Baby No-No’s

What we should not share with our children

Have you ever wondered why dentists and pediatricians caution strongly against sharing bottles, cups and spoons? It seems obvious: If you have a cold, you don’t want to transfer your germs to the baby or small child. So most of us would not drink from the same cup or use the same utensils if we are sick with the cold or flu. But what about “a spoonful for Mommy, a spoonful for baby…”? Be honest, we all have done it to entice our children to continue eating. So what’s wrong with that?

Well, potentially nothing. That is, if you are healthy, AND your teeth are healthy, too. And I mean, rigorously healthy! Otherwise your “spoonful” could easily provide the transfer vehicle for the bacteria that cause dental decay in your mouth to the, so far healthy, mouth and tooth environment of your child. Cavities are caused by bacteria that feed on sugars and starches, turning them into acid which in turn attacks the protective enamel of our teeth. Babies are not born with that kind of bacteria in their mouth. At some point or another they got introduced into our child’s mouth. Let’s take care that it is not by us.

Likewise, when a bottle or pacifier drops to the ground, we want to make sure no dirt or germs are on it. Fair enough. But licking the bottle or pacifier, thinking our immune system can absorb dirt better than that of our baby, may prove a faulty conclusion for the same reason. Unless we have no cavities, we’ll just be swapping one germ (dirt) against another (bacteria that causes dental decay). Better to have a small water bottle handy, or walk into the next store or restaurant and rinse under the tap, even if it results in a few minutes extra crying.

As for tactics to get your baby to eat, here are some other suggestions: turn your “spoonfuls” into race cars, helicopters, trains or animals that enters finish lines, tunnels or cages – your lively display will be just as effective as taking turns with your child. It will keep your baby’s teeth healthy, and you from having to eat inordinate amounts of unpalatable baby food.

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