Disclaimer :: I am not a medical professional, and the information and opinions presented in this article are based on my experience and personal research and not of FWMB or CMBN.
As parents, we want to do everything possible to keep our children safe and healthy. We just don’t always know what those things are. Recommendations change as new research studies are published. Things that were considered “safe” a few years ago may now be considered deadly. As a parent, it can be almost impossible to keep up.
For me personally, nothing could have prepared me more for motherhood than working at Cook Children’s. No, I’m not a nurse or a doctor; I work in the marketing department. While it’s certainly not my job to treat patients, I have learned so many things about how to keep a baby safe and healthy during his first year of life. Most of these things, I can promise you, people are not aware of.
Here, I’ll share the top five most shocking things you may not know about keeping your baby safe and healthy.
(1) Oral health care begins before your baby has any teeth. It actually begins in the womb. There is a very strong connection between oral health and overall health. Poor oral health during your pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, and can increase the risk of your baby having oral health disease.
Before your baby has any teeth, it’s recommended that you wipe your baby’s gums twice a day with a clean, wet cloth. Your infant should visit the dentist by age one or when they cut their first tooth, whichever one comes first.
(2) Babies don’t need extra water. Even in the heat of summer. During their first year of life, babies get all the fluid they need through breast milk or formula, which are both mostly water anyway.
Consuming extra water can actually be deadly for a baby. It causes the sodium level in their blood to drop. This can lead to brain swelling, which can cause poor feeding, extreme exhaustion, seizures, and eventually death.
These next three things have to do with keeping your baby safe while sleeping. Tarrant County actually has one of the highest infant mortality rates and many of those deaths are related to unsafe sleeping environments.
I realize that after reading this section, you may not like me very much. But, it’s all in the interest of keeping your infant SAFE.
(3) The safest place for your baby to sleep is in his or her crib. This means no co-sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends room sharing but no bed sharing.
The risks of a sleepy parent rolling over and suffocating the baby are just TOO high. Also, once a baby is able to roll over, she could roll off the bed onto the floor or get stuck between the bed and the wall. Neither situation has a positive outcome.
(4) Your baby doesn’t need ANYTHING in their crib besides a firm mattress and flat, fitted sheet. No bumpers (even the mesh kind), stuffed animals, blankets, pillows. NOTHING.
The upside here is ALL the money you’ll save on all the extras that baby stores try to sell you. And for those, like me, who were so excited about decorating their baby’s room, don’t worry, there are still SO many things you can do to decorate and personalize your baby’s nursery. Wall art or decals, curtains, lighting, glider, pillows for your glider, the list goes on and on.
Worried about your baby getting cold? Put them in long sleeve footed pajamas or a sleep sack.
I’ve saved the most shocking for last . . . . (5) No swaddling after eight weeks. Moms, don’t hate me. I realize this is a tough one. It’s often times the only way new moms can get their babies to sleep. But, after two months of age, the risks of swaddling definitely outweigh the benefits.
These risks include:
- Possible suffocation. Once babies begin moving around more or rolling over in their sleep, the risk is high for the blanket getting lodged over their mouth where they are not able to breathe.
- Respiratory infections. A tight swaddle can keep a baby from taking deep breaths.
- Overheating. Not just because of the blanket but because they also can’t move their arms and legs around to cool off.
- Hip dysplasia, an abnormal formation of the hip joint where the top of the thigh bone is not held firmly in the socket of the hip.
So, there you have it! Are we still friends? Did you learn something new?
For all of you moms that aren’t lucky enough to work in pediatric health care, other moms are a GREAT resource for learning news things and keeping up with the latest and greatest health and safety recommendations. Fort Worth Mom’s Blog has created special Neighbor Groups for just this reason!
We have 20 Neighbor Groups through Facebook. They are free to join and offer online and offline opportunities to build relationships and gain resources from other moms in the area.