This week, I received tremendous feedback based on my recent note about the overdressing of babies. I have decided to re-publish it for the sake of those who might have missed it.
The joys of parenthood come in different forms and the art of the financial preparation for that unborn baby cannot be overemphasised. Some parents go the extra mile to know the sex of a baby ahead of its due date so as to target specific colours. Baby suits will emerge in blues or pinks for those expecting a boy and girl respectively. For those willing to wait until the due date, neutral colours are purchased and all meant to spice up the big day. Noting pleases parents, especially a woman to see her baby donned from head to toe in matching regalia, apart from the many sweet little rompers, vests, shoes and gloves.
Now, with all these purchases comes the tendency to show off our bundle of joy bundled up in those baby blankets and shawls. And because it becomes a fashion statement, it has become a common site for babies to be wrapped up heavily in new blankets or shawls even in the summer heat as both mother and offspring sweat profusely, especially when strapped at the back. If a mere T-shirt will cause one to sweat in this heat, imagine that tiny human submerged in a blanket bigger that itself and its mother combined, in the name of offering protection from the elements, worse still, its inability to protest the heat.
The UK’s Mirror newspaper observes in its ‘Risks of overheating’ article: “Your baby is likely to become restless if feeling too hot or too cold so, he/she may let you know. He/she may be more difficult to settle to sleep than usual or wake more frequently due to the discomfort of the temperature.
I know new mothers are alerted about protecting their newly borns against infections, with pneumonia and coughs taking centre-stage. They are advised to maintain the same temperature outside for the baby as was within the mother before birth, hence, the coverage in unprecedented warmth that sometimes leaves the infants crying continuously, leaving mothers confused. Probably the vital information that is omitted during the temperature lecturers to mothers is the consideration of the overall weather before covering up the poor souls.
I have also heard of babies being accidentally dropped because of too many wrappings. This happens as a case of mistakenly holding on to the heavy blankets or shawls while the baby slips through them and drops. Too many wrappings gives the assumption that the baby is still somewhere within, even when it falls.
It is common sense in terms of what to dress these young ones, or at least one would hope. At the end of it all, they remain humans and will respond to the elements in the same manner that adults will. I have observed on different occasions some elderly women intervening on behalf of the infants tortured under heavy and hot wrapping on the street amid the summer heat. They protest the head-to-toe woolen regalia, plus the heavy blanket, almost slowly cooking these babies to their discomfort.
We can only do these babies justice if we treat them in the manner we would treat ourselves. There is no need to exaggerate these things by overloading baby, either on the back or in the arms, especially those walking. n