Confession time … I literally don’t give a crap what other parents do. At all. I couldn’t care less.
As long as their kid is loved and safe (as most babies I meet are), I’m cool with anything you do. The thing is, there is SO MUCH JUDGEMENT around parenting we all constantly feel like we’re doing the wrong thing.
What I’ve learned is that the choices we make as parents appear to be judgements on other parents. If you breastfeed your kid until they’re three years old, clearly you’re judging anyone who switched to formula at three months. If you put your kid in childcare and return to work ASAP after a kid, well why did you have a kid in the first place if you weren’t going to actually parent them? If you co-sleep, you clearly think sleep training is evil. You must spend a lot of money on ‘the best’ nappies so your kid will sleep through the night – utter rubbish – we use Little One’s and they’re affordable AND awesome. And so on and so forth.
I think we all need to take a chill pill. Let’s admit that other people’s parenting choices aren’t subliminal messages that we’re doing the wrong thing and realise that there’s no correct way to parent. We all just need to do what works for us and let other people do what works for them.
For everything you get told to do by one health care professional, there’s another that will tell you the exact opposite. For every friend who swears by a particular parenting method, there’s another who swears by the opposite.
It’s extremely confusing.
Here’s a list of crazy contradictions I’ve read/been told in the last year as a parent.
Give your kid a dummy, it reduces the risk of SIDS … V … Don’t give your kid a dummy, it’s a negative sleep aid.
Give your kid a dummy, you don’t want them sucking their thumb! … V … Don’t give your kid a dummy, the sucking motion makes them think they’re hungry all the time and they won’t sleep through the night.
Don’t co-sleep, it’s dangerous and unnecessary … V … Co-sleeping is the norm in many cultures and is perfectly fine if done safely.
Don’t co-sleep, your child will never learn to sleep in their own bed … V … Co-sleeping makes night feeding much more manageable.
Give your kids puree, it’s a great introduction to food … V … Baby-led wean your child to avoid food issues later in life.
Start your baby on solids at 4 months … V … Start your baby on solids at 6 months.
Start your baby on solids when they show interest in food … V … Never put food in your baby’s mouth, always let them do it themselves.
Never give your baby packet food … V … There are some excellent packet foods with no additives that are great for when you’re travelling.
Sippy cups and water
Hard spout sippy cups are the best. (My maternal health nurse told me this) … V … Soft spout sippy cups are the best. (My friend who is a speech pathologist told me this).
360 sippy cups are the best … V … Leakproof bottles with straws are the best.
Give your baby boiled, cooled water from birth if they seem thirsty … V … Do not give your baby ANYTHING but breast milk until they’re at least 9 months old.
Breast is best … V … Fed is best.
Formula is a fantastic option for women who have difficulty/choose not to breastfeed … V … Avoid formula at all costs – you don’t want your baby to breast refuse.
Pump to increase supply … V … You can’t increase your supply by pumping.
Give your baby bottles early on so they can take a bottle for daycare when they’re older … V … Don’t give very young babies bottles – they might prefer it to the breast!
Expressing milk doesn’t have the same benefits as breastfeeding … V … Expressing milk is an excellent option for women who want to breastfeed but might have latching issues.
The world health organisation suggests feeding your child until they’re at least 2 years old … V … If you’re old enough to ask for it, you’re too old to have it.
It’s fantastic for your kid’s social development … V … Children in full-time childcare feel abandoned by their parents.
It’s cruel and harmful to your baby … V … It’s literally the only way you will ever get any sleep.
You should let your child set their own routine … V … You need to have your child on a strict schedule.
Is it any wonder we’re all baffled?
The point is, be the type of parent you want to be and the hell with everyone else but remember that the way you do/have done things is not the right way. It’s just the way you chose to do it.
If someone else chooses a different path, it’s not a message to you that you did things the wrong way.
When it comes to parenting, it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you. And the reverse of that applies. It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for THEM. If you think sleep training/co-sleeping/baby led weaning/dummies/extended breastfeeding/childcare is idiotic… keep it to yourself.
Did you find so many contradictions when you were first starting out as a Mum? We’d love you to share them in the comments below!
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