Black and white

Standard

I’m still astonished at the ‘them and us’ attitude surrounding so many aspects of parenting. Every issue seems contentious with most available information-whether books, websites or online discussion- being polar opposites.

From what I can tell, most real life parents, like us,  sit firmly on the fence about most things. I am a habitual fence sitter in life- I often feel that if I don’t have good specialist knowledge to back up my feelings over certain issues, then my conviction is questionable.

Co- sleeping, breast feeding, reusable nappies, baby led weaning, ‘baby wearing’ and so on-these are all parenting issues that you seen expected to be in one camp or another on.

I’m going to see if I can explore how I feel.

Co-sleeping
I’d prefer on the whole not to share my bed with my baby. I chose to share it with my husband and sometimes the cat, and despite being a king size bed, it’s a little crowded all ready. When we have Co slept, I tend to feel very uncomfortable and poor husband gets a tiny slither of bed!

Our baby may well be our only child and I don’t want him to be clingy or have any of the typical imagined traits of an only child. I will willingly admit that I have no evidence to suggest that Co-sleeping or any other aspect of ‘Attachment Parenting’ can lead to clingy children (in fact I’m certain that the Attachment Parenting groups will suggest otherwise) but that’s how I feel. If we regularly Co-sleep now, how and when do we tell our child that it’s not ok any more?

But most of all, I just don’t really want to! This is not to say we don’t or haven’t Co-slept.  In fact there have been many times where it was the only  way to guarantee any sleep at all, especially when baby was little.

Feeding
I am very pro breast feeding. And very pro breat feeding in public (No fence on this one! ). It is normal, natural, beautiful, the right thing to do and obviously there are tonnes of health and emotional benefits to both mummy and baby.
However I am not anti-formula feeding. Formula is a valuable resource and a valid easy of feeding your  baby. I’m always sad when people decide not to breast feed their baby or don’t persevere with it but I respect their choice.

Beat feeding is both hard and easy. It took us a couple of weeks to get the hang of it and it was painful and exhausting. A couple of weeks doesn’t sound long but you feel every minute and every second fighting to get your baby to feed. You Go to clinics, search the Internet, read everything you can find, desperate to be able to do this ‘natural’ thing you presumed at least easier than this, if not actually easy. I can’t leave my baby for more than about 90 mins as he won’t take a bottle. This means only feeding from me. Four months so far of never having more than a rare hour or so to myself except when asleep.

But. …. breast feeding is easy. Baby is hungry? I unclip my bra, lift my top and latch him on. Formula feed baby is hungry? This involves steralisers, bottle warmers, different kinds of bottles and teats, comfort milk/hungry baby milk/standard milk/which brand, how many ounces, how long will it stay ok for before I have to throw it away. …? Lots to think about.

I am very grateful to have a baby that eventuality took to the breast but it was no easy mission to get there. I give myself a little pat on the back too because I can’t tell you how much I had to persevere. Waking every 90 mins to feed the baby with mr bumpy not being able to help by taking a shift or two. ….

Nappies
I haaate nappies. They are so ridiculously wasteful. They don’t biodegrade and the numbers produced over the first few years of a babies life is astronomical. However they are extents easy to use and very convenient. We use reusable nappies sometimes but I’d like to use them more.

Essentially we use then during the day when we are in the house. This is because they are bulky and must be carried around all day rathert than thrown in a bin.  But  I’d like to use them more as I now have a larger changing bag and I’m frustrated abut how many nappies we go through.

I understand why people don’t like the idea of reusable nappies and I’m not sure how one copes when their babies are weaned onto solids but we’ll cross that bridge another time.

Weaning
Speaking of weaning. … (By which I mean the British version of the word, meaning to introduce solid food into the babies diet).

There appear to be two main camps. One is the concept of baby led weaning (blw) which involves giving the baby whole pieces of food and letting them be in control of spoons etc. The Other is the more traditional method of spooning mush into the babies mouth. I can see the benefits of both- is great for the baby to explore food in their own time but they do need some help to get the food in.  I plan to mix the two approaches when we get to that fun and messy stage!

Babywearing
This is kind of a new one on me. I kmew that there were lots of different types of slings but not the them-and-us attitude of many “baby wearers”. I joined some Facebook groups as I have a ring sling that I needed some help with and at I was considering buying some kind of woven wrap too.  I was taken aback at the comments there- there was a feeling that people who push their babies in buggies are watching women with slings in envy because their babies are always happy and relaxed.

This leads to the “natural parenting” camp as many of the above ideas seen to make up the core values of the supposed natural parenting method.

And so in lies my issue. There seems to be no scope for reading about and grabbing the useful ideas that tie into your own values and muddling them together. And mummies and daddies are being brainwashed into feeling they have to choose a side.
Are you “doing Gina?”
No we use the No Cry Sleep Solution
Ah we are doing the 90 minute plan

Dear parents,
Most of you are doing an awesome job. Do not beat yourself up about trying to stick to one camp!

I’m sure everyone reading this will have a different opinion (kind of the idea of opinions), but I hope that you parents  and patentsto be can relax a little and see what happens. You might surprise yourself!

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