Two-year old needs security of his crib

Parent Q&A

July 05, 1998|By T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. | T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.,NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL FEATURES

Q.Earlier this year, my daughter and her husband installed bunk beds in their 2-year-old son's room in preparation for the birth of their second child. They gave Jake a couple of months to make the change to a "grown-up" bed and allowed another month to put his dismantled crib out of sight before the baby arrived and the crib was set up in her room.

However, Jake refused to give up his crib. As the birth date approached, his parents sought the advice of their pediatrician on how best to persuade him to make the change. The pediatrician recommended that they dismantle the crib at once and put it away in the basement, giving Jake no choice but the bed.

After some discussion, we agreed that this seemed a bit harsh for a 2-year-old whose world would soon be turned upside-down by the baby's arrival. We felt Jake needed every comfort and kindness possible. Renting or borrowing another crib for the baby for a while was a small price to pay to accommodate him -- and that is what was done.

As readers of your column, we would like to know how you would have recommended solving this problem.

A.I absolutely agree with the way your family handled it. Why should your grandson be hustled out of his crib, particularly since he tells you so clearly that he still needs it?

I never recommend a grown-up bed until the 3- or 4-year-old won't stay in a crib any longer. A crib carries an implicit message: "This is where you sleep, and you're safe in it." A grown-up bed says: "You can get up and wander around the house." I'd postpone that as long as possible.

Q.At what age should a baby be given corn, green beans, fruit? My granddaughter is 13 months old, and her parents give her solid food. Shouldn't she be eating only baby food at this age? She has no back teeth for chewing.

A.Finger foods or soft bits of food can be started at 8 months old. A child this age will want to feed herself and will soon start to refuse baby food, so your daughter is right on target.

Your granddaughter doesn't need to chew the food, but the bits need to be soft enough so she can gum them down. Corn and green beans may not be soft enough, and I'd worry that she might choke on them and aspirate them. But she does need to be able to feed herself bits while an adult gives her baby food on the side. It's important to respect a child's need for self-feeding at this age, or you'll set up negativism about being fed.

Address questions to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, care of the New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; unpublished letters cannot be answered individually.

Pub Date: 7/05/98

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