New Parent’s Safety Survival Guide

Babies don’t come with a manual, but there are plenty of resources out there to keep you up-to-date on important safety recommendations and protocols. Like any job, parents should seek out further education and training to ensure they’re always equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to do the best they can.

To learn a few basics for keeping your baby safe, here is a safety guide to help you navigate some common situations with your new baby.

Bedroom and Sleep Safety
  • Keep furniture away from the window
  • Follow the ABC’s of safe sleep – alone (no bedding or stuffed animals), on his/her back, in a crib or bassinet
  • Ensure changing area is safe by keeping lotions and creams out of baby’s reach. Never leave baby unattended during a diaper change – buckle the safety strap if one is available. Keep one hand on baby at all times.
Bath Safety
  • Gather and prepare all supplies before beginning the bath
  • Keep supplies within arms-reach so you never have to leave baby unattended or take your eyes off of baby
  • Use a gentle liquid soap to clean baby carefully
  • Use nonslip bath mats in the tub and on the bathroom floor to prevent slipping
Eating Safety
  • Always hold baby’s bottle, never prop it up while baby drinks
  • Set-up a designated nursing or feeding spot to prevent falling asleep while feeding baby to avoid sleep-related accidents
  • Always secure the safety straps around baby in the high chair
  • Never leave baby unattended in the high chair
  • Ensure that the wheels are in the locked position when in use
  • Offer age-appropriate food options and teach appropriate portion sizes and bite sizes to prevent choking
Car Safety
  • Using a safe car seat is one of the most important ways to protect your baby.
  • Ensure your car seat is properly installed before using by following installation instructions and having it checked at a health department, fire station, or police station.
  • Ensure the straps are snug and the buckle is placed at chest level, even with the armpits.
  • Follow recommendations for rear-facing car seats and age-appropriate modifications
  • Do not use the car seat as a replacement for a crib or safe sleeping space, even if it seems baby sleeps better there.
Play Safety
  • Never leave baby unattended, bring baby with you if the doorbell rings, etc. or place baby in the crib or a safe, secure place if you must divert your attention elsewhere
  • Anchor heavy furniture to the wall so if baby bumps into it there is no risk of a tip-over accident
  • Be vigilant about vacuuming and keeping baby’s play area free of choking hazards
  • Cover electrical outlets
  • Install baby gates to keep baby in/out of designated spaces
  • Place latches on cupboards and drawers with dangerous utensils, dishware, and appliances.

 

What safety tips would you add to the list?

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Baby Safety Month: How to Practice Safe Sleep with a Difficult Sleeper

In honor of Baby Safety Month, we’re bringing you another post about safe sleep. At Owlet, we advocate the principles of safe sleep as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). But how do you implement safe sleep practices when you’re dealing with a difficult sleeper? Here are three scenarios/suggestions that will hopefully help you help your baby achieve safe sleep.

Scenario #1: Your baby sleeps fine when held, but wakes up as soon as you put her down.
Holding a sleeping newborn is pretty much the best… when it’s not 3:00 in the morning. She loves being held because, as a newborn, she is very sensory and knows what you smell and feel like. And sometimes it’s tough to put your baby down when you’re tired and you know that your baby won’t sleep in her bassinet or crib. While it’s important that your baby gets enough sleep, holding her at night isn’t the safest idea. If you are holding the sleeping baby in your arms in your bed, you may run the risk of falling asleep and exposing your child to an unsafe sleeping environment.

Suggestions: Make your child’s crib feel more “Mom-like.” Try putting your baby in a sleep sack before putting her into her crib. You can cuddle the sleep sack ahead of time so that it has your smell. You can also try to give her a reassuring touch on the stomach to soothe her, but avoid picking her up. Trying a pacifier can also be helpful.

Scenario #2: Your baby is a light sleeper.
If you’re the parent of a light sleeper, you probably find yourself holding your breath and threatening anyone who walks across your creaky wood floor with intense bodily harm. And if someone honks their horn down the street? You might as well give up now.

Suggestions: Try white noise. Whether it’s the fan from your bathroom or an actual white noise machine, the ambient noise can actually help cancel out the louder sounds. Putting her in a sleep sack is another option to try. Make sure the room is dark, and try not to disturb your baby after you lay her down. Having baby in her own room can also be helpful.

Scenario #3: Your baby has trouble sleeping on her back.
It can be frustrating as a parent to see your baby be less content when sleeping on her back, whether she startles herself awake, or just seems to be uncomfortable. But it’s vitally important for your baby’s health.

Suggestions: A recent study has shown that more than half of parents regularly reject three core safe sleep principles, one of which is the “Back to Sleep” principle. Dr. Claire McCarthy of Harvard advises parents to “keep trying” to put their children to sleep on their backs. Though it may result in a rough couple of days, it is definitely worth it. Using a sleep sack and/or a pacifier may also be helpful. Easing her into it can also be effective. Try rocking her to sleep and then putting her in her crib. Consistency is also the key to success.

We hope these suggestions have helped, and wish you all a safe sleep!

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Transitioning from Working Mom to Stay-at-Home Mom (or Dad)

Humans were created with the ability to feel emotion, so it’s entirely okay to feel all the feels when you decide to leave a career to become a stay at home mom. It’s new, it’s different, and it’s sad to leave familiarity. Read this guide for tips to help you make the transition from a working mom (or dad) to a stay-at-home mom (or dad).

Don’t underestimate your value

All changes are hard. There is an adjustment period and perhaps even somewhat of a grieving period as you face giving up something you’ve done for so long and worked so hard to attain. It is normal and expected to feel mixed emotions, so let them process. However, don’t ever give in to the notion that being a stay-at-home-mom is less important than any other job. Different doesn’t mean unequal.  Just like society depends on jobs in every sector of the market to keep things going, society needs mothers to raise the next generation into good, responsible adults. There’s a very strong argument for parenthood being one of the most important jobs you can have. After all, if we all decided there were more important things to do than having and raising children, we would be the last generation on earth, wouldn’t we?

Take care of yourself

Even though you’re leaving your job, you don’t have to leave your hobbies and the rest of your routine. If a regular yoga class was important to you, keep it. If a monthly girls night out was always on the schedule, maintain the tradition. It’s important to take care of yourself, for you are important as well, despite how demanding a baby can be. It may be hard to find a balance between juggling the responsibilities of taking care of a baby and self-care, but remember that there are others in your shoes. Create a support system of other new moms to share advice, tips, and favors as you all try to navigate this big change in your life. There are a lot of online support groups on Facebook, Instagram, etc. where you can share advice, stories, or just vent.

Consider at-home work

If you have plans to return to work in the future, perhaps you can work part-time from home or volunteer occasionally to maintain your skills and an updated resume. It may not be in the cards for a few months or even years, but there will always be work to be done and help that is needed in the world and your willingness to serve and experience as a mother will be valuable.

Show Gratitude

One way to help you adjust to the changes and overcome the feelings of grief from leaving a career is to develop an attitude of gratitude. Realize that there are many parents that must return to work shortly after baby is born out of necessity, and wish they would stay at home. Consider your routine before you came home – waking up, drinking coffee, getting to work on time, taking a scheduled lunch break, coming home in traffic, unwinding with Netflix, etc. Chances are, your new routine with your baby is a lot less predictable and, what’s more, it’s full of amazing milestones! You get to watch a human take their very first steps, speak their very first word, and literally watch them grow before your eyes. That is an incredible miracle.

Keep perspective

This will become your “new normal.” You will get into a routine, learn what to do, and become an expert at raising your child, and after a while, you will probably realize you can’t imagine doing anything else. Life is too short and childhood especially is too short to spend a single minute worrying what anyone else is doing or what anyone thinks about you. Nobody else in the entire world or history of the world is the same as you or your children, so the way you live your life should not be compared to anyone else. Trust your instincts and realize this precious time is so short. I mean, do you remember much of your childhood? Especially the early years fly by so quickly, so realize that this is just a phase of life, and give it your best shot.

Treat it like a job

Every job requires continuing education, consistent training, etc. Parenthood is no different. It doesn’t always come natural, and other people do have advice and techniques you might not know about that could help you. So read books and articles, and devote time to learning more about this job to be the best mom you can be. After all, no other job in the world was as tailor-made for you as being the mother to your own child.

 

What helped you adjust from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom (or dad)? Share with us below!

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How to Prepare Your Babysitter

Leaving your children in the care of someone else is not a situation to be taken lightly. As much as you may trust your babysitter, have you really seen them act under pressure? Are there any scenarios you may have failed to go over that they may deem appropriate, but you would be against? You may lean toward being trusting and assume all will go well, especially if your babysitter is someone you know well, but when it comes to your children’s safety and well-being, it’s best to leave no stone unturned.

To ensure a positive babysitting experience for everyone involved, here are some tips for preparing your babysitter to care for your children.

Set ground rules

Especially if your babysitter is a teenager or younger adult, make your expectations very clear. For example, would you be okay if they invited a friend or boyfriend/girlfriend over while you were gone? If not, make sure this is clear. Are you comfortable with them bathing your children, even if they make a big mess? Spell it out for them. It’s best just to make a list of ground rules and go over it with them at the start of the night to make sure everything is crystal clear, and there is no miscommunication.

Leave numbers and backup numbers

Of course, you’ll want to leave a physical list of phone numbers in a visible place in case they don’t have your number saved for some reason. But also write down the number of whomever you’ll be with in case your phone dies or the babysitter can’t get a hold of you for some reason. Also, write down your babysitter’s phone number in case your phone dies so you can still contact them.

Let someone know a babysitter is coming over

It’s a good idea to let a trusted neighbor know that you’re going out and a babysitter will be coming over. This way they can serve as a backup and extra set of eyes, and this will also help your babysitter to feel more at ease knowing they have someone they can run to if there is an emergency.

Emphasize what’s important

Avoid leaving a lengthy list of instructions, but instead, focus on what’s really important. Any allergies to food, soaps, etc. or serious medical conditions that require medication at a particular time are the most important to communicate. If your child is prone to night terrors, if you have a dog that must not be let outside, or if your downstairs toilet isn’t working – these are all important details to let the babysitter know of to avoid emergencies and bad situations.

Stick to a routine

Having a babysitter can be a special treat for your baby or children, but it’s still best if they stick to a routine. Make sure your babysitter clearly understands the routine and agrees to stick to it. This will help your child feel comfortable even when you’re gone because of the familiarity of the routine.

Be specific about the routine. Instead of just saying, “change diaper, lay down in crib,” give detailed be specific about the use of ointment, putting baby down alone with nothing else in the crib, giving the baby a pacifier, etc. Don’t assume the sitter will know to do these things.

Agree on compensation

A well-paid babysitter is much more likely to abide by your rules than someone who feels they’re getting taken advantage of. Make sure you ask what their rate is and agree to a rate beforehand. Perhaps you’re compensating them another way, like swapping babysitting with another couple or exchanging lawn care for babysitting. Whatever the arrangement, make sure it’s spelled out ahead of time and both parties are happy so that you know your child is getting the best care possible.

How do you prepare your babysitters when you go out?

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