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Following, Bending, and Breaking the Mommy Rules

mom and babySeveral times throughout my pregnancy, those from older generations made comments to me about how much pregnancy and child rearing has changed since they did it.  Pregnant women having to avoid soft cheeses, cold cuts, and small amounts of alcohol didn’t seem to be as big of a deal then as it is today.  Maybe the internet is to blame, or rather, credit.  There is so much information at our fingertips that we now know better, in most cases, than those who came before us did.  We can look up what happens when an expecting mother eats a piece of sushi, and instantly we have the worst case scenario popping up on our screens to discourage us from taking the risk.

However, nobody can follow every seemingly legitimate recommended behavior on the internet 100% of the time.  As often as I heard someone older than me explain how they didn’t worry about this or that while pregnant, there was also a mother closer to my own age telling how she followed all of the generally accepted “pregnancy advice,” except for dying her hair….or eating club sandwiches…or having a glass of wine on Friday afternoons.  For as many rules as there seems to be, there often appears to be even more parents of the responsible and respectable sort breaking said rules.

I was prepared to see this trend continue once I had my daughter.  Of course safety has improved over the years in regards to what children should and shouldn’t eat, wear, play with, sleep in, put in their mouths, listen to, watch, etc, etc, etc… I mean, the thought of wearing a helmet to ride my bike down the street never occurred to my ten-year-old self, but today, it’s a given.

I was unprepared, however, by how much is now deemed unsafe for children.  I was shocked to learn while planning my little girl’s nursery that, nope, my Pottery Barn Gold Dot Bedding Set would not look like the picture in the catalog because crib bumpers are now deemed unsafe by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  According to AAP.org, “Bumper pads should not be used in cribs. There is no evidence that bumper pads prevent injuries, and there is a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment.” Doing my best to protect my little one, I followed AAP’s recommendation and forwent the bumper pad.

Pottery Barn Gold Dot Nursery Bedding

Except that bumper pads do serve a purpose, and this is one rule I’m tempted to break.  Now that my girl has transitioned from the swaddle and Fisher Price Rock’n’Play to a sleep sack in her crib (Hallelujah!), I’ve walked in her room on more than one occasion to her screaming because one or more limbs is stuck hanging out between the slats of the crib.  In an effort to remedy this problem, I bought some of the supposedly safe breathable crib bumpers, only to find that her arms and legs still managed to get out and, by the way, breathable crib bumpers actually aren’t approved either. Go figure.

All throughout life, we are taught to take chances within reasonable and safe limits, and learning what lines to cross and which to respect are something everyone struggles with at one time or another.  However, that struggle means so much more when it is our children’s safety in consideration, as opposed to our own. I’ve only had a small dose of the dilemmas to come about what rules, advice, and guidelines to follow and which to bend or ignore when it comes to my daughter, and my head is already swimming.  Veteran moms, I know you’re sitting out there shaking your heads and saying, “you just wait,” and I know you’re right.

So mommies, what is your opinion on crib bumpers?  And what about baby walkers?  What other parenting practices, behaviors, toys, or other items were once popular but now on the “unsafe list,” and do you continue using them anyway?

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10 Responses to Following, Bending, and Breaking the Mommy Rules

  1. Jamie July 25, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    I used crib bumpers, but I weaved them in and out of the rails, so there were super snug and allowed for some air when my daughter ultimately crammed herself into the sides of the crib. I also ate feta and bleu cheese when I was pregnant, and I’m sure other things that were “no-no’s”. And I was a midwife, too. Sometimes there are “rules” and sometime there is what feels what’s right for you as an individual.

    • Brigid
      Brigid July 27, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Jamie, I couldn’t give up feta either! It was one of my cravings. Also, my doctor told me it was okay if I ate cold cuts. It can be very confusing knowing what to do or not do, especially when you’re getting mixed information!

  2. Jennifer July 26, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    We used a crib bumper with both kids and never has issues. I found that it protected their limbs from getting stuck in the slats of the crib, kept pacifiers from falling out and we discovered it was a terrific sound barrier to help the baby from waking.

    • Brigid
      Brigid July 27, 2015 at 7:35 am #

      Jennifer, I felt the same way. We used a bumper for my daughter and it protected her little arms and legs from getting stuck. To each their own but we did what worked bet for out family.

  3. AmyN July 27, 2015 at 8:18 pm #

    As a NICU nurse I have to tell parents it’s not recommended. I used them with all my kids until they could pull up. I tried it without. They got stuck in the rails.

  4. Haley July 28, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    I waited until my son was rolling around at will and highly unlikely to be unable to extricate his face from the fabric, then put the bumpers up. He never had an issue, and it helps him stay asleep. I think you have to weigh the benefits of a child who gets enough sleep with what’s a very small risk for healthy babies who are out of the high risk age for SIDS. We picked sleep and never looked back!

  5. Michelle July 30, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    There are so many! On some, I think you need to look at the reasons. We loved using slings. Then it came out not to put infants in slings because some babies were smothered or their chin bent to their neck and blocked their air. The guidelines on using infants with slings always instructed to not bend their neck and make sure their face wasn’t covered. People weren’t reading the proper use so they said not to use them. My kids are 1,4,6 and 10 and multiple rules have changed in these ten years. Another big one is car seats. When my oldest was little it was generally accepted to have forward at one year and twenty pounds. Now you aren’t recommended to turn them around till 2 or 4 or 5 depending who you talk to. The law still says one…. I know people who do both. My 18 mo is backwards but my husband is ready to turn her. We’ll probably hold out till her second birthday but not past. Some people get very strong feelings about this and bash people who turn their kid before they think is right(which varies, making it more confusing!)

  6. Sara July 30, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    I have two friends who are pediatrians and both said the same thing to me – they have never once seen a kid with a broken ankle or wrist because they got caught in a crib. But kids can suffocate. Just food for thought! Eventually their legs get big enough that they don’t fit through. The other benefit of no bumpers – your baby is less likely to stand on them and topple out of the crib. Plus, I think cribs look sleek and clean with no bumpers.

  7. Kaitlin July 30, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    We never did bumpers because it was a “no no”. We have done other things though. We co slept with our oldest often and our second some. I’ve had my dad, who is a perimedic, fuss at me for it. It just felt right for our family and I never felt like he was in danger.

    I am super neurotic about car seats! That is the only instruction manual I have ever read entirely! Ha! A lot of that comes from my dad though. I can’t handle his horror stories involving kids in car seats that were used improperly. He has a ton of them!

  8. Brenna July 31, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Rules I broke and why:

    1: bumbers ( after the third cry bc a limb was caught, we wive our bumbers. I even have one on top Bc he was chewing on the crib….

    2. He gives himself a bottle ( BC by 6 months he would fight you for it) he als crawled at 6 months …thanks kid

    3. Solid food before 1: my son is a good 3-4 months larger than his recommended size and he was trying to steal food. Now he has Cheerios with mommy every morning( he’s 9 months)

    4. He sleeps with a blanket: I know bad me, but he kept waking up bc he was cold, he can crawl, walk and sit great and when he doesn’t want it I find it kicked in the corner ) I did however get no sleep that first week, although he slept great…sigh