Having a baby brings out the maternal in everyone.  Everybody wants to help and offer advice because new parenting is hard.

Be careful what advice you take, though. A lot has changed over the years.  Parenting isn’t the same as when you were born. Rules and safety standards have changed.

Here is a list of 5 ways things have changed over the years.

Tummy Time Is Not For Naps

It’s very likely you were placed on your tummy when you went to sleep.  And you probably slept really, really well. That’s because humans, like puppies and kitties and adorable little piglets, love to snooze on their stomachs. It makes them feel safe and comfortable whereas lying on their back makes them feel a little like they might fall.

Along the way we realised that by putting babies on their backs to sleep we reduced the risk of SIDS.  Babies may not sleep as soundly on their backs but they have an unimpeded airway for breathing. The trade off is that your baby may not sleep as deeply or as long as you might have slept, they will be safer, though.

Save The Rice For Chinese Food

Following the theme of baby sleep, a common tactic to help babies sleep better at night was to give them a bottle of breast milk or formula with rice cereal mixed into it. The idea was that the cereal would thicken the milk and would add more calories to the baby’s meal. These extra calories would make the baby more satisfied and they’d sleep longer.

We have discovered that this is a dangerous practice in the short term and long term.  It can lead to stomach upset, vomiting and can disrupt the bacterial balance in the gut. Babies aren’t really supposed to eat anything other than breastmilk or formula until around 6 months when they are ready to begin experimenting with solid food.

Hold The Cereal and The Jar

And, on the topic of solid food, you don’t need to begin babies on cereal, pablum or even pureed foods. When you were a baby your mother may have started feeding you a thin, runny mush around 3 or 4 months of age.  It may have been made out of rice, corn, wheat or oats and it had to be mushy and thin because you weren’t mature enough to chew anything. In fact, you weren’t mature enough for any food other than formula or breast milk at that age.

Studies have shown that babies are usually able to begin solids around 6 months.  And, when they are ready, they can begin eating almost everything that you can eat with very little alteration. That means that you don’t need to puree a baby’s food. You can just provide foods that are cut into small pieces. And you don’t need to take all the flavour out of your food, either. Babies like a nice chili or curry just the same as us adults.  Just maybe don’t make those foods too hot.  Check out more information on Baby Led Weaning and look for the following indicators that your baby is ready for solid foods: can hold their own head up, doesn’t push the food out of their mouth with their tongue, shows an interest in the foods that you eat.

Forwards or Backwards?!

When you were a baby your parents couldn’t wait until you reached that exciting milestone of sitting front facing.  They were certain you were happier that way and so were they. They could look in the rearview mirror and see your lovely little face and feel connected. Depending on how old you are, your parents may have turned you around as soon as you seemed to outgrow your baby bucket. Certainly by the age of 1 you were watching the road right alongside your parents.

As with a few things on this list, the way we used to do things was found to be unsafe. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act says kids must remain rear facing until at least 20lbs/9kg. And, further, the government recommends that while you can move the child to front facing at 20lbs/9kg, they recommend that children remain rear facing for far longer. The determinant is no longer age, as it was in our parent’s day, it’s dependent on how tall and heavy the child is. The rule is to follow your car seat’s manufacturer’s guidelines.

Swap Pump and Dump for White or Red

It’s been a while since you were able to enjoy a nice adult beverage, hasn’t it? And sometimes that’s fine but sometimes it sucks.  When your mother had you and decided to have a couple glasses or wine with dinner, she wouldn’t have nursed you right away. She likely used her pump to get all the milk out of her breasts that was contaminated with alcohol and she would have poured it straight down the drain. Or, maybe she fed you an occasional bottle of formula. That way she could spend the night drinking gin and tonics with the ladies.

I’ve got some good news for you. We now know that even after a few glasses of your favourite drink your milk poses no threat to your baby.  Even if you nurse your baby 5 minutes after downing that last mouthful of delicious seasonally produced craft beer, your baby will not be at risk of being harmed.  In fact, the most dangerous thing about breastfeeding while having a few drinks is that you may be too drunk to safely hold the baby. So, if you start getting stumbly or sleepy, let your partner take over the feed with a bottle until you sober up a bit. Your milk, though, is fine!

What’s a new parent to do?

It’s all a bit confusing and even a little scary. You want to do what is best for your baby, but how do you know what advice is safe?  A Hamilton Family Doula postpartum doula will always be up to date on provincial and federal safety recommendations for baby care and products.  The Baby Essentials class will teach you all about safe eating and sleeping standards and thoroughly prepare you to take care of your new baby. Our car seat technicians will come to your home and ensure you have a safely installed car seat.

In short: we’ve got you covered. Don’t worry; call us.

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