I’m a new parent this New Year’s, and while some say that the world is going to end in 2012, I believe what I do this year will in fact carry on throughout my child’s lifetime. So here’s my top five parenting New Year’s resolutions for all of the new mommies and daddies out there come this January.
1) I Will Use Cloth Diapers: According to The New Parents Guide, while disposable diapers offer greater convenience for parents, they also offer more chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate (for absorption), dioxin (a byproduct of bleaching paper), and various dyes for color. Sodium polyacrylate is known to be deadly to pets and has been associated with toxic shock syndrome in babies. According to the EPA, dioxin is known to cause damage to the kidneys, central nervous system, and liver. At the same time, the ease of use with cloth diapers has increased with reasonably priced diaper laundering services and more user friendly designs.
2) We Will Breastfeed: To list just a few of the many benefits of breastfeeding I will refer to a study done by Dr. John Ahrendsen. The abilities of babies’ social and motor capabilities at twelve months were significantly greater than those who were not breastfed. A strong correlation has been found between reduction of allergic rates of diarrhea, vomiting, colds, and wheezing, and an increase in breastfeeding habits. And last but not least, increased habits of breastfeeding have been found to stimulate immunological development in babies, thus rendering many illnesses and infections common in infants less effective.
3) I Will Play with My Baby: We are our babies’ standard for interaction in the world, so everything we do from cuddling, to playing, to laughing, will set the tone for the rest of their life. I will play music and sing for my baby so that she learns my voice and the mathematical nuances of musical structure. I will stare into her eyes with love so that intimacy is normal for her. I will read to my baby dramatically and talk back to her when she makes sounds. I will kiss and touch her to deepen our relationship of love and trust. When we are together I will always talk to her and respond when she makes sounds in order to develop her sense of the power of language.
4) I Will Keep My Baby Safe: When my baby goes to sleep I will keep her on her back in order to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). As the National Institute of Health has noted, since the “Back to Sleep” campaign started in 1994 with the message to place infants on their backs during sleep, the rate of SIDS has dramatically decreased by 50%. I will keep my baby in a safety certified car seat every time we ride in the car. When my baby eats, I will cut up any food into small bites in order to prevent choking. I will never shake my baby, even in play. Because of their weak neck muscles supporting the head, babies are at greater risk for brain damage when shaken or moved abruptly. I will always support the head.
5) I Will Enjoy Being a Parent: Sure there are going to be stressful times as a parent. I might get peed on (especially if it’s a boy), pooped on, kept awake all night, or even have a legitimate scare for my baby’s well being. Despite all of these things, it is perhaps most important to enjoy being a parent and love the fact that all of the stressors produced by new parenthood mean one incredible thing: I’m a parent! I will relish all of the moments of parenthood as one opportunity after another to deepen my appreciation for my baby and the relationship we share.
Diapers, Diapers & More Diapers, The New Parents Guide.
Dr. John Ahrendsen, Advantages of Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding.com.
Back to Sleep Public Education Campaign, National Institute of Health.