Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Why your mom was wrong and you probably are too

When I FINALLY got pregnant, I enthusiastically began reading everything about pregnancy and life with a newborn that I could get my hands on. Books, blogs, pamphlets from my doctor, you name it. I remember feeling giddy with all the knowledge available at my fingertips and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information all at once. 

I researched and scoured safety websites to pick out the top-rated infant carseat system for our little man. I went to a fire station and asked for tips on installation. I watched YouTube videos for properly buckling in your little one and once he was here, followed each step to make sure he was safe and sound. Yet, some of my fondest memories are of bouncing around the rear cargo area in my family's Suburban during cross country road trips. No safety seats, no seat belts, just a pallet of blankets, our favorite stuffed toy and the world's longest game of I-Spy. 

Once our little one was here, fresh and new and wobbly in this world I wanted to do everything I could to nurture and protect him. I knew that you should always place an infant on their back to sleep to reduce their risk of SIDS, but after yet another sleepless night with a colicky, reflux-ridden newborn, I pulled that baby into my bed and slept with him against my chest. It was a fitful night. Mainly for me as I stressed about how he wasn't on his back in his co-sleeper. Arlo, on the other hand, slept for the longest stretch since birth that night. When I told my mother this she said "We always put our babies to sleep on their bellies. It was just the way we were told to do things." 

Fast forward 4 months. We began to introduce Arlo to solids (not sure why we call them that since they are essentially pureed within an inch of being liquids). I told my mom how he wasn't quite ready since he still thrusts his tongue out and isn't sure how to swallow food from a spoon just yet. She responded, "Oh, just put that rice cereal directly in his bottle. He'll love it, and he'll sleep through the night." At my next appointment, I asked about the rice cereal in his bottle and she advised against it saying it can lead to overfeeding and obesity. 

It's always something, right?

All of this got me to thinking about how we parent. We listen to other parents, talk to our pediatricians, and search the internet in a vain attempt to piece together some semblance of a user's manual for these tiny little people. Spoiler alert...there isn't one. We're all just doing the best we can with the information at hand, just like our parents did. Our parents weren't wrong, or oblivious to our safety, they were just doing what worked and what was understood to be the best at the time. For crying out loud, in the 1930's in America, women put their babies in outdoor cages hanging from windows! 

It makes me wonder what the future of infant care will be 30 years from now. I can just picture me standing over Arlo's shoulder as he tries to get his baby down to sleep whispering how we always swaddled our babies and him rolling his eyes and telling me how the most recent AAP study firmly recommends against it. 

Let's be gracious to our mother's and hope our kiddos will do the same to us! 


  1. Such good advice, Lindsey! Parenthood can be so humbling!

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