Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mama Bean took the crib bumpers out of Bean's crib

I spent a good part of a feeding yesterday pondering why they are called bumpers in the first place. I think of bumpers as those big rubber-type things on the fronts and backs of cars that ostensibly protect the car from damage in collisions, but are actually super expensive pieces of equipment that guarantee paying of huge deductibles and arm+leg type repairs with even the smallest of fenders benders. (Oh yeah! They're called fenders on cars, so why not crib fenders?) I guess they're called bumpers because they are shock absorbing, but around the inside of the crib instead of the outside, and they protect baby's head when he gets to the age of throwing himself around the cage, as it were. I suppose. I don't know why we don't just call them crib padding, or something. I also fail to understand why a crib needs a skirt. Nursery decorating in general, and crib bedding in particular, baffles me. Bean's nursery looks nothing like the magazines.

For something so seemingly innocuous and straightforward, crib bumpers inspire great volumes of baby-punditry. The primary argument pertains to safety - the padding is thick enough to suffocate a baby, especially if he gets his head somehow wedged between the pads and the crib bars or the mattress or somesuch. Suffocation risk also raises the alarm on having stuffed animals or extraneous blanketry in the crib. Apparently, there is also concern the padding may somehow trap a layer of carbon dioxide from baby's breathing, making the environment within the bumpers hypoxic and dangerous. Thus, there are netting type crib "bumpers" that have no padding at all, and I fail to see how they would offer any sort of protection or comfort in the event of cranial impact.

Despite the dire warnings, every catalog and nursery picture from here to eternity features cribs that are sheeted, blanketed, skirted, and bumpered within an inch of their proverbial lives. (Ah yes, the lives of furniture, so rich, so multi-faceted. Do you think the end tables begrudge the dresser's their drawers of secret wonder? Are the dressers, in turn, jealous of the bed's linens and 300-thread count finery?) So. We bought bumpers. We visited two Sears stores, during a baby related sale, and found some coordinating sheets, blanket and bumper at some significant percentage off. Much of our nursery furniture was gifted to us by a church family who had outgrown it, which was awesome. Buying the bedding was basically our only expense, and we got this uber deal, which tickles my husband's frugal little heart. Those were heady times, those pre-baby shopping days!

It was all for naught, however, as the bumpers have been unceremoniously removed. In order to get the sheets onto the crib mattress, one must lift the mattress completely out of the crib, and the circle of padding, with its fiddlely little ties and bows, just isn't conducive to accomplishing this task in an expedient fashion. Which is to say, I needed to put him down for a nap one day, and I couldn't get the mattress dressed in time to prevent imminent meltdown, so I just untied the bumpers as fast as I could so the poor, wailing Beast could be soothed by the Swaddle and the Sleep Machine as quickly as possible.

We could discuss why the stupid sheets must fit so blasted tightly in the first place. It's probably also due to some fear of looser bedding somehow rising up against the hapless babes and suffocating them like the bumpers will. Or maybe I shrunk them. That's more likely. To be honest, we didn't even need to buy the match-y blanket, we were given so many beautiful blankets and quilts. And we don't really need the four fitted sheets recommended by the Sears registry list, because, as with our own bed, we basically wash and dry the thing within the day and put the same one right back on the mattress, so the other sheets are left unused in the cupboard. Maybe that's the crux of it right there: I should hardly have expected myself to try harder with the upkeep and costuming of my baby's bed than I do my own.

So the bumpers are gone, and I am relieved. I only miss them for one thing, they kept the soother from falling out of the crib when Bean spits it out when he's sleeping. Their removal had nothing to do with increased safety, because his crib still has a corner of stuffed animals, and a small pile of supplementary blankets, and one of those foam wedges with the rolls that was supposed to help Bean with his breathing, and has a handy tool to remember which way his head was turned the previous night, so he doesn't get plagiocephaly, which we no longer use, but I can't bear to pack away, because we paid full price for it. Why aren't there concerns about this contraption's suffocative potential? It says to stop using when your baby starts rolling around. Couldn't the same be said of bumpers? Some baby-pundits say using blankets is dangerous, also, because babies can get tangled in them and suffocate, hence grow-bags or sleep-bags or whatever. We bought one of those, but it will be too small by the time Bean outgrows the Swaddle.

Up until now, Bean still sleeps cross-wise in his crib, because it is easier to swaddle him when he's turned that way. But soon he will be too tall for that. I guess time will tell how much of a sleep-traveler Bean becomes when he starts rolling around (so soon!) And before we know it, he'll be sitting up, and then pulling on the bars, and we'll have to lower the mattress. I suspect the blanket pile will be the first to go. But at least one stuffed animal must stay, to hold his soother in its lap, so we always know where to find it when we're putting him down to sleep. The soother holder is essential for preventing Frazzled Nerves and Domestic Hostilities. Unless you listen to the baby-pundits who think soothers are a choking hazard during sleep...ugh, it could go on forever. Thank goodness he just sleeps through it all.

1 comment:

  1. Jo, I love your posts! We never had bumper pads. I didn't even buy them. I actually didn't buy actual bedding until after Dylan was born. I bought ONE sheet and a crib skirt - so you can't see the dust under the crib! :) I never bought a quilt for him and he still doesn't have curtains. He won't have curtains until he gets a big boy room. Just no point. We have always had a few stuffed animals as soother holders and his face is ALWAYS covered with a blanket. He does it himself. I have since stopped listening to "them", whoever them is. :) Have a great day!