Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Be Afraid...of too much advice.

Be AFRAID!!! Sudden Infant Death Syndrome...Fear Fear Fear. Shaken Baby Syndrome. Are you scared yet? Is the baby eating enough? Did he poop? He should be sleeping on his back, not his tummy, uh, or is it the side? AHHHH!

Babies are not born with instruction manuals. That’s because it would be a waste of paper since family, friends and strangers take advantage of every opportunity to tell you how to care for your child. The only time Nicole and I are not inundated with “expert advice” is when we are home alone, with the TV, phones and internet off. The advice, while well-intentioned, is often laced with over-exaggerated fear tactics. If you don’t get enough doom and gloom from the evening news, have a baby and pay close attention to the advice of the masses.

Most recently, I was told by a very concerned relative that bouncing the baby too hard was a no-no. Really? Then I guess I shouldn’t bounce his head off the wall when I am shaking him violently to calm him down. I understand the concern, but please have some faith. I think I know how to rock my son to sleep after dealing with the last few weeks of extreme parental paranoia. I read the books. I get it. When you shake a baby to quiet them down, their little necks snap and you break all of the blood vessels in their heads. That’s a no-no! Not rocking a baby to sleep.

Humans have survived for thousands of years on shitty information and conflicting advice. In 1977 my mother’s doctor told her NOT to quit smoking because it would be too much of a stress on her pregnant body. Brilliant! When I used to cry as an infant she immediately dipped the pacifier in trachea clogging honey. HONEY!!! If it was the evening, the pacifier was coated with benedictine, a/k/a Baby Booze. It’s a wonder she didn’t duct tape my mouth closed and inject me with heroin.

We think we are so much smarter these days, but in all honesty, our clueless society is plagued by safety fanatics and the misinformed. For example, they say babies should sleep on their back to avoid a dead baby with your morning coffee. This affliction is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. Here is my beef with SIDS. First of all, no one knows the cause...spooky. Already we should be afraid because no one knows what causes this phantom like death. But wait, we have preventative measures. How could that be? Doesn’t that belie the logic of cause and effect? Either way, let’s look at some ways to prevent ruining an otherwise good day with a dead child. First, babies should sleep on their backs on a firm mattress. Don’t over-clothe and don’t let them sleep with blankets, pillows or toys. Don’t expose babies to people with respiratory infections. (Does this sound like suffocation to anyone else?) Here is the kicker: If your baby stops breathing, gags excessively or TURNS BLUE, tell your pediatrician at once. No shit? If he turns blue, tell the doctor, huh? This is what I am talking about. Not only does the world want to scare the shit out of us, but society thinks that we are fucking idiots. But should I really worry about my little tyke turning into human smurf?

In 2007 there were over four million births in the United States; 4,315,000 to be exact. Approximately 2,500 babies die of SIDS per year. That’s a .058 percent chance of a child dying from this unexplainable syndrome that sounds a lot like oxygen deficiency. In reality, the odds are on my side that I am not going to wake up to a dead baby. So, rather than give in to fear, I focus on my immediate sphere of actual influence. Jackson likes sleeping on his tummy. It helps him shit well. Who am I to deny him the comfort of a productive bowel movement. So, I compromise. He can sleep on his belly when I am awake and can monitor him. I don’t leave plastic wrap or any other choking hazards in his crib, and when his crying makes my ears bleed, I change my approach instead of shaking his little noggin off his shoulders. It really all boils down to common sense. Sounds pretty simple to me. Unfortunately, I still have to protect Jackson from the rest morons of the world.


grandma said...

The Benedictine was for ME!!!
And if I had heroin, I might have used it to stop your constant crying. Duct tape. Wish I'd thought of it. Love you.

Callan Stout said...

I know you don't want more advise. But there was an article on about SIDS. which basically said it could be a genetic defect. So you can't really do anything about it. I think that's good news.