Do you ever feel like you cant keep up with all the 'expert' advice on parenting? Sometimes I just feel overwhelmed with all the advice and then completely confused at the contradicting experts, the changing 'guidelines' on what age our babies can be weaned, eat solids, how they should sleep and so on. Then you have the 'trends' like baby-led weaning or 'save our sleep' routines... how on earth do you wade through what everyone tells you and what you actually do?
When my mother raised us, she slept us on our tummy's, as was advised at the time. Baby led weaning didn't even exist (they just caused it 'feeding baby solids). Believe it or not she was actually told breast feeding was bad (this was in Germany 30 years ago when she had her first child, my sister) and people didn't go to 'sleep school'. They just did what worked, what felt right.
A discussion came up recently in one of my groups of mummy friends on when to wean our babies onto cows milk. Apparently now, experts are advising we can wean by 9 months and stop feeding our babies overnight. So someone explain to me exactly how to get my baby to sleep overnight that without feeding her? When you have a baby that wakes several times a night, the last thing you want to do is spend hours each time she wakes attempting to 'self settle' or rock her back to sleep.
Or let's look at baby-led-weaning (BLW)... a relatively recent parenting trend... I'm told now that if I don't BLW my child will struggle with food through childhood. I'm not sure anyone told my parents about this when we were babies. We were fed puree and apparently all decided to spite the experts and eat non-pureed food throughout childhood. Who would have thought!
Do you think in 5 years time we'll be told that BLW will over-stress our children and force their esophagus to mature too quickly leading to some sort of future problem? Yes, I'm making that up, I'm no expert. But just like we are now told the previous guideline of not giving babies food until 6 months and slowly introducing type x food has been thrown away, surely baby-led-weaning and sleep training are concepts on their way out as well.
I read the other day about an 'emerging' parenting style called 'child-led parenting'. Basically you as the parent take leads from your child - i.e if your child does not want to go to bed at 7.30, you just let them stay up, if your child wants ice cream for dinner then so be it. Pretty sure when I was a kid, this was called 'letting your children run amock', but this may actually become the next big thing in parenting!
Here's some more parenting trends we might see more of in the coming year! Some good, some bad, some plain weird!
- Brelfies. personally I'm all for this one! I'm tired of seeing someones Facebook photo of them breastfeeding their child being reported for nudity! WTF!
- The weirder the name the better. I think celebrities started this one, but I actually met a baby named 'Dude' recently... like seriously dude.
- Co-ed baby showers. I admit, we did this but it was fun, I think everyone enjoy the bbq/baby shower more that the cutesy women-only traditional kind.
- Paleo for baby. Ok, this one is just plain stupid! I'm not even going to explain it.
- Mummy makeovers. To be honest, by the time I'm finished having babies this will be mighty tempting! My girls will certainly be in need of a lift!
Why do we do we follow the trends and the 'expert' advice? New trends just keep appearing telling us how to parent. What was good 10 years ago is now bad, what was bad is now good. God forbid I have more than a few years gap between children, I'd have to learn how to be a parent all over again (or so I'm made to believe). Are the experts now saying our parents were no good? They gave us bedtimes, they fed us puree, surely they have completely ruined our generation then? Right?
A few months ago I wrote about trusting our instincts, about ignoring expert advice but I have to admit I've been a hypocrite. I'm still reading the 'expert' advice, trying to catch up on what I really 'should' be doing. Seems like I should really start listening to my own advice as stop following the trends, our parents cant have been all wrong, right? In the end, if it works for you and your child, you must be doing something right!
I have to say, one parenting trend I hope is here to stay is the rise of the involved Daddy! Dad's are now at their child's birth, which I think it such a special thing! They take a more active role in child-rearing, enter the house-husband! I love watching my husband read our koala a book every night or play with her at Baby Sensory classes! Please, lets make this one a parenting stayer!