• An Ordinary Mother

Generation Gaps

A friend of mind recently told me that her mum had told her to put a rusk in her baby's bottle to help him sleep better. She had, quite rightly, put her straight about the choking risk.

It got me thinking about all the guidance that has changed since my parents had me, and maybe this is why we sometimes have conflict with our parents and their well-meaning suggestions. Here were just some of the changes that have been discussed in my family!

1. Now babies must be put to sleep on their backs to prevent SIDS, when the guidance used to be on their fronts. Yes, I know we were fine when we slept on our fronts, but it doesn't mean I'll be able to sleep out of fear when my son is face down!

2. Many parents did (and worryingly still do) wean at 4 months or even earlier. We now know this can be so bad for babies' tummies, but in the worst cases it is dangerous. I'm lucky that I don't seem to have any long term issues with my stomach, but I didn't take the risk with my son and I just enjoyed a little bit longer without the mess and the stress about meal prepping!

3. Attachment parenting is massively on the rise as the psychological benefits continue to be proved. Secure attachments help children to be independent. The cry it out method just teaches children not to signal that they need you - they go into what is called 'freeze' mode. I just can't bring myself to show that 'tough love' to a baby so little when all the research says now that babies that young CANNOT manipulate you. If they are crying, they need something, and I will respond (with no judgement about the fact you left me to cry! Yes, I still love you, Mum!)

4. You can't simply prepare all your formula bottles in the morning and get them out when baby is hungry as now the guidance is to throw a bottle that was made more than 2 hours previous. You also can't whack the bottle in the microwave to warm it up a bit as it doesn't heat evenly and can scald the baby's mouth. Luckily my parents are as impressed as I am about the prep machine that we used when we stopped breastfeeding!

5. The advice now is to have a completely empty cot with no pillows, duvets, soft toys, cot bumpers or mobiles hanging within a child's reach. It can seem a little stark to our parents and I hated packing away all that beautiful bedding we were bought when he moved into the cot!

6. I remember my mum saying even before the baby was born that she 'wouldn't be comfortable doing that baby-led weaning thing'. The thought of baby gnawing away on a piece of chicken filled her with fear about choking, especially as she had gradually spoon fed us purees with solid food coming much later. We just pretended to my mum that we'd already done all the purees and mashed food when she had our son for the day, and she gave him the packed lunch finger food without much thought in the end! (Sorry mum - but didn't he do well?!) Now of course, she can see the huge benefits of BLW.

7. Whilst breastfeeding has always been considered the better choice than formula, I was being bottle fed by 3 months and my husband was never breast fed at all. This was one aspect I was very clear about from the very start: I wanted to breastfeed and I wanted support if things were difficult, with no mention of formula. I am so grateful that my family offered their full unwavering support throughout my entire journey and this made such a huge difference, even if they were all convinced I'd get a better night sleep on formula. Now that we are using formula, we know my son just isn't the best sleeper anyway - so thank God I was able to nurse him back to sleep for so long during his frequent night wakings!

I guess it must be really hard for our parents being told by THEIR children that their way is now considered wrong. That the way they did it is now considered dangerous in some respects. So I guess my advice to any new parent is to include your family by sending them links about current guidance just saying 'thought you might find this interesting', pre-empting the decisions you will make on behalf of your children. I am lucky that my mum did a lot of reading herself when she was trying to offer me advice and she always then came to the same conclusions as me when faced with the research. I then felt fully supported and confident with my choices, and that is so vital for any new parent.

Did your views clash with your parents' at all? Or do you have any tips for getting your family on board with any aspects? Let us know in the comments?
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