Bumping Into Breastfeeding

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is breastfeeding our new baby and when I look at them, they’re so connected and I feel completely useless. I try to do other stuff like baths and diaper changing, but feeding seems so much more important. One of my projects was to set up the nursery. I got the crib and changing table all set up and my wife told me we needed crib bumpers so the baby wouldn’t bang her head on the slats of the crib. A friend told me that crib bumpers are a bad idea. So I’ve got two questions: What can I do to feel less useless when my wife is breastfeeding? And should I get bumpers for the baby’s crib?

A: Let’s start with the second one. For readers who don’t already know, crib bumpers are soft pads that run along the inside of the crib and are designed to do exactly what your wife says: keep the baby from running into the slats or bars and getting hurt. Bumpers sound like a great idea, and millions of people—including me—have used them for decades. But new research shows that bumpers could actually be more dangerous than the injuries they’re trying to protect against.
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Take Another Little Piece of My Crib Now, Baby

Dear Mr. Dad: We just moved our two- and- a-half-year-old daughter from a crib to a bed. She seemed excited about her new “big girl” bed at the store, but now that it’s set up in her room, she refuses to sleep in it. What’s going on, and what can we do?

A: To a toddler, making the move from crib to bed is a big, big step. Try looking at it from her perspective: she’s spent her whole young life sleeping in that cozy little crib. She liked it and felt comfortable in it. And think of all the memories—learning to pull herself up, climbing out, surveying her realm from her elevated perch. Now, all of a sudden, you’ve replaced a beloved piece of history with that thing. No wonder she’s not happy. (Yes, she may have been thrilled at the store, but she was probably taken in by your excitement. Plus, things often sound a lot better than they actually turn out to be.)
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