I've raised 3 kids and back then we laid babies on their bellies, put toys in cribs, used walkers, forced them to drink water, the list goes on. So was I a bad mommy?
Well I do think that many things discovered have saved many babies lives from the sad and sudden death known as SIDS. But I also think we've let fear take over a bit too much. First with things I've read and researched, lots of info that contradicts itself out there too by the way... along with real life experience of watching my infant children breath because it made me smile to entertain myself watching them exsist!. It also has recently been thought that babies that die of SIDS actually have a problem with the part of their brain stem that signals the body to twitch, move or take a deep breath instinctivly when it feels danger. This is my conclusions on some of the suggestions:
1- They say to never put an infant to sleep on their belly, only on their back. they should only be on their belly under adult supervision and they call it tummy time. Some say for a year, others say until the baby rolls over on her own.
Irene's comments: If your baby is pre-mature or very small, I agree that you should never put her to sleep on her belly since her airway may be blocked if in that position with the pressure of her little body and they wouldn't be able to correct their position to breath better, especially if she is premie since the brain stem may not be developed enough as mentioned above... but once she rolls over on her own.. that's the sign she is ready. If the baby is full term and at least normal size and weight, then sleeping on the belly is fine if you are with the baby but at night she should be on her back, again until she rolls on her own. I would think with a premie or small infant, rolling over wouldn't happen until they are a bit older than the average baby that rolls over around 3 1/2 to 5 months old.
2- They say Blankets, pillows or stuffed toys in the crib are not safe- I agree with this. for the little baby blankets can heat them up and babies heat up MUCH faster than adults. This overheating can make it hard to breath and it can put baby in a much deeper sleep, harder to wake from, and dont forget the theory on brain stem! harder to wake is not good. Also if the baby can roll over, it can roll and blankets can roll around them and get wrapped around their heads, again no air, toys can fall over on babies face or when baby rolls can get stuck by their face and if baby is not strong at lifing their head (this is inevidible if you are not putting baby on belly because that is when they learn to lift their heads and chests off the bed) they may not be able to get their face away from the toy directly on their face and the toy can move with their movements. Pillows are totally unnecessary. they create a place for suffocation I don't have to elaborate on that, There is no reason for these things, even a sheet (besides the crib fitted sheet) is not necessary. Put a fleese sleeper on the baby and she will be warm and toasty enough for sleep with no chance of getting wrapped in a sheet. Speaking of sheets, the fitted sheet should be tight. If you watch when a baby starts rolling over, they do not have good control of their hands, but the do keep putting them to their mouths, so a baby on their belly will slide their hands back and forth to their face, if the sheet is loose they can bunch up by their little face, again making air flow less than desired. tight sheets eliminate that.
Now Bumber Guards are a different mixed story. While baby is an infant, the bumper guards are for show, The don't roll or scoot yet. Once they are about 4 months old they will start rolling over and scooting, well if your baby is wrestless, chances are SIDS will not be an issue as far as thier bodies not instinctivly moving or waking, and for those wrestless sleepers, Bumper guards will protect the baby from injury, they will help stop little hands and feet from getting stuck or twisted between the bars of the crib . That painful scream in the middle of the night is terrifying for a parent. If the baby is a heavy sleeper but does scoot around some, I wouldn't use bumpers, chances are they wont move fast enough to get injured so guards are not necessary and why take the risk. . Since corners are tied to the crib they do not fall over on the baby or move with the babies movements, Also if you use a bassinett or cradle, by the time the baby is sleeping in the crib at night they are a few months old and again already have so much more control. Bumper guards now have 'breathable' materials that protect the baby from injury but allow the baby to breath if their face is near them plus protect from arms and legs getting stuck. Using bumper guards should be a choice, but if you buy breathable, or make them with breathable materials, have a wrestless baby, then I would use them. It's a choice.
3. Pacifiers- many people do not believe in them. Well I've always believed in pacifiers for little babies. but now I have more reason, they say infants that use pacifiers have a lower chance of SIDS. I always liked them for many other reasons. one is many mothers mistake a babies natural need to suck for hunger. the pacifier is the best way to tell with an infant, if they keep spitting the pacifier out, they are probably hungry, if they suck they are not! no overweight babies! More reasons- babies have many things to cry over, crying makes an unhappy baby and unhappy stressed out parents. If a simple pacifier can make baby and parents calm and happy that leads to good behavior not bad. All my babies used pacifiers and all did not use them by the time they were a year old. There is no need to give a pacifier except for habit after that. Easy way to break the habit, either take it away whenthey are so small they don't notice about 5 or 6 months old. By now the parent can usually tell babies cries apart to know how to help their baby and the pacifier is not as useful. if not then, when they are a year, take one pacifier at a time and cut it, just a little so the air doesn't stay in, when baby sucks it will not work, tell them it's broken and throw it out, when you get to the last one, explain when this one breaks there are no more. The baby will understand that much better than you think... don't get tempted to buy more or they know there is not 'last' one because mommy can go buy more!
Best way to avoid SIDS and have a pleasant baby (in Irene's opinion) be attentive, don't be afraid to hold your infant baby if she cries. No one can convince me an infant knows how to manipulate, we learn that behavior, we're not born with it. Plus if baby knows when they need you, you are there, they cry less. They lay down longer knowing if they get frightened, bored , tired they call you and you come to help them. Remember, infants have eyes and ears, they are sponges and waiting for life, they are curious, they want to SEE things. Many times they want to be picked up more to look around and get a better view. So changing their view, environment with toys they can lay on and see around them, swings, and other sit in toys (when big enough obviously) will make them cry less. Especially if they haven't spent the first 3/4 months of their lives crying constantly because they had a pacifier and attentive, smiling, less stressed parents. Even as infants, we eventually learn to repeat behavior that gets the job done. I'd rather hear my baby laugh and pick her up than only when she cried. None of them thought the only way they got picked up was when they cried, or they would have cried all the time just to get pickedup once they figured that out.
I have no problem saying that I am a good mom. I have 3 great adult children who 2 are now becoming moms themselves. and they are and will be good moms. They know I love them and would do anything I could for them, but they don't take advantage and ask for things that are selfish, I know they love me and would do anything for me, but I also would never ask for something selfish. I was warned about having 3 teenage girls at the same time... warnings weren't warranted because I never a serious issue. I am not really sure if I can name any year any of them were really 'rebellious'. They were happy, smart, funny kids that had great relationships with friends, did great in school, never took drugs or drank alcohol, not even cigarettes. None of them are cursers, none of them slept around, all 3 took college seriously and have or about to have degrees. And best of all, they all love eachother, get along well and love me. When I see them I know it's because they WANT to see me. I don't feel like it's obligation to see me. They obviously miss me when we can't see eachother. I gave birth to my 3 best friends. I really honestly believe our relationships are what they are largely because of how our relationships were those first months and years of life. because that led me to be the mother I was throughout the rest of their lives. It set the scene. Yes, I'm one really lucky person.
I love my girls.