My favorite stage of early childhood is from approximately 6 months until 18 months. It’s the stage where my sweet little babies are curious and developing their distinct personalities, but still very much sweet little babies. You see, I love babies. You know how some people are toddler people, and some people are kid people, well, I’m a baby person. I love all of my guys equally, but babies make my heart melt. However, one of the biggest challenges of this phase of infancy is coping with an extremely mobile infant, who has no awareness of the dangers of his world. I tend to be a somewhat laid back parent, but I’ve found that there are a few tricks to allow my babies to enjoy the freedom and joy of movement, while creating a safe (without going overboard) environment for exploration.
1. Gates. Of course this is the most obvious one, but those little guys who are crawling are fast. And curious. And determined. Oh, and did I mention fast? As we live in a split level house, we have gates at the top of the stairs. Since we have a three-year-old, it’s also important that the gates are secure enough to keep him from inadvertently opening the gate and allowing the Peanut to fall down the stairs.
2. Corners. This is a big worry for me because the Big One fractured his skull as a baby toddling and tripping into a corner while we were out and about. There are wonderful foam corners that you can get for your furniture, and I’d recommend them for both sharp corners as well as softer corners. (Again my previous experience has taught me that hitting even a less pointy corner can cause damage.
3. Cords. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what the appeal of cords is to the exploring and moving infant, but they are a source of fascination. We put the Peanut down in a room with any visible cord, and he scurries off to it. The Monkey was the same way. It’s important for parents with newly mobile infants to look around their environment on the eye level of the baby to see what cords might be tempting the baby to pull. They are a choking hazard, and if pulled hard enough, things can fall on a baby’s head.
4. Pet Bowls. This is a personal choice. Different parents have different attitudes toward germs. I tend to worry less about things like this, but I can tell you that both the Monkey and the Peanut love(d) getting into the dog bowls when crawling. They want to play in the dogs’ water, and both have tried dog food. If you get grossed out by this, then move the pet bowls away into an entirely separate room. Keep water outside for the dogs, and pick up the bowls as soon as the dogs are done eating. Honestly, while it does gross me out a bit, my bigger concern, is food aggression. Babies don’t understand that putting their hands and faces in the doggie bowl could make their pet angry. Even the most mild mannered dog might end up being a little fierce when a little person who is suddenly moving erratically is scooting towards his food.
5. Older Kids’ Toys and Trash. If this is your first mobile infant, this won’t be such an issue for you. However, this time around, with the Peanut, it has been a huge challenge. You know those warnings about toys that aren’t for children under 3. I tend to be a little lax with that in toddlerhood. However, with your mobile infant, all of the colorful and little toy pieces of my big two boys call to the Peanut. He loves their wrappers that are carelessly left on surfaces that the Peanut can reach. He also seems to find change that belongs to the older two boys. Thus, we’ve had to keep a much sharper eye on what goes into the Peanut’s mouth than either of the previous babies. To deal with this, I try to keep the toys with little pieces in the appropriate rooms, rather than the common play areas, and we pick up constantly. We also remind, remind, remind. The Monkey doesn’t alway seem to understand that the Peanut can choke if he gets a small bit of plastic wrapper in his mouth. If you have older children who can be more thoughtful and cautious, have a family meeting to talk with them about the risks for swallowing tiny pieces of toys and trash.
Despite all of these challenges, I love watching my little Peanut move and groove around the house. He’s so proud of himself. As you can see from these photos taken about a two weeks before he started to crawl. Not only is safeguarding your house critical for the mobile infant, it may be a good time to reconsider your diaper choices. Perhaps you want to transition into a diaper, like Huggies Little Movers that is designed to provide greater comfort, grip and absorption for the mobile baby. I’m quite partial to the stretchy, elastic band along the back of the diaper. This really helps the diaper conform and contour to the wiggly baby. I highly recommend their fit, and you can see how the fit suits my Peanut as he wiggles and dances and crawls in these pictures.
What do you do to protect your mobile infant?
Would you like to try Huggies Little Movers and help #SetBabyFree to crawl and explore? I’ve got a $25 Giveaway that allows you to get a big pack of diapers for your own baby!