Avoid these 5 things for Better Baby Development
Whether you're expecting a newborn soon, or your angel's already popped into this world; parents and relatives want to shower this new member with almost every possible gift out there. But before getting anything for a newborn do make sure to do thorough research as most baby care companies seek to make their product seem a no-brainer but in reality, these products add little to no value to the growth and overall development of the baby. On the contrary, some of these Baby Gears can hamper and interfere with normal growth.
Here is a list of 5 such baby gears that claim to foster better growth however, the evidence-based research claims the opposite.
So have a look and educate your family to beware of these false advertising traps by the manufacturers of these products:
Most parents assume that putting shoes on sooner will help their baby learn to walk faster or better. However, shoes tend to have a hard and inflexible sole which makes it hard for the baby to learn to walk naturally because shoes tend to restrict their natural foot movement. Initially, as the baby learns to make balance and can stand on its own, it is advised to let it explore soft surfaces by itself.
Once the baby is comfortable walking on soft surfaces you can take it a step ahead by allowing him to walk on the floor. You may cover his/her feet with soft cotton socks to keep them clean.
Stanford Health has something similar to say on this matter. Once your baby is old enough to wear a pair of shoes you might want to make sure of certain things while purchasing the right pair for your kid.
- Overusing Baby Mittens:
Newborns are full of curiosity and they love exploring the world. Apart from the eyes, babies also use their hands to experience and sense the world around them and that's when Mittens may start to act as an obstacle. Covering their hands with mittens for an extended period can hinder proper sensory development critical for the overall development of their brain.
Adding to that, our skin, and especially our hands act as a microbiome in which diverse species of friendly microorganisms reside. We need these microorganisms to maintain healthy skin but babies don't have them when they're born. They develop them over the initial months and having skin-to-skin contact with other human beings (unless they have a communicable disease that could spread by touch) stimulates the formation of this biome. Mittens can be used during winter weather or while going outside to protect the baby's sensitive skin from germs but when inside the house try minimizing their use and let your kid explore.
Baby Mittens have certain Pros And Cons and understanding them is important to know when Mittens can become a menace.
- Walkers and Jumpers:
These Baby gears have long been associated with injuries and accidents and it is now evident that newborns using these gears tend to walk later in life as compared to the ones who did not use them.
In 2004 the Canadian Government even went ahead with a ban on these walkers as they were responsible for a huge number of head injuries caused amongst infants. Almost a decade after that in 2018, The American Agency of Pediatrics pushed for a ban on Baby Walkers. Walker-related injuries can cause brain injury, skull fracture, burns, poisoning and drowning which can happen to kids in a walker. Many countries are waking up to this reality and trying to limit Baby Walker to mitigate these accidents.
Adding to the risk of getting fatally injured, Baby Walkers also negatively impact the naturally acquired motor skills and gait patterns because of the way they are designed which alters the sense of force, and in most cases delays normal walking, motor control and in some cases incorrect foot loading and muscle dynamics that come into play while walking on the ground.
Harvard Health Publishing which is the official site of the Harvard Medical School even published an article advocating against the US of these walkers.
- Forward Facing Babywear:
Wearing your baby forward facing leaves the legs unsupported, dangling, and close to each other, on top of that forward Facing baby wear holds the baby's hips in an uncomfortable position, and in the long run this posture can lead to hip dysplasia wherein the hip socket does not develop properly and is unable to cover the ball joint of the thigh bone which in turn causes dislocation.
Additionally, forward-facing puts unnecessary pressure on the spine and the ribcage of the baby which causes discomfort. Ideally, we want the baby to face inwards so that it can rest its head and body against the holder's chest which makes the baby's legs rest sideways and supports the hip. This way the baby is in the right posture and close to the holder which makes it feel warm, snug and comfortable.
For more information, you may read "Nine Reasons Not to Carry Your Baby Facing Out" to understand the harmful impact of this practice in the long run.
- Chairs that hinder development:
A majority of baby stores and e-commerce businesses that are into selling baby products tend to be flooded with baby chairs that do not promote a healthy sitting posture which involves keeping their spine straight, hips in a curve, and legs resting on the two sides.
Buying the right chair for your baby can be tricky because apart from assuring the right posture you also want to make sure that your baby is comfortable in it and that the chair does not fall when the baby moves or swings. Newborns can be a bit jumpy, especially when you're trying to make them eat. This may take time so be patient, and if your child has learned to sit straight, try limiting the use of a chair. Let them sit on their own on the bed or a soft surface as this will help them build balance, strengthen their core and develop hip joints.
You may want to read about the "Importance of baby's sitting posture when introducing solids" which helps you understand this topic better.
Becoming a parent is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. Just the sight of your newborn fills you with a feeling of love and all parents strive to get the best for their little one, but let's not forget more isn't always the best for them. Sometimes the bare minimum gives them the space and freedom to explore and experience this world and to a certain extent, they need this experience just like they need proper care.
So be sure you're giving your kids the things that they really need!