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If you follow my blog, then you already know how I feel about the consumer world around baby articles. Basically I am of the opinion that a baby needs almost nothing at the beginning of his life except a lot of physical contact and love.
I have also written a similar article on this subject, “13 Tips for Zero Waste Baby”, which, judging by the statistics, has been really well received by you. 😀
Today, however, I don’t want to show any alternatives to certain products, but would like to mention five things that you can completely do without right from the start. I don’t limit myself to material things 😉
I am well aware that some purchases are necessary in certain cases. Baby bottles for example,if the mother cannot breastfeed for medical reasons.
I therefore assume in the following points that mother and child are healthy and that there are no medically relevant reasons to buy one or the other aid.
Some little helpers, such as a baby bouncer, a baby sling or a baby blanket can be useful and do no harm. In this article I have introduced you to three things that have made my baby’s everyday life easier.
However, there are enough things that you don’t need, because from my point of view they are more harmful and more likely to cause problems, at the latest in the long run, than they are useful.
Therefore I have selected five of these things for you and imagine their effect on your baby.
Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a qualified purchase through this link, I may receive a small commission without extra costs for you. Thanks for your support!
1 An extra room
For many people in the western industrialized countries, it is a matter of course and often the first thing that is furnished for the new babyr: The first own room.
Many parents spend a lot of time choosing the right furniture, painting the walls, preparing the changing table, making the bed.
But if you could ask your baby where he would like to sleep, the answer would be very different.
Your baby spends the first 9 months, and with it his whole life so far, sheltered and protected in the warm belly of the mother and is never alone even for a second.
For a long time I have not only been asking myself the question: Why does the modern world think that it would be better to put a helpless little creature alone in a lonely room and leave it there for hours, at night, in darkness, without Mom and Dad?
Ok, I’ve made that a bit exaggerated.
Or? Did I really? Do we know what a baby really goes through when left alone?
Through the way of life in our past it is known that a long time of our life, the abandonment of an infant was an emergency situation. An absolute stress situation.
Even today, our babies know nothing about safe walls and locked doors. They also do not know that wolves and bears have not been a danger to us for a long time. For them, being alone is still a great danger.
Why then do we let our children sleep alone?
I often hear the arguments that one does not want to spoil the child and wants to educate early enough to be independent.
I understand the fears of parents and relatives very well. Everyone wants to do the best for their offspring and everything right from the start.
However, the assumption is that early separation from parents promotes independence based on outdated beliefs. Today we know that a good intimate bond between parents and child best promotes independence and self-esteem.
Separation and loneliness, on the other hand, have the opposite effect.
This important bond between parents and child develops in the first months and years and influences the rest of life.
The prerequisite for a good bond is love, cordiality, trust and above all a lot of physical contact and positive communication.
Especially in the first few months it is therefore counterproductive to let a baby sleep alone in a room.
In addition to other important benefits, such as reducing the risk of sudden infant death (SIDS), stabilizing the heartbeat, regulating temperature and respiratory rhythm (see detailed article), sleeping together with parents in the same room helps to build a positive bond with their parents.
A baby is not interested in the beautiful furnishings of his room, nor in a cot or a cuddly toy. All it takes is mummy and as much of it as possible!
Sleeping alone with a baby is, by the way, a phenomenon of modern times and a phenomenon of the western world. Most of the rest of the world lets their children sleep in their own room or even in the same bed (ideally) and thus best meets their natural need for closeness and security.
If you are still thinking about which arguments still speak for it, then ask yourself why you may sleep together with your partner in the room, but your little baby does not get this luxury? Don’t you also spoil your partner? 😉
Children who sleep with their parents often move to their own bed or room independently and voluntarily from the age of 4+. Then, when they dare to take the next step into their own independence.
2 The pacifier
The subject of pacifiers, on the other hand, is not quite as clear as the subject of “one’s own room”. So let’s think about what kind of function a pacifier should have for a child.
In my opinion, too few parents ask themselves this question in advance, since advertising and the media have declared the pacifier to be the standard equipment for a newborn baby and we see this every day.
Even in hospitals, if they are not labelled ‘baby friendly’, pacifiers are very quickly distributed to calm the baby. https://www.babyfreundlich.org/fachkraefte/initiative-babyfreundlich/babyfreundlich-weltweit.html
This brainwashing means that we all too often stop thinking and questioning. We accept and consume. Of course, this does not only apply to the subject of pacifiers.
First and foremost, a pacifier is nothing more than a breast substitute. The child can suck without the mother having to be present.
A breast replacement or even a mother’s replacement can sometimes be necessary if, for example, your baby has an increased need to suckle and thus causes your breast a lot of pain during breastfeeding. Or even if a baby is particularly “strenuous”, a high-need baby. Here the pacifier can be a real relief for you.
These cases I call at this point, however, as an exception. Unfortunately exceptions are made nowadays often prematurely to the rule.
Also my midwife tried to convince me that my child had an increased need for sucking and I should give my 3 weeks old fully breastfed son the pacifier. Thank God I did not do that and acted according to my gut feeling. In retrospect it was absolutely not necessary. He had a completely normal sucking need.
As already with the topic “own room” also here the topic bonding and need orientation plays also into it. Pacifiers replace the mother and her breast. If a baby cries or wants to drink, suck or simply cuddle with its mother, it gets a pacifier in its mouth.
However, the soother cannot really replace the baby’s natural needs, but only calms it down for a short time.
Neither does milk come during sucking nor does it feel the warmth and security of the mother. Too often the baby is frustrated sooner or later.
Paradoxically, however, calming down becomes more and more reliable over time. If a baby gets the pacifier in its mouth every time it starts whining, it learns that its needs are not being met:
“Every time I have a need, I get this rubber part in my mouth. Then I don’t have to make myself noticed if nobody is interested anyway.” – This is also called “learned helplessness”.
Of course, it is easier for the mother not to always have to react herself when the baby has a need. And in some cases, this may be necessary.
But in most cases a child gets along wonderfully without this plastic thing and would surely always prefer the mother to the mother substitute.
A good bond is much better if the baby feels the mother and is directly comforted or fed by her.
And yes, it’s true: Breastfeeding to sleep is ok, cluster feeding is exhausting and long-term breastfeeding is the most normal thing in the world.
And yes again: It’s actually more difficult to be always there, more complex, time-consuming, nerve-racking and if necessary to weigh, cuddle or breastfeed or feed very often and everywhere. But how long do you really have to endure that? Half a year? A year? Two years? The time passes so quickly but in the short time, you can do so much for your child.
Last but not least, I don’t want to know how many bisphenols and other softeners have been sucked out by our babies in the history of pacifiers.
So say goodbye to the pacifier before your child is even born or at least use it responsibly and above all very sparingly. You should not save however with your breast and love for your child 😉
Babies and toddlers are very curious and interested in everything that happens in their environment. From the beginning, the current media like television and mobile phones are also involved, depending on how much of it is used by parents and siblings.
This way, babies get to know how important the TV or mobile phone is for mum and dad. Even Babies realize how much more important the media are when parents are occupied with it while the child is playing on the floor or lying in the pram.
A time that should actually be reserved for the baby.
In the first 2 to 3 years, children only need “real” stimulation and “real” occupation with real people. Especially the language development benefits enormously from reading aloud together with the familly or just talking to mummy through her direct attention. Only in this way can facial expressions and gestures together with the current situation give your child an overall picture of the world.
No CD player, video or mobile phone can replace a real person, as babies do not react to these artificial things with the same learning effect. This goes back to scientific studies that are described in the wonderful book “Brain Rules for Your Baby”.
In fact, the opposite is true, children who watch a lot of television in their early years may lag behind their peers, according to a study by the University of Michigan.
Last but not least, it is so important, especially in the early years, that children are comforted, protected and reassured by their parents. This strengthens the bond to the parents and the self-esteem of the children.
Here too, television is no substitute and can lead to aweakened bond between parents and child when used excessively.
In addition, the time a child spends in front of a mobile phone or television prevents the child from trying itself out, running, singing, speaking, smelling, feeling and tasting.Without media it learns to train and coordinate all its senses, with media only hearing and seeing..
But it is not only the children who should do without TV and mobile phones; the parents’ intensive involvement with the media can also lead to a deterioration in their relationship with the children.
It is not enough if parents are only physically present. Children need attention. It is a basic need to be addressed directly and to interact with your parents both through touch and communication.
All this is no longer possible with a television or cell phone in front of your nose.
In addition, there is no study that found a positive impact of early media consumption on children, but there are some studies that show impairments in health, social behavior, intelligence, and motor skills.
My conclusion: TV off, put the cell phone away and be all mom and dad for your little ones!
Basically, most parents know that white sugar (industrial sugar, granulated sugar) is not healthy. The huge amounts of sugar that we consume every day have long exceeded normal healthy levels and have been shown to be the cause of many different diseases, such as Diabetes.
Adolescents in particular are affected by the harmful effects, as also described in an article by the University of Bonn.
One would have to think that parents who are interested in the fact that their children are completely healthy and optimally fed, largely do without sugar based on these findings.
In theory, that’s certainly true. No mother and father would voluntarily and deliberately want to harm their child through improper nutrition and would admit it.
In practice, however, it looks very different. When I look into some of the bread boxes of my son’s kindergarten, I notice that the knowledge of the negative effects of the sweet poison has not arrived in the heads of many parents or is successfully suppressed there.
There’s everything from sweets, cakes to sweet chocolate pudding. Not to mention the birthday parties with cake and chocolate or the afternoon snacks consisting of biscuits.
In my opinion, as is so often the case, the causes do not necessarily lie directly with the parents. It is above all the media, advertising, social pressure and also relatives that make sugar and sweets too important in terms of children’s nutrition.
I sometimes have to listen to sentences like “Why don’t you give the kid something decent?”, because he just gets sugar free snacks, bread, fruits and so on. I myself was stuffed with sweets by my dear grandmother. In retrospect, I am getting sick when I think about it.
With our son, we try to be consistent and usually we are only met with head shaking, incomprehension and a pitiful smile, rarely with approval.
But our son is happy, healthy, of normal weight and doesn’t ask for sweets.
A child doesn’t need refined sugar in its diet. A child needs vitamins, minerals and a wholesome diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. Ideally, this should be accompanied by a long breastfeeding period.
Especially the first years are so important, because allergies and asthma (already caused by the mother during pregnancy) can develop during this time. Here, too, sugar is suspected of contributing the rest. You lay the foundation stone and you only get one shot at it.
But of course, it does not work to give up industrial sweetness if only the child is not allowed to have sweets, but everyone else in the family is.
The parents are role models and the child wants to eat what mum and dad eat. The whole family should go along with it.
Quite a challenge! But give it a try. A week or a month sugar free. You will see how a reduction of sugar in everyday life can have a positive effect on your life and health.
At a 6 weeks self-test completely sugar free I had several Aha-effects. One was, for example, the realization that my skin immediately reacts visibly when I consume industrial sugar. You can see it on my face, my skin is much purer without the sweet poison.
If you are interested in the topic, I can recommend the book “Endlich Zuckerfrei” by Anastasia Zampounidis. This was the first book I read on the topic of being sugar-free and what motivated me to go sugar-free for the 6 weeks, surely there is more good literature on this topic.
Now you’re probably thinking, “What’s this all about? Now I am not allowed to even praise my children anymore?”
That’s right. And not only that, not only the praise you should leave, but also the punishment.
There is very good literature on this subject, which deals with the topic of the right praise in its entirety and which I can warmly recommend to you. For example, the book “Liebe und Eigenständigkeit” (“Love and Independence”) by Alfie Kohn.
In addition I recommend you the detailed article “Warum wir unsere Kinder nicht loben sollen” (“Why we should not praise our children”) of the well-known blog “Das gewünschteste Wunschkind aller Zeiten”.
In summary, the point is, to love your child the way it is. To value his character and efforts in life and to “see” your child instead of judging it..
Praise and blame, on the other hand, are expressions of your own desires and views of how your child should be. Through praise you judge your child, put your limits on him and steer him in your direction instead of giving him the opportunity to know himself and find his own way.
There is an interesting study with children named “Effort-Effect”, in which it was pointed out that e.g. the praise of the intelligence of the child (Fixed Mindset) led to the fact that children did less strenuous work and abandoned tasks earlier. The effort (Growth Mindset) motivated the children to find different solutions and to solve more complex tasks.
Here you can see what power a wrongly or correctly applied praise can have.
Also Jesper Juul, who unfortunately died recently, took up this topic again and again in his books. Children want to be seen and respected. You need loving attention and eye contact.
What they don’t need is a constant repetitious: “You did a great job!”, “Awesome how you slide down the slide!”, “Super! You drew such a beautiful picture”. We permanently judge the child, which leads to the fact that the child demands this praise more and more. If it doesn’t come, he is frustrated.
A kind of “addiction” to the evaluation by the parents arises, which opposes the independent individual development of the child. But the child must get to know itself and that is what it does best, without the constant evaluation apparatus of the parents.
You’re probably asking what to do instead of praise. First, replace all: “You did well” phrases with “I’m glad you enjoy it so much!” or simply “I see you!”.
It’s not about sitting next to your child in silence. It is much more important to rejoice in the child’s success free of value.
Let’s take as an example a baby who has just learned to pull himself up by a chair. The baby is happy after probably umpteen unsuccessful attempts and proud of his performance. It did something on its own. Can now finally explore his environment from an upright position. It’s not appropriate to praise it here.
Your baby is happy out of itself and wants to share this with you. What it probably does not want is to be judged by you, but that you are happy with him! “Oh, you can stand! I am very happy for you! That was certainly super exhausting” is free of value and conveys real participation and free of any manipulation.
Praise for things a child likes to do by itself is counterproductive. Since it eventually starts doing these things just for praise. In later years children often don’t know what they really like to do and what they do just for praise and recognition.
The punishments mentioned at the beginning condition the child in the other direction. Children change their behavior because of punishments, not for better understanding, but only for fear of the punishment. In my view, however, this clearly misses the target.
So, try not to praise your child so much, even if it may seem strange at first and needs a bit of practice, but it’s worth it in the long run!
From our parents, grandparents and from our environment we have received many educational styles and advice that are no longer up to date.
Many of these well-intentioned advice or behaviors date back to times when children were more likely to be raised as small soldiers or good workers who did not contradict, but followed, reliably took over father’s business, or defended the country.
Seen from this perspective, at that time it certainly did make sense not to raise individualists with strong characters, but rather good workers.
But hopefully these times will finally belong to the past as well as the corresponding educational methods.
In stark contrast, today we are experiencing a true wave of consumption that is overrunning us in every area of life. Parents of small children are particularly in demand as “consumers”, as it is played with the worries and fears of young mothers and fathers.
Our babies don’t care much about all the plastic stuff and the huge amount of little helpers like pacifiers and so on.
No nursery, no matter how beautifully furnished, can replace the love and attention of the mother or father.
Therefore I hope that I could give you some new ideas and food for thought with this article. Trust your gut feeling and approach your parenting more minimalistically, because less is more.
Do you have another opinion or further suggestions? Then let me know in the comments below!
If you liked this post, you might also like my article about “The 3 Only Books You Must Have Read as a Pregnant Woman.” .