are bad. Now, so are mesh bumpers. Now, so are "wonder bumpers". My sister rear faced my niece until four, which was WAY ahead. Still, she fails. She used car toys, and bundlers, and other things that WILL KILL YOUR BABY.

Our pediatrician is a smart and practical man. He explained to me once that there is no magic beam that makes your baby completely ready for solid food at six months, but obviously too young at five months and twenty nine days. That age that pediatricians give usually is the LATEST - the marker that means that nearly all babies will be ready by. Because they know that moms are crazy, they can't give the vague "well, 50% of babies are ready for solids at 4 months, but 50% may not be and will get digestive issues if you try to push them. 90% plus are ready at 6 months, so, to not make you crazy by scouring your child for any signs, 6 months is safe."

Note to crazy moms reading this because it is a "mommy blog" and that's where you get your information: I made those percentages up. Do not use this particular piece as your guide. However, the dates that pediatricians give you are pretty arbitrary as well. 

Some products are not only safe, but lifesavers. However, if you use them like a crazy person, then, yeah, they might cause issues. I swore by two things when my girls were newborns: white noise played right up against their heads, and the Rock and Play sleeper. With those two things, a swaddle, a pacifier, and a little prayer, my girls were amazing sleepers early on.

If I had a baby today, however, I would be judged HARD. Because SAFE SLEEP DICTATES that infants lay completely flat on a bare bed. The Rock and Play is at an incline and OH MY GOD DO YOU WANT YOUR BABY TO DIE?? Because they definitely will if you let them sleep in that evil contraption. And while white noise is fine, playing it up against their heads will SURELY cause hearing loss, ADHD, and basically counts as hands off abandonment parenting. Never mind that the womb is loud or that it works much better than rocking.

Trust me, I'm all for safety. I wouldn't feel great about putting the girls in the car seats from the 80s, or earlier, when it was more of a "hold on tight" strategy. We know things now, and I really appreciate the fact that we're getting information.

But I truly hope my sister has the good sense to spend her first few postpartum months playing Candy Crush, not second guessing her every move.
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