We think it’s high-time parents end the “shamefest” of each other, don’t you? How many times have you heard a mom whispering about another mom’s parenting skills? Isn’t it SO ugly, holier-than-thou, unhelpful, and useless? And ironically, it’s most often based on untruths! We should all agree that there’s just no one, right way to parent for all parents…there are just styles and techniques that fit each family best.
And the sooner we realize everyone of us is really just doing our best in this parenting game…the sooner we can start supporting moms and dads, instead of shaming and isolating them. When faced with actual facts, hopefully the haters will realize there’s no point in shaming other parents just because they are simply on the “other team.” But since that’s sort of a pipe dream…we want to arm you with the facts too so that the next time a parent tries to shame you or your friends, you can confidently tell them to knock it off!
Here are our top 5 things we think parents need to stop shaming other parents for, now:
1. Letting Your Baby Cry
No one seems to be shaming those parents who choose not to sleep-train their baby. But you’ve surely noticed how much vitriol there is out there directed toward parents who choose to sleep-train theirs. The mere mention of the term “Cry-It-Out” (CIO) and you’re sure to get an earful:“It’s cruel!”, “It causes elevated levels of cortisol!”, “It’s dangerous!”, or “It’s unsafe!” But there is absolutely no evidence to support any of these claims. In fact, the opposite has been proven in recent studies. They show letting your baby cry it out for short periods of time (15 minutes tops) is not only completely healthy, but the “best option” for new parents. So the next time someone gives you a lashing for letting your baby cry, you can confidently defend your choice to sleep-train and then politely tell them they might want to live and let live, just a little bit.
Read this post: Waiting it Out
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You’ve surely been witness to the smug looks parents can give when they see a baby with a pacifier. You know what they’re saying: “It causes nipple confusion”, “Clearly those parents can’t soothe their own child!”, “It’s a crutch!” “It hurts a mother’s chance of successfully breastfeeding!”, “It causes dental problems!”, etc., etc. But the truth is pacifiers can be helpful to breastfeeding moms and they can be extremely soothing for babies. It has been shown to actually help moms establish breastfeeding their newborns, not hurt them. And pacifier-use in infants is recommended by the AAP because studies show its use lessens the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) during a baby’s first year…we think that’s reason enough not to shame its use!
As far as dental problems go, unless you are hell-bent on not paying for your child’s braces someday, there’s no good reason not to allow your baby to use a pacifier. Whose teeth turn out naturally straight anyhow? Just don’t dip the pacifier in anything (like honey or sugar water) or clean the pacifiers with your own mouth. You want your baby to learn how to self-soothe and if you get lucky, your baby will use his thumb or fingers to do so (you’ll never lose or forget to bring his fingers somewhere)! But if your baby takes to a pacifier instead, there’s no shame in it! You want your baby to be able to feel comforted when he’s at all stressed and if his pacifier does that for him, great. And what’s the problem if your baby continues to use it for a couple of years? We say: nothing. We know moms who are totally embarrassed to admit their two-year-old is still using one and how sad is that? The french have been known to encourage their babies to use pacifiers for up to four years! But since most children will cease the sucking by then on their own, let’s put an end to the shaming of pacifier-using-parents!
Read this post: Suckers!
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3. Formula Feeding
Haven’t you had enough of the “Breast-Bullying?” We certainly have. We’ve heard from parents that are absolutely terrified to approach their pediatrician about switching to formula, because the “breast is best” thinking has totally taken over the parenting world. It’s a sad state of affairs when a mom continues to breastfeed her baby out of guilt when it’s causing her pain and anguish. And moms seldom admit nowadays that they simply don’t want to breastfeed their baby. They’d rather tell people they can’t for whatever reason. If you ask us, the shaming over formula feeding is out-of-control! If you have total success breastfeeding and you like it…good for you! If you don’t, good for you too!
There are signs the pendulum is swinging back a little — especially in light of recent studies showing there is little to no difference in breast versus formula-fed siblings and that the benefits of breastfeeding (from allergy-reduction to higher intelligence) have been grossly overstated. So here’s the deal: if you can’t breastfeed, have trouble breastfeeding, or simply do not want to breastfeed…go ahead and bottle feed your baby without any of the guilt. How you choose to feed your baby is only a small-small part of parenting after all — it’s certainly not the whole thing! If you’re not breastfeeding, you should never be made to feel you’re not providing for your baby in any way. Period.
Read this post: Formula Feeding
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Plenty of families make co-sleeping work for them despite the SIDS warnings– and we say, if it works for your family, yay! So why is it that when you tell someone your baby has been sleeping in her own crib, in her own nursery, since night one, you get slammed with shame? Like putting your marriage first is a bad thing? Like allowing your baby to have his own space is wrong? Like better sleep for the whole family is an anomaly? We say put your baby any place she is getting the best sleep. We’ve just found that that place is most likely her nursery. Parents who say they could “never let their baby sleep in another room!” probably have never tried. And therefore they don’t know the difference in the sleep quality they could all possibly get. Try out all the options with your baby before you judge! Or take it from us: nursery-sleeping works beautifully for most families in establishing great sleep habits for their babies. Naturally, it’s harder and scarier at first for the parents (not the baby!) to sleep in a different room. But don’t worry, with modern monitors and video cameras, you’re sure to hear every peep. And once you all settle in a bit, your whole little family will surely be getting better sleep than anyone who’s knocking you for your choice.
Read this post: Nursery, Night One!
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5. Scheduling Your Baby
To “schedule” or to “attach?” Ugh. This question reflects a new phenomenon in the parenting world — these two polar opposite parenting styles have emerged and completely divided us. Why can’t we all just get along? The truth is when parents are convinced they’re right AND you’re wrong, they can’t seem to stop themselves from shaming. Attachment parenting has taken over many playgroups and if it’s that way in your world too, you’re sure to get shamed for scheduling your baby (if you haven’t already). For example, you’re sure to hear the mantra: “you should never wake a sleeping baby!” Okay…but we in the scheduling world say when the allotted nap time is over, “always wake a sleeping baby.” So, who’s got it right? Neither. It’s all about what works best for your baby! Obviously, we completely and totally believe scheduling works incredibly well for babies. But we also say: whatever works for you, works for you! We’ve coined “Practical Parenting” (a scheduled approach to parenting) and it’s just simply different than Attachment Parenting. That’s all. So, can we all just get the memo to support each other and enjoy this amazing experience without all the judgy-ness, please!?
Read this post: Why Use PPB Schedules?
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Related Posts: Crying Facts, The 15-Minute Rule, Suckers! (Pacifiers), The Feeding Dilemma, Formula Feeding, Combination-Method Feeding, Nursery Night One!, Wake Your Baby to Feed, Why Use Our PPB Schedules?, How to Become a Practical Parent, Sleeping Milestones