How to Follow Every Single Piece of Parenting Advice You Hear

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So this post on tumblr has been making the rounds for a while now, but I just saw it again and thought it was worth sharing here. “I Learn By Going Where I Have to Go,” is a mashup of all the extremely “helpful” baby sleep training advice showered on new parents.

It’s so easy to get all stressy about what we should and shouldn’t be doing with/for/to help our babies that we forget there’s actually no one right answer. Period. It seems like there is one, somewhere, if only you read the right article or ask the right person, but it turns out the right answer is different for everyone. You have to decide for yourself what feels right. That’s true about parenting, and it’s also true of life in general, but I digress.

Lately I’ve been stressing about how to start the babies on finger foods. They seem to want to feed themselves, to move past the tiny jars of mush, but I worry about them choking. Some people use Baby Led Weaning, some start with cheerios, some say just continue with the mush. Everyone has a different opinion.

I bought some Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusk snack things (try saying that ten times fast) at the store. ย They are supposed to dissolve easily in the baby’s mouth. Then I tried one. They didn’t seem to dissolve immediately. Then I looked online… 10-MONTH OLD DIES EATING BABY MUM-MUM and I turned off the Internet and put away the snacks.

Lately, mealtimes have become more interesting. The babies’ personalities are really emerging in full force. When I bring out the baby food, M is all over the place grabbing the spoon dumping it on the floor, leaning way forward to lick the tray, grab the bowl with her mouth, mash her fingers in the mush and smear it around.ย In contrast, Bean seems content to sit back and let me spoon the food into her mouth, watching M curiously, taking in her surroundings.

Maybe the ideal way to start each of them on finger foods is different. But that’s not my point. I’m trying to get past this “ideal” way of thinking. My real point is, they’re different, I’m different, our circumstances are different, and we’re just going to do what feels right. This morning I finally got out the Mum-mum box and gave them each a piece. They carefully brought it to their mouth and sucked on it a bit, nibbling tiny pieces. They did not immediately shove it down their throats and choke to death. We’re figuring it out.

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20 thoughts on “How to Follow Every Single Piece of Parenting Advice You Hear

  1. Personally, I was so stressed by sleep training, swaddling, parent-directed sleep after I gave birth. Then I realized I just had to put those books aside and go with my instinct. Like you said, every child and family is unique. I take bits of info here and there, but there is no fail-proof guide to infant sleep, just like there isn’t for adults. Wish there were more “real parenting books out there about real experiences”. Love your blog!

    • I know what you mean. Sleep training is probably the most stressful because you’re so sleep deprived it’s hard to think about anything clearly! Less stress is a good thing. I like your blog too–especially enjoyed that last post about breastfeeding. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Mine are similar. Miles is already self feeding pretty well, while Abby is content to be fed. We’ve done a few finger foods – banana, bread, puffs, well cooked peas and carrots etc. They actually handle it pretty well. I realize that isn’t the point to this post…..I stressed about sleep for the first 6 months or so and finally relaxed about it. All I can do is do my best to create a good healthy sleep environment.

  3. Great post. I agree with you and your approach. You know what’s best for your babies. You are the expert. I bought a few books when my babies were little and took them with a pinch of salt. I always thought my babies taught me how to look after them. Trial and error until they’re happy. They’re great little communicators really. I think you’re doing a really great job. :0)

  4. Ha ha ha haโ€ฆthe death by mum-mum made me laugh (and totally believable). I diligently sliced grapes in half for 13 months, convinced they were a deathly choking hazard (which I still believe, for young eaters). Then we were at a restaurant with whole grapes with nothing like a butter knife. The twins ate the grapes whole and we all made it out of the restaurant alive. I’ve decided a good deal of parenting is just holding your breath and hoping no one gets seriously injured. I’d be the wacky mom putting her toddler in knee pads and a helmet for the playground if I wasn’t afraid the consequences of overprotection were worse than potential head trauma. Ha ha!

    • Ha!! I like your attitude ๐Ÿ™‚ I know, avoiding all potential risks is impossible, and even if you could somehow protect them from every potential hazard (which you could not) I’m sure it would scar them for life and make them very fearful little kids. I told my husband maybe we should just have the babies eat mush until high school, but he wasn’t into it ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for commenting!

  5. Thank you for writing this! I’ve been having lots of guilt about how Bear doesn’t really feed himself much. He loves purees, or things mashed up with a fork, and loves those food pouches that we give him when we travel (the look on his face when he’s sucking down a food pouch is a mixture of deep concentration and total rapture), and enjoys clutching a piece of pear in his fist and mashing it into the side of the chair next to him. But he’s not so into picking up chunks of the food that we place in front of him and eating those. I’ve just been feeling like I messed it up.

    But it doesn’t really matter I think. And he’ll figure out how to eat food. Right?

  6. Pingback: The Sunday Showcase: Best of the Week In Blog | A Game of Diapers

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