Thanks for stopping by! Did you catch Lisa’s post about baby thermometers? Check it out. I’m wrapping up the month-long series for Baby Safety Month sponsored by Owlet.
I have 5 kids.
When our youngest (Lincoln) was born, I had an 18-month-old little girl (Norah) and a 3-year-old little boy (Jack Jack) as well as an 8 (Tyson) and 7-year-old (Gavin.)
LIFE IS NOT BORING.
When we brought Lincoln home, we were concerned about how the siblings would interact with him. Would there be jealousy? Would there be competition? Would that new baby be safe?
I’m happy to say that there hasn’t been any jealousy yet (we are 4 months in) and competitions are usually geared around who got to hold him the longest or who had to get a diaper last time. The safety issue…well, that took (and still takes) vigilant parenting. Here are some things I am learning.
Newborns On the Floor?
As a newborn, we didn’t leave Lincoln to just lay on a blanket on the floor (or a couch or a bed or anything for that matter) without a parent sitting right beside him acting as a forcefield. He was too little and our other kiddos were too busy. I was seriously afraid he would get squashed while the kids were rough housing. I didn’t want Lincoln to be the object of a new obstacle course that the brothers dreamed up or hauled around like one of the beloved stuffed animals.
Plus, when you’re sitting beside your baby and he is laying on a blanket on the floor, it’s the perfect time to snuggle one of the bigger kiddos and teach them about newborns.
Teach About Newborns
This may sound obvious, but toddlers don’t automatically know how to treat newborn babies…even thought they were literally just newborns. I cannot tell you how many times a day I say, “Don’t put a blanket over the baby’s head, he won’t be able to breathe” and “Don’t pull on the blanket he is wrapped up in, he could get hurt” and “Don’t put that stuffed animal over his face, he can’t breathe when you do that.” I try to give a reason for the ‘don’t’ so that it can (maybe) be seen as a teaching moment and not just crowd control.
Some parents don’t use the word “don’t” or “no” with their kids, but that has never worked for me in the moment of trying to keep newborns safe. I can say, “BE GENTLE” and “BE SOFT” all I want, but if the baby is in perceived danger, I’m not going to wait for their precious toddler brains to make the connection that what they are currently doing is not soft or gentle or even safe. Here’s an example:
Lincoln’s older sister (<<< so weird to write that) is all about blankets right now. She calls them “gangk-ets” and she wants to share gank-ets with everyone for about 17 seconds and then rips it away from you all annoyed that you tried to take the gangk-et she just “shared” with you. It’s a fun game to play with the older kiddos, but it’s not safe with Linc. If he is swaddled and she decides she needs his swaddle to “survive,” she will try to unravel him. We continually talk about how dangerous this is and have gotten creative in how to overcome this. See below.
Staying with the gangk-et issue, we’ve tried to make clear lines between which blankets are Norah’s and which are Lincoln’s. We try to make sure she keeps HER blankets and lets Lincoln have HIS blankets. She’s actually quite good at policing this issue. Sure…it doesn’t do much to teach sharing, but at least it’s helping keep the baby more safe. We shall focus on sharing when Lincoln is old enough to defend himself. ;)
So far, this has helped keep her from ripping the blankets out from under Lincoln.
Here’s another tip from Captain Obvious, if the bouncy chair or swing your baby is in has a seatbelt, use it. At our house, the older siblings like to adjust the swing speed or give kisses while baby is swinging. The bouncy chair apparently looks a lot like a car and Lincoln is often taken for car rides across the kitchen floor. Those safety belts help keep baby safely positioned in the seat. And they give you peace of mind.
“Hire” a Babysitter
As Lincoln has gotten a little older, I feel like I can do things like use the restroom or fold a load of laundry without worrying about the baby’s safety. One of my tricks is to “hire” a sibling babysitter. If Linc is in his swing or bouncy chair, I’ll ask one of the older boys to babysit him while I am in another room. As their payment is usually in the form of junk food, they rarely tell me no when I ask them. I give them a specific set of rules:
- Do not pick up the baby.
- Do not put anything over the baby’s face.
- Do not move the baby in his chair.
- Talk to the baby.
- Sit next to the baby.
- If the baby is asleep, don’t wake him up.
- If the baby wakes up, tell Mom.
I’m telling you, this is how I’m able to do a few loads of laundry every day. If the big boys are home from school, it may even mean getting to take a shower! Giving the older sibling stewardship helps them be more attentive to the baby because it is their assigned job. It works every time!
Have a mom hack?
I asked my sisters-in-law what had worked for them when keeping their newborns safe and they had some great ideas from teaching animals to not come on the blanket the baby is laying on to doing a lot of babywearing to using technology to help them.
What ideas are working for you in your house?
Win $850 in Prizes
Owlet has a giveaway where you can win one of the following prizes: a Burley Solstice Jogger ($399.99 value), an Owlet Baby Monitor ($249.99 value), an EvenFlo SensorSafe Car Seat ($149 value), and a Kinsa Smart Ear Thermometer ($49.99 value). ALERT: The giveaway ends soon, so do not delay.
Simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway.