It's Time for All Moms to Know the Truth About Baby Products.
Updated: Feb 22, 2021
Pandemic aside, parenting a newborn is hard. And the process starts long before your baby arrives. As soon as you find out you are expecting, you enter this “secret world” and suddenly you are researching everything that has to do with baby. But the problem is... there is SO MUCH information out there. And how can you tell if the information is accurate? With all of the conflicting information in books, online, and in parenting groups, it can be confusing to know what to believe.
And then comes shopping for those essential baby items. Have you ever been so excited to go to the store to shop for baby, or maybe start your registry for a baby shower, until you walk into the store and start seeing ALL THE CHOICES.
Why are there over 20 different types of baby bottles? Which one is best?
Should you buy different kinds of bottles to see which one "baby likes best?"
How many types of containers does your baby really need? Bouncy seats, swings, cradles, play seats, exersaucers, jumpers, walkers...and the list goes on!
How do you pick out a swaddle? Does your baby even need one?
There's so many toys to chose from - which ones will actually help baby's development?
Pediatric therapists (like me) know the answers to these questions like the back of their hand, but why is it not common knowledge for all parents? Why is it that you have to have a specialized degree to know how to pick out the best bottle? Or if you should buy that bouncy seat? Or how to pick out a highchair?
Unfortunately, not all baby products are best for baby’s development. Let's take containers for example. Containers are things like bouncy seats, baby swings, play seats, exersaucers, and walkers. It is common knowledge among pediatric therapists that containers can be detrimental to a baby’s development, especially if used inappropriately. It’s true that some therapists may have slightly different opinions. Some may teach that a baby should not be in containers at all, while others may believe that spending time in containers in moderation is fine. The honest truth is probably more complicated than just a yes or a no, because it is likely that some babies may not be as affected by container usage as others.
The bottom line however, is that there is no developmental need for babies to spend time in ANY containers.
So do you use them and hope that your baby doesn’t experience the delays or deformities that can come from overuse? Or do you not use any at all? Or do you just use bouncy seats but not baby swings? How do you decide?!
Then there are the baby bottles. There are way too many choices and false advertising for any parent to make an informed decision.
There is only ONE type of nipple (yes, one!) that baby can properly latch to, whether they are breastfed or exclusively bottle-fed. That is the standard sized nipple.
Wide mouth nipples or any other shaped nipple does not allow a baby to latch appropriately. Again, this is well known in the therapy world. If you walk into a NICU or children’s hospital, you won’t see any type of bottle except ones with standard nipple size. And that is because therapists and lactation consultants KNOW those are best for babies.
So why are baby stores littered with floor-to-ceiling options of wide mouth nipple bottles? How is that helpful to parents? How could that possibly be helpful to our babies? Why is this not common knowledge for all? Every single mom should have access to this knowledge. (This is why I created this FREE guide on How to Buy for Baby - to eliminate the confusion when you shop!)
But instead, big named baby companies are so focused on making money that they just keep making more and more products, claiming "they are the best". Not only is this confusing to parents, but then there are too many options so parents are spending too much of their time, energy, and financial resources trying out different bottles to get their baby to eat and thrive.
So let’s imagine this. You are a first time (or a second, third, fourth time) mom, and you chose to feed your baby through a wide mouthed nipple bottle, because you saw the package says that it’s “shaped like a breast”. So that must be best. But your baby is fussy, gassy, and has reflux. He spits up after every feeding, and milk just pours out the side of his mouth every time you give him a bottle. He’s not sleeping well, so you aren’t sleeping. You are beyond exhausted, so you put your baby in an inclined baby swing (that’s the only way he is comfortable enough to sleep) so you can get some much deserved rest. Months go by and you are still exhausted. Baby will only sleep in the swing, no matter what you have tried. Now, he has a flat spot on the back of his head, and a tight muscle. Your pediatrician recommends physical therapy and a helmet to correct the flat spot. The physical therapist tells you that your baby is behind on their motor skills, and that overuse of the swing contributed to his flat spot and tight neck.
But what were you supposed to do? You had to survive. You had to get rest. If only you had the right information from the START about infant bottle feeding.
Now imagine this…
Let’s say you knew that your baby needs a standard nipple size, and how to position baby appropriately for a feed. Maybe your baby would have actually latched appropriately to the bottle. Maybe he would not have had reflux and gas. Maybe he would have been more comfortable and fallen asleep after taking a bottle. Maybe he would have been comfortable lying flat. Maybe he would have not spent so much time in a swing. Maybe he would not have had a flat head and required a helmet. Maybe he would be able to roll over to both sides. Maybe you would have gotten more sleep. Maybe it wouldn't have been so incredibly hard. Maybe.
This story happens all too frequently, to parents everywhere. It's time to change the story, because you deserve to be a confident parent.
And to do that, we need to start educating parents from the START. Parents deserve to be armed with the correct information about baby products and about their infant's development so that they can make informed, confident decisions.
This is why I'm determined to give all parents access to this information, and why I founded Their Best Start. We offer free resources, a free registry guide, online courses, parenting support groups, and tons of tips and tricks through our Facebook and Instagram pages. Start learning today!
Gina Mydlo, PT, DPT