By two years of age, babies are no longer... babies. Given their arrival into the age of toddlerhood, professionals in the field of children's development, such as pediatricians, already have a ton of no-nos for parents to avoid. And although they aren't babies anymore, it's still hard for parents to stop referring to their child as "my baby" after having cooed and gone gaga over the little ones for the past two years.
As they say, old habits die hard. Not only do we have to refer to them as toddlers from now on, but we also have to start treating them like one too.
This can be extremely hard for some parents, especially those who tend to treat their kids like babies even after they've graduated from high school.
"Have you had your break sweetie?" Yes, mom. "I'll pick you up from school later, honey." Mom, I have a license. "Sweetheart, mommy's packed your clothes for your trip." Mom, I'm a mom myself now.
Hard to imagine us doing all that isn't it? Well, let's just hope that day will never come. So to prepare ourselves in letting our kids age the way they should, let's take a quick look at the 20 things doctors would usually recommend parents stop doing by the time the toddler (yes, not baby) is two.
20 No More Pacifiers
A pacifier is meant to pacify a child, especially one who is in distress and unable to soothe himself or herself. Hence, when they were babies, some of us would pop a pacifier into their mouths so as to soothe them -- aka shut them up.
Some children outgrow the pacifiers very quickly and parents of these kids are the lucky ones. The rest will need a lot of brainwashing and blackmailing. But the fact is, once the little one's teeth start to grow, they should try to wean off the pacifier as soothers can affect the growth of the toddler's teeth.
Cue to Madonna's famous gapped teeth.
19 Time to rock themselves to Sleep
When they were little, we would hold them gingerly in our arms and rock them to sleep. The rocking usually worked wonders as it gave them a sense of comfort and familiarity.
They did, after all, spend a whole nine months swaying and rocking in your womb. But as they grow older, we really should start training them to fall asleep on their own without any rocking movements.
Imagine carrying a 25-pound toddler in your arms every night to rock him or her to sleep. You'd end up with biceps that could put the Hulk to shame.
18 Bye-bye Bottles
Ahhh....milk bottles. Now, this is a tricky one. Some argue that kids should be allowed to drink from the bottle for as long as they want.
The opposition, on the other hand, claims that the bottle is very much like the pacifier.
It simply isn't good for their teeth and gums. Studies show that many children tend to chew and gnaw at the nipples of the bottles and this is not healthy for their oral hygiene and growth.
Drinking from the bottle encourages them to lie down and this can indirectly lead to sinus and collection of mucus at the back of their throats.
17 Can't all be about Milk anymore
By two, a toddler should be consuming fruits, veggies, meat, and bread. No toddler should rely a hundred percent on milk (be it the formulated one or the mother's breast milk).
On its own, milk is insufficient to cater to the child's rapid growth. So encourage your child to try out different kinds of food.
Slowly introduce berries, apples, bananas. Have them taste a bite of your favorite burger. Give them broccoli and carrots to chew on. Have them fall in love with a variety of healthy food and you will watch them flourish and grow.
16 It doesn't have to be pureed anymore
By two, most of the toddler's teeth would have found their way to the surface. So worry not about them choking on hard food and do away with purees. That is for babies.
You are dealing with a toddler now and unless they specifically demand purees, you should try feeding them real food instead. Have them chomp on a drumstick, sink their teeth into crackers, lunch on long beans and even slurp up a bowl of Chinese takeaway. It is time for them to grow.
15 Get the gadgets out of their faces
Children, especially toddlers, like to mimic adults. They will sing if they see you constantly sing. They will dance if you jiggle around every other day. If they see you reading a book, they will grab any available magazine and try to read.
If you belong to Gen-X or Geb-Y, chances are you will have your eyes glued to the smartphone or tablet every day and for this very reason, your child will soon pick up after you and be an expert scroller.
While the internet and apps can provide educational games and videos for the little ones, the light from the phones and internet wavelengths do not exactly promote a healthy growth for them.
Whenever possible, try putting down your smartphones and tablets and spend quality time with them. The days may be long, but the years of toddlerhood are short and one day, you might just miss them. So play more with them while you can.
14 Start using Toothpaste
When they were little, we would use a finger or teething toothbrushes for them. More often than not, only water would be used alongside the toothbrush. But now that they are 2, they are going to be consuming more food and of greater variety too.
As a result, the chances of cavity growth will be high if we do not help take good care of their oral hygiene. This is why doctors recommend fluoride-free toothpaste, preferably an organic one to promote the healthy growth of their teeth and gums.
13 not everything has to be Sterilized
When they were little, we were advised to sterilize their bottles for fear of bacterial growth that could affect their health. However, when they grow older, their bodies' immune system would naturally grow stronger and you won't have to keep sterilizing their bottles and utensils day in and day out anymore.
Yippee! Time to pop the champagne. There's one less thing to sweat over. The funny thing is that some parents have gotten so used to sterilizing the bottles that they fear that their children will fall gravely ill once they stop so they continue to sterilize the bottles way past the necessary duration.
Word has it, some parents continue the art of sterilizing until their kids reach 7 years of age. But you don't want to be that parent, do you?
12 They have outgrown that baby Crib
When the child grows into a toddler and is able to climb out of his or her crib, then it becomes high time to transfer them to a bigger bed.
The crib is, after all, for babies and at two years old, your child is no longer a baby.
So please move your child to a more proper place for them to sleep in. Get an extendable bed, have them sleep on a comfy mattress on the floor or if you have the budget, put them in a nice designer bed that can last until they move out of the house.
11 time to Talk like a grownup
Once upon a time, we used baby talk with our littles because of how much easier it was for them to understand. 'Mum mum' meant food. 'Oo oo' meant sleep. 'Splash splash' meant time to take your bath.
While these simple words were extremely helpful in communicating with the baby, we will now have to start speaking in proper sentences with them.
As their minds are growing at an exceptional rate, their brains can absorb more information than a carload of sponge. So now would be the best time to start training them to talk properly.
10 Time to walk themselves
While physical contact with your child can help nurture their growth, parents are advised to stop carrying the childless as they grow older. For one thing, we want to encourage them to strengthen their legs and thighs.
We also want them to explore the surroundings by themselves. Tripping and falling down are parts and parcel of life so do not be too anxious about them getting hurt.
Put them down and have them run around. Also, their increasing weight will not do your back any good if you constantly carry them like a koala bear.
9 They can spoon-feed themselves now
Some of us neat freaks dig our own graves. Very early on when our babies start getting curious and try to feed themselves, we would take the food away from their little hands and insist on feeding them.
No way are they going to mess up my table. I'll just feed them and make sure the dining room stays as clean as possible. And so, the dining table and floor will be spotlessly clean. Immaculate in fact.
But fast forward five years down the line you and you might just curse yourself when your neighbor's kid, who used to throw his baby food all over the place, can now dig into his dinner all by himself without mommy's help. Meanwhile, you are stuck in a rut of having to feed your five-year-old because they are so used to being spoon fed.
So do yourself a favor, forgo any OCD with neat and tidy floors and have your toddler's try to feed themselves. You will reap what you sow. And it will be one heck of a harvest.
8 Can't be overly Protective anymore
Mothers are naturally protective over their children. Our very DNAs are programmed to protect and nurture our little ones.
But there is a fine line between being protective and overly protective.
Cross that line and you'll be joining the ranks of helicopter moms and that ladies, is not what you want to be. Sure, your kids might not get hurt as much. There will be less scraped knees and bruised shoulders but where is the fun in life if you take away the freedom to explore, feel and learn? Clip their wings and they might never be able to learn how to fly.
7 They pick up on every word - so stop swearing
Almost everyone swears. We swear when we are frustrated or angry. "Darn," we scream when a car swerves dangerously into our lane, narrowly scraping our bumper. 'Dawn!'.
Or a rude neighbor puffs away, only to leave the butts on our lawn, prompting a much-warranted, "fudge" to come out.
Or perhaps someone gave you the finger when you accidentally bumped into them. 'I'll get you next time you son of a beach!'. Well people, if your child is around two years of age then it is high time to put your swearing days behind. You've got a little one to set a good example to from now on.
6 No Arguing in Front of the Baby
Children are sensitive creatures. They can pick up signs of distress a mile away and know immediately if mommy and daddy are not feeling happy.
And because of their attachment to you, the parents, their emotions will inevitably be affected too. So for the sake of your child and the family, please refrain from arguing in front of the kids.
Doing so is not only an irresponsible act, but it is also an extremely selfish one. We are all adults for goodness sake so isn't it high time we all start acting like one instead of throwing tantrums and screaming at one another?
5 No more giving in
Speaking of tantrums -- at two years old, your toddler is going to start perfecting the art of throwing tantrums. From the pitiful cries to the wailing screams complete with flapping arms and thrashing legs.
And while we may be tempted to give in to their tears and snots, we must be careful not to keep doing so.
Giving in to their tantrums one too many times may render them to think that tantrums are a necessity and they will yield it to the fullest and have you give in to their every whim and desire. Yes, little kids can be devils in disguise.
4 Cut down those naps per Day
When they were just a few months old, all they did was drink and sleep. More often than not, they would nap 2 to 3 times a day. Now, this napping would give us the time to do some chores or even get a much-needed rest ourselves.
However, all good things must eventually come to an end and this includes the frequency of their naps. By two, most toddlers would nap around once a day. Two, if you're lucky. But any more than that and you'll be battling with an overly active toddler who will refuse to sleep until after midnight.
3 No more midnight milk snacks
So what if they used to wake up 3 to 4 times at night for milk, they were babies? Things are different now though. They are now toddlers and by right should able to sleep through the night.
If, however, they still wake up for milk, try to pacify them and gradually wean them off the midnight feeding. This is both for your own good as well as theirs. You will get more sleep and the chances of milk staining their teeth and wetting the bed will be lower.
2 The Diapers can wait
As babies, all they could consume was milk. So naturally, there would be a lot of wet diapers to go around. But as they grow older and start drinking less milk, there should be fewer diaper changes.
This should be good news for parents so do not worry about leaking diapers. Get quality sleep. Don't keep waking up in the wee hours of the morning just to change their diapers. Change it once before you retire to bed and set the next change to the next morning after a (hopefully) blissful sleep.
1 Let them Interact With Other People
Babies should have limited physical interactions or closeness with outsiders. This is because infants have extremely low immune systems. A common fly or sore which is harmless to us could be fatal to a baby.
That is why for the first few weeks to months of the child's life, they are usually kept at home and away from crowded places. But if you still think you need to bubble wrap your toddler before bringing them out then think again.
They are now 2 years old. Physical interactions and exposure to a little bit of germs and bacteria can actually help increase their body's immune system. So go ahead and have them play in the playground, jump in muddy puddles like Peppa Pig and have play dates with friends.
They will thank you for all this exposure one day.
References: Parenting.com and Babycenter.