Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, or any kind of medical/developmental professional... just a frustrated mom.
Today, I'm irritated. I'm tired of people using their babies for attention. I'm tired of watching people jeopardize their child's health and safety to get noticed. I'm just tired.
I'll be the first to admit it, I have used toys and activity centers for Adalin that are recommended for an older age. I'll also say that my child is big for her age and is developing ahead of schedule. This is not me being a proud mom, this is me saying that I will never make my child do something she's not ready for or capable of doing. Sure, I push her to try new things, but only, ONLY, when she's ready.
Here's an example. The Bumbo... Although there isn't a "recommended age" for starting use, I did a little research. Directly from Bumbo's website is this description "As soon as your baby can support their own head you can seat them in the Bumbo Floor Seat." Here's a picture of Adalin the first time we used the Bumbo:
Even though she was a mere two and a half months old, she was good to go in the Bumbo! She had awesome head support at an early age, and most importantly, I followed the safety instructions!
Another example is the jumper. Although I was unable to find any official age suggestions for jumpers, I found what I could. Everything I've read says to wait for baby to have excellent head control and for baby to be able to support weight on her legs. That doesn't mean wait for the baby to be able to stand on her own. If you can hold your baby's hands and she can hold her weight, you're solid. The other recommendation was that baby's toes touch the floor, but their feet not be flat. I waited until Adalin was almost 5 months because of the last recommendation. Even though Adalin is big for her age, she's got short little legs. She couldn't safely touch the floor until then, so I waited.
Here's a picture of Adalin outside in her walker (isn't she just too cute? Sorry, mommy moment):
Notice she has shoes on so she doesn't hurt her toes, and they're soft soled so they don't stunt her foot development. I also have the walker adjusted so her posture is proper. You don't want it too low so she's sitting and scooting, but also not too high so she can still touch the ground. I found all of these guidelines online. Also (most importantly), I supervised her constantly. With all of the hazards outside, I made sure to have eyes on her at all times. If I wasn't watching her, a friend was. Walkers, and other baby toys like jumpers, are absolutely not intended to be babysitters.
I fully admit that I encourage Adalin to try new things. The kid is fearless. I'm never going to stop her from growing and advancing. Even though I joke about discouraging walking until Jimmy gets home, I'm so excited that Adalin is trying to step (even though she still won't stand on her own). I want my baby go develop at her own pace. I will provide whatever I can to help her, but I am not going to put her in something that could stunt her development or put her health in danger. I would absolutely love to get Adalin one of these:
The kid would love it! She loves being outside, and loves to push pretty much everything. But I know she's not ready for this yet. Once she's walking, I'll reassess. Right now though, this is just asking for her to fall and run herself over. So I am waiting.
What frustrates me the most in all of this is when people knowingly endanger their child's safety so others will notice. What kind of selfish parent would do such a thing? Let your baby tell you when she's ready to try something new. You'll know. A one month old is not old enough for a walker or jumper. A six month old isn't old enough for a bike. A five year old isn't old enough for a riding lawn mower. A ten year old isn't old enough to drive a car. Use some common sense people.
As exciting as it is to get new baby toys and watch your little one's face light up, please read and follow the safety guidelines. Your baby's health is something that should be the number one priority. Exercise is great, but you wouldn't go run a marathon with no training, would you? Let your baby get ready to try something before you force them into it. There's all kinds of articles out there about baby safety. I urge you to do some research and always, always, always read the safety labels (even though they may seem stupid!) before putting your baby in a new toy.
That's the end of my rant for today. I hope this will benefit at least one child out there.
God Bless ♥ V