For the record, I don't care how other parents choose to show their affection to their kids. Honestly, as long as both the parents and the kids are totally comfortable and happy, do as you wish. I don't care and I don't judge. However, there are numerous reasons why I refuse to kiss my kids on the lips. I'll be honest, as a kid and as an adult, I thought parents kissing their kids on the lips was a bit strange. Now that I have kids, I don't think it's as strange as I once did. It's just that, well, I won't do it regardless, and neither will any other member of my family.
According to The American Academy of Pediatrics parents should avoid "saliva-sharing behaviors of any kind around babies and young children — including kisses on the mouth." This recommendation is not because pediatricians and others find mouth kissing offensive or vile or perverse, but because it's entirely unhygienic.
While it's completely healthy and important to be affectionate with our children, the options for tenderness with our kids are abundant due to their age. Kissing on the lips isn't the only way to show our kids we love them, which is just one of the reasons I refuse to do it.
Babies are born completely pure and without any bacteria that cause tooth decay or other periodontal disease. Such things are easily passed on by the parents with a simple kiss on the mouth, though. Once adults pass that bacteria into the baby’s mouth, the bacteria then converts the sugars from food into acids that destroy tooth enamel. Why would I want to do that to my kid? I wouldn't.
According to the American Sexual Health Association, more than 50 percent of US adults are infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1. Many of these people contract oral herpes from kisses they receive as babies or children. While the symptoms of oral herpes are generally benign, the infection is lifelong and can result in painful sores and blisters in and around the mouth.
Like I said, do whatever you want. But, um, why the lips? There are seriously, like, hundreds of places to kiss our babies. My favorite spots include the nape of the neck, yummy baby thighs, chunky baby feet, and the delicious baby bottom. Really, anywhere but the mouth. The choices are plentiful.
Sure kissing your kid on the mouth may be totally fine when they are little, but at what age is that no longer adorable? I've watched mothers kiss their sons, who are grown men with families, on the mouth and was kind of taken aback by the spectacle. Don't get me wrong, I don't think of it as perverse, but I do find it slightly strange and unnerving.
I know my daughter does not like being kissed on the mouth, or anywhere on her face, actually. Every time a family member has attempted it, she has always backed away or wiped her mouth/cheek after. When the kids are younger, they may not be able to express their disdain for being kissed at all, so we are basically forcing physical affection upon reluctant children.
My parents never kissed me on the mouth, and neither did any other family members. My mom was always very against it, for reasons I am not quite sure of. I don't feel deprived of affection from my family. In fact, I was raised in a very warm household full of hugs and kisses and cuddles. But because I wasn't ever kissed on the mouth, I guess I don't find it necessary.
Our saliva can spread mononucleosis, colds, the flu, and so many other viral and bacterial infections. We cover our mouths when we sneeze and cough, we wash our hands before handling newborns, we sterilize bottles and pacifiers, so why are we OK with kissing children on their mouths? When pediatricians warn against it, and dentists everywhere agree it's unhygienic, why are we so persistent? We follow other directions for car seat safety, for vaccinations, for starting solids, and for avoiding toxic dangers, so why do we completely ignore this advice? I don't get it and I refuse to kiss my kids on their mouths.