Under-supported & over-informed…
We’ve all been there as new mothers And fathers in the modern age, completely under-supported and over-informed. It’s like for every bit of misguided forum advice online there are that many fewer people willing to help you out in real-time. Seriously, isn’t it supposed to take a village? Anyhoo, amidst the junk science, “Amber beads soothe teething woes” (& may possibly strangle your child!?!!), there is genuinely helpful and possibly life-saving advice that you need to devote serious time and equally fierce research skills to finding.
Your dog will NOT be offended if you don’t ask him to babysit…
Here is what I’ve found and plan to implement to make this summer (and many future seasons of babyhood) more safe. Just because we may not have extra hands to help, that doesn’t mean we can’t have helpful safety advice minus the questionable science at our fingertips! Knowledge is after-all, power, although a housekeeper would be amazing.
(Note: the following is not medical advice or meant to replace the advice of a trained professional. I am however, an untrained mom.)
- When carrying your precious one in a sling (or any soft carrier!) ALWAYS be sure you can comfortably fit a thumb or two fingers between their chin and chest and that their face is uncovered and visible to you at all times (double check this OFTEN as babies tend to shift as you walk – especially when you are carrying lots of bags. How do they know?)
- Be sure your baby is kept cool when sleeping on hot summer nights (around 65-70 F is ideal), but avoid placing the crib right in front of an AC (even though that definitely sounds seriously amazing! Really, where is my front row seat to an air conditioner?!)
- Learn infant CPR & practice it on one of the multitude of cute stuffed bears you got as a gift that junior largely ignores. (This app from the American Heart Association has the clearest breakdown of steps!)
- Bare, Basic, Boring is the new black for infant beds. (NO adorable pillows, bumpers or blankets! Really, safety is WAY more in style!)
- Watch out for kicking babies and hot liquids... I wonder what stage of development infant Aikido fits into?
- The dog days of summer are one thing, dogs (or cats! ferrets! You get the picture!) and babies are entirely another. Even though little Pirate brings out the “best” in you, little Peter may not bring out the best in him. (Info re: how to make the new human/existing canine connection a smooth one). Trust me, your dog will NOT be offended if you don’t ask him to babysit. Your great aunt Paula on the other hand…
- Sunscreen may be a necessity for you, but possibly not for your little one. Here’s why sun care should wait for 6 months+ from the founder of Tribecca Pediatrics. Speaking of controversial sun practices, here’s more potential support for letting your precious one imitate that classic Coppertone ad, if only for about ten minutes a day.
- Babies regulate and release heat through their faces and heads, as a result, the summer season may not be the best time for your little nursling to show-off the latest hipster headgear. Keep hats to the lightweight sun-shade variety and skip heavy knits. Also, be on the look-out for sweating, as with big people, this may be a sign from your little sunflower that it’s time to find some shade and a Shandy for you.
- Buckle-up, it SHOULD be the law of baby land. Seriously. Those seat straps are not decorative. As SOON as you decide NOT to fasten the straps that ONE time, little precious has also planned an equally singular trip out of said restraint. Case in point… Baby is asleep after a healthy lung workout. Place precariously sleeping baby in seat, desire for quiet outweighs desire to awaken baby with loud Velcro harness. Walk to bathroom, get Kleenex. Return to scene of what should be unharnessed sleepy solitude. Horror. Baby has suddenly transformed into an inchworm and made his way to the end of the seat. Just when you think your Little is immobile, she is mobilizing her movement troops. ALWAYS BUCKLE THE STRAPS.
Most of all, enjoy this precious time while safely keeping your pride and joy free from harm. Lets ensure that summer days stay filled with blissful baby bonding and NOT potentially life-threatening baby boo-boos. Also, be sure to put those summer visitors to work! NEVER look a gift HELP in the mouth. Remind them, “if you want to hold, you have to help.”