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Monday
Aug042008

10 Things All New Parents Should Know

As parents, we've all made mistakes. We've all seen other parents make mistakes. In some cases, the mistakes are due to poor information and in other cases just poor judgement. The poor judgement part is, in my mind, just part of learning the art of parenting. It is something you learn through experience and by observing like-minded parents and hopefully your judgement improves with time.

But poor information is a problem. The science of parenting continues to evolve. We know better now about a lot of things and therefore do things differently than our parents did. However, a lot of people turn to their parents, their older siblings, friends with older children, and other trusted people in their lives for advice on raising their children. Or they just get given the advice, unsolicited.

With the intent of dispelling some of the misinformation out there, I put together a list of the things that I think all new parents should know (of course, I'll check the most recent studies before giving this same advice to my kids as they embark on parenthood in a few decades time!).

10 Things Every New Parent Should Know


1. You cannot spoil a child with love: So many new parents hear well-meaning people telling them that they are spoiling their baby by holding him and responding to his needs. But you cannot spoil a child with love. You can only spoil a child by giving the child stuff as a replacement for the time and attention that you are not able to give your child. This great article discusses the issue in more detail: Am I Spoiling My Child?

2. You should be responsive to your child's cries:Your baby does not need to exercise her lungs. She doesn't need to learn to self-soothe. What she needs are parents that understand that a baby's cry is her only way of communicating with you and she uses it to tell you that she needs something or that she needs you. It is important to respond to your baby's cries both to meet her most basic needs and to give her a sense of security that she will carry through life. Excessive crying can be harmful to babies. Another part of being responsive to your child is watching for cues (crying is the last cue - once the others have been missed!) to tell you when your baby is hungry and when she is tired. You don't need to implement a schedule for feeding and for sleep, you should watch your baby instead to determine when feeding and sleeping times should be.

3. Discipline means teach: New parents worry that they need to "discipline" their child. But often when they say discipline, they mean spanking or punishing. However, the word discipline means to teach. That is what parents need to do. They need to guide and teach their children. In the same way that we do not expect a first grader to learn calculus, it is important to understand what age appropriate behaviour is and to shape your expectations of your child and your discipline (teaching) according to what a child can reasonably be expected to understand at any given age.

4. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for 2 years or beyond: So many mothers think that they need to start weaning when their baby gets teeth. Or they need to wean when they introduce solid foods. Or they need to wean when they go back to work. This last one is the one I hear most often here in Canada where we have one year maternity leave. I hear mothers that loved breastfeeding talk about how they have to wean because they are going back to work. That is not the case. Moms can continue breastfeeding on demand when they are with the baby and just not nurse while at work during the day. They can, of course, choose to pump while at work (I still pump once per day for my daughter who is 16 months, but I stopped pumping at 1 year with my son), but they don't have to. Breastfeeding doesn't have to be all or nothing, it is possible to set limits or to partially wean, but still keep nursing in certain situations or at certain times of day. I think if more mothers knew this, more of them might be willing to nurse up to the WHO recommendation of 2 years or beyond. I recognize that not all mothers want to nurse for that long and that some babies do self-wean before that age. However, I think it is too bad when mothers that want to continue nursing feel that they have to stop earlier. Personally, I do everything in my power to keep my kids nursing until they are 2 years old and at that point, it is up to them to decide when they want to stop.

5. Solid food is not recommended before at least 6 months: Over the years, the recommendation on when to introduce solid foods has changed. I was given pablum at 6 weeks. But today, experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months, followed by slow introduction of solid foods. As explained in the link, this gives babies greater protection from illness and food allergies, it gives their digestive system time to mature, helps protect from obesity, and many other benefits.

6. Your doctor is not a parenting expert and usually not a breastfeeding expert: I hear of so many new parents that feel bad after they leave their doctors office. It isn't because their baby isn't healthy. It is because the doctor was giving them advice on parenting issues like how and where they baby sleeps, how they deal with night wakings, how they discipline their children, and so on. Even on issues that are medical issues, listen to your doctor but do your own research too and don't be afraid to get a second opinion. I have heard of many doctors that express concern about any baby that is not above the 50th percentile on the growth charts and start suggesting formula supplements. Hmm...50% of all babies are below the 50th percentile. Are half of our babies really at risk of starving? Also, it sometimes takes time for recommendations to trickle down to your doctor's office. A lot of doctors still aren't aware of the recommendation that solids only be introduced at 6 months of age. A lot of them are still using the old growthcharts for formula fed babies instead of the new charts for breastfed babies. A lot of them only had very minimal training on breastfeeding to begin with.  If your doctor is raising concerns about the feeding of your baby, consider seeing an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. They are medical professionals with significant training and experience in breastfeeding.

7. You can sleep safely with your baby: There has been a lot of publicity about co-sleeping being dangerous. I addressed a lot of those myths in my post Faulty logic from the Ontario coroner regarding bed sharing. However, if you implement a few simple guidelines, then it can be safe to sleep with your baby and can even be safer than putting your baby in a crib in a separate room.

8. Obesity is going to be the biggest health problem facing our children's generation: They say fat is the new tobacco, meaning it will have the greatest negative impact on the health of the next generation. We need to give our children a good head start by making the right choices about infant feeding to avoid obesity and then continue to feed our children healthy foods that are low in sugar and low in saturated fats.

9. Children need to connect with nature: When we were kids, we roamed the neighbourhood without our parents. We climbed trees, picked berries, played in the dirt, built forts, caught frogs, and had a great time. We learned about nature by being part of nature. Today, parents are scared to let their kids go out on their own, so that means they keep them inside. They watch TV, they play on the computer, they go to organized sports or other activities. But free outdoor play time is rarer and rarer. If parents don't want to let their kids roam unsupervised (I know I don't...not yet at least!), then they need to go with them and let their child take the lead. Let them play freely in nature. Let them touch nature. Let them get exercise and fresh air at the same time. Want to read more? Get Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.

10. Keep your child rear-facing in the car for as long as possible: A lot of parents ask when they can turn their child around and then turn them around as soon as they have met the minimum guidelines for height, weight and age. However, you should keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible, i.e. at least until they reach the height and weight limit of the car seat while rear facing (but possibly considering buying a new seat if that would mean turning the baby too soon). More information here: Why rear facing is safest.

Once you've done your research and made your decisions about how you want to parent, there are always going to be people that will try to tell you what you are doing is wrong. Some of them are well meaning, some of them are not. But none of them are you. Sometimes you may welcome advice and even seek it out. Other times you may want people to leave you alone. Regardless of whether the advice is solicited or not, you need to learn to take what works for you and leave the rest. Be confident! And if someone keeps bothering you and won't let up, ask them to "pass the bean dip".

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References (1)

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    PhD in Parenting - PhD in Parenting - 10 Things All New Parents Should Know

Reader Comments (73)

My neck is sore from all the vigorous nodding I did while reading this. Very well said.

August 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

This is fantastic. I am spreading it around.

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterannie

annie: Thanks! please do share...

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Great stuff!

I particularly like the points on not being able to spoil kids with love and that discipline is about teaching not punishing.

August 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNerida

I wish more people would realize these things. Thanks for putting it out there!

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteramyandsimon

You make some good points. I especially agree with the fact that too discipline means to teach. As a child I wasn't "taught" much except through spanking so I never really learned the difference between right and wrong; just caught and not. As a Mom now I want to teach my children to respect our family values and respect people. I will never use spanking as a form of discipline. It does get hard to have patience with a whiny two year old, but like you said we have to understand the childs age appropriate behavior. I also really agree with letting my children explore nature and just be. I had heard a story about how the children growing up need to feel connected to nature in order for them to truly appreciate it and want to take care of our world.
Thanks for coming by our blog too. I do think that babywearing is important also. I wore my eldest in a sling until I was too pregnant too carry her and then my youngest practically lived in my sling while she was a newborn so that I could run after my 14 mo old at the time. It is just the most natural for a baby to be close to their mother. You don't see other animals carrying their babies around in carseats!
Great blog--I'll be back another time!
Kalisha

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermommylounge

Coming from Half Pint Pixie.
Great blog!I'll be back when I have some more time.

August 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIsil

This is great information! Although, regarding #5, the AAP did change it's guidelines earlier this year allowing for infants from 4-6 months up to eat "high allergen" foods, providing their family doesn't have a history of food allergies. Their update can be seen here: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;121/1/183

Thanks for the great blogs!

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergeriatricmama

@ geriatricmama:

Thank you for your comment. The link that you provided only address the allergy risk factor. However, there are many other reasons for waiting until 6 months to introduce solid foods (as listed in the link that I provided). The rationale of Health Canada and the World Health Organization for their recommendation of waiting until 6 months is also provided in this document:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/child-enfant/infant-nourisson/excl_bf_dur-dur_am_excl-eng.php

August 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Oh, by the way, in light of your focus on research-based parenting, I recently came upon a great organization you might like--the Talaris Institute (http://www.talaris.org/).

August 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarla

[...] read and always has proper sources so you can read more or find out more. My favorite post was the 10 things all new parents need to know and their point of view on leaving children to cry it out (CIO). I personally agree with their [...]

I hate to try to correct you on point 4, about the WHO recommendation to breastfeed until 2 yrs and beyond, but most of the protective effects of breasfeeding beyond about a year are for children in the third world, where supplementary food is not always safe and almost never nutritious enough. I do agree with you though that there is a need to push the pendulum in the other direction, so it's better for mothers to believe toddlers can benefit greatly from long-term breastfeeding than to stick by the cautious advice of some well meaning doctors that 6 months is enough.

What I believe is more important, than even the belief in the benefits of long-term breastfeeding, is to instill it in people that breastfeeding in public is natural (Germany, where I live, is a great example, none bats an eyelid and I did not even cover; the USA, where I used to live, is horribly prudish in this respect).

In any case breastfeeding is a great way to bond with your child, beyond its nutritious value and health-protective effects, and the decision to wean is a very personal one, with many factors playing a role.

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthea

@ thea

Thank you for your comment.

I agree that the decision to wean is a very personal one.

However, I disagree with your comments regarding the optimal duration of breastfeeding. In addition to the World Health Organization recommendation (which takes into account the needs of babies in all countries, developing and developed), http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/child-enfant/infant-nourisson/excl_bf_dur-dur_am_excl-eng.php#ref4" rel="nofollow">Health Canada also recommends breastfeeding for up to 2 years and beyond (and Canada certainly does not qualify as a developing country):

"Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of life for healthy term infants, as breast milk is the best food for optimal growth. Infants should be introduced to nutrient-rich, solid foods with particular attention to iron at six months with continued breastfeeding for up to two years and beyond ."

Health Canada references the following study for its 2 year recommendation: [4] Goldman, A.S. The immune system of human milk: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating properties. Pediatr Infect Dis J 1993; 12:664-71.

Kellymom, a research-based breastfeeding and parenting Web site, also provides research-based information on the benefits of nursing beyond a year. In summary they are:

Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
Nursing toddlers are SMART
Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy

Full details are available here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/bfextended/ebf-benefits.html" rel="nofollow">Extended Breastfeeding Fact Sheet (contains links to all references for the above points).

September 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

It sounds to me like this is a collection of your opinions...

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

@ Caroline: Number 6 is an opinion based on what I have seen myself and heard from other parents. All of the rest are research-based and are not opinions.

Despite the fact that these are all facts (not opinions), it is of course my opinion that these are the 10 most important things all new parents should know. Other people may put other things first.

September 21, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

@Caroline: Anything that comes from a person's mouth IS their opinion. Whether it is an opinion based on facts or experience. Even medical studies are based on the interpretation, including opinion, of the facts. Where else are humans supposed to get information? Please name me one source, in all the world, where an opinion is not included.

December 7, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermommyof3tots

This is a great post. I totally agree with "You cannot spoil a child with love". I hate when people say 'you're spoiling him!' when I pick up or hug my child whenever he cries. I don' t believe in 'tough love' - can't do it, no thank you. I don't care if I'm tired... I will always respond to my child if they're crying. What will it teach a baby if you don' t go into his/her room to see what is wrong when they are that young?

June 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

Great list! Nice little package of info to share with folks. Thanks!
~Lisa

June 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlunzy

Nice blog and good stuff provided on this blog for new parents. Thanks for writing such a good blog and helping many parents who don't know about child necessary.

June 23, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbreastpump44

I only disagree with your continuing of the obesity scaremongering. It isn't nearly the problem the media makes it out to be. Also, obesity has many, many factors, many of which are related to genetics. Continuing to promote the idea that fat people are fat because they're lazy junk food eaters & if they'd just eat better & exercise more they'd be thinner does no one any favours. ITA with you about feeding your kids a healthy diet, but because everyone should eat as healthily as possible, not because of discriminatory ideas about fat people.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@Lisa: What did I say that led you to believe that I think fat people are lazy junk food eaters? I agree that obesity has many factors. I also know that it comes with risks and that it can be prevented or minimized in many people and the best way to do that is through a healthy diet and exercise.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

You've been duped by the industry too. Saturated fat is so essential to a healthy child. Dairy fat, animal fats, and natural oils like palm oil and coconut oil are one of the ways this country could get healthy again. I totally agree with you on the sugar thing. But a low saturated fat diet will set your child up for a life of disease. Avoid all margerines, fried fast foods, vegetable oils, etc. (manufactured or altered fats). But please remember to give your child: butter, cream, egg yolks EVERYDAY. You won't believe how healthy your child will be. Want more info? Check out http://www.westonaprice.org/children/nourish-baby.html

August 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterErin

@Erin: I've not been duped by the industry and I'm certainly not going to be duped by the Weston A. Price Foundation. I'd prefer to listen to what the American Hearth Association has to say, which is to limit (not eliminate) saturated fats and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. For more info on that see: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3045790" rel="nofollow">Saturated Fats.

August 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Thanks for this article! I'm not a parent yet, but so much of it makes sense. So many of my friends are new moms that seem to worry so much about everything, it's nice to see your relaxed approach.

As for co-sleeping, I know it won't be able to happen in my house. My husband is an active sleepwalker, getting up and walking around about once a week and talking every night. I've gotten bumps and bruises from him, so when we have children I'm not planning to have them join us in bed. My parents co-slept with us before it was called "co-sleeping," so I'm aware if it's benefits and that it can be safe, but I know it won't work for us.

August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAbbie

This is a great list Annie. I'm going to post this on my Facebook page for my friends who are newly expecting a baby. I also agree with @Tracy's comments. I know too many parents who leave their kids in strollers or car seats all day instead of picking them up and giving them those much needed cuddles and loves. I know they love their babies but please new parents, don't leave your infant in a seat all day!

August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelodie

Hi Abbie,

We had a hard time with co-sleeping at first, until we realized that - duh - we don't ALL have to sleep in the same bed! It's just sleep, and people should sleep where they're going to be most rested, so my husband volunteered to sleep downstairs so my daughter and I could take up the bed, and we all ended up getting GREAT sleep.

Now my daughter is 13 months and has transitioned to her crib (which is still in our room) and my husband's back in the bed. It was only a few months (maybe 6?) that we changed our set-up. No harm done. It's great to have my husband back in the bed, but it was also wonderful to have the opportunity to nurture a co-sleeping relationship with my daughter too.

Just keep in mind that you can be creative and work out temporary solutions to meet the parenting goals you want to attain.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Agree with the post, "All Thumbs Up"!!

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Law

Agreed with that too. I just recently went to a baptism where the little 2 mo was left in the stroller ALL. DAY. (It was an outside ceremony at the grand-parents' house). Awake or sleeping, he was in there, except for the ceremony, and then 1-2 times I've seen in him in his mother's arm. Otherwise, she was chattering around, and not often at least close by. Often the stroller was just kind of next to someone, facing out, and whoever was sitting next to him casually rocked the stroller a bit if he fussed.

My heart panged :( Here I was, totting my 14 mo in the sling (and of course getting the inevitable "you should put her down", "free yourself", "you'll hurt your back", etc.), and otherwise giving her my 95% attention (5% was baby-adoring Grandma making a fuss over her, so far, only grand-child ;-) ). Looking back, I wish I would have had the nerve to pick him up and carry it in the sling when DD was not in it. I guess I was too worried to offend anyone, as they can be quite judgemental... Still wish I did it, though. (note to self...)

I think this can be another example of how sometimes "calm" baby are at a disadvantage, because they "can" be left unattended in a stroller or car seat and don't cry out for much attention. I can't remember where I read it, but in societies with lower means, these babies are more at risk of dying (it might have been in one of your post, Annie, that I read this. If so, do point me in the right direction! :) ).

On another note, these are the same cousins who told my husband at some part of the day that he was sleeping through the night since he came out of the hospital. My husband said a non-committal "Oh, that's nice", and the response to that? "To key for that to work is to not breastfeed." Oh, I wish I had been there too! (my husband told me in the car on the way back.)

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanne

@Johanne: I don't think that info about babies being more at risk of dying was in my post, but I have heard that before too. I am glad that I had my high needs child before my calm one. Otherwise I may not have ever made it beyond the mainstream.

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Love your last paragraph, well said! I feel like framing it on my fridge, or something, as a reminder for me, and as a gentle *hint hint* for people walking in our house ;-)

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanne

Very true - it may not be obvious at 4 am after 3 hours of rocking a screaming ball of energy, but they can be blessings in disguise, for both them and us. :)

August 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohanne

[...] at PhDinParenting notes that one of the 10 things all new parents should know is “Discipline means teach.” New parents worry that they need to [...]

[...] in Parenting’s 10 things every new parent should know list – seriously pass this on to new parents, I wish I read it MONTHS [...]

September 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastica » Blog Archiv

Great post! I always say, that mama is the expert on her baby, and you have to commit to not caring about what other people think.

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Cole

Thanks Julie. I love your comment and agree completely about that last part especially. Confidence is key.

October 24, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I agree. With every point.

In fact, I think all new parents should read this post.

I might add, "Baby gear is overrated. Do your best to steer clear of the commercial trap (start by throwing away those "must-have" registry lists)." ;)

October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

Nice post. I would especially like to say that there should really be more "web material" about breastfeeding not being "all or nothing". The fact is, some mothers and babies have a VERY hard time with this. After a pain medication free delivery I was shocked at the trouble we had with breastfeeding, and I cried and cried when we came to the point where I couldn't do it exclusively. I'm okay with how it turned out now, but it would be nice to feel more support and help than preaching and pressure on this issue.

February 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkat

[...] PhD in Parenting posted the 10 things all parents should know [...]

What a wonderful post! I love this...my boys are 11 and 15 now, but I am so pleased to say that I followed much of this advice all those years ago, but I am glad to share your post with lots of others! I know many people who could benefit from reading such a great list!

March 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

Tracy you are so right about "parenting instinct". We bought the usual baby things like the buggy, and the baby cot with matching sheets and mobile. Decorated the baby room. We didn't read anything about parenting before we had our first child and it ended up that we found ourselves following these 10 things and more by our own instincts. The buggy went unused for months and then only used sporadically as we carried our son everywhere in the sling. The baby cot was used only as a safe holding place for the baby while I showered! Our room was the baby's room! We had people telling us that we were spoiling the baby and we need to put him in his own room to sleep and let him cry it out. We attempted it, and instantly realized that is was wrong for us. Our son reacted much better when we attended to his needs immediately. Babies are not sophisticated enough to "manipulate" their caregivers. Babies need food, comfort, security, love, and mental stimulation when they feel they need it, not only when it is convenient for the caregivers to give those things.

March 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterB

i think that this article is a load of crap. i have 3 small children and it is impossible to respond to every single cry and my strong headed children had to cry it out in bed many, many nights because they learned that by crying at night i would come to them and so i was getting no sleep...there was no medical reason for the crying other than they just didnt want to be in the crib..co-sleeping is not good..had a friend who had a baby die of SIDS

June 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergood mother

good mother:

Co-sleeping is great. Babies die of SIDS in cribs (it used to be called "crib death"). Some babies die of suffocation while co-sleeping, but not if parents take appropriate precautions. See:

http://www.phdinparenting.com/2009/01/11/co-sleeping-safety/" rel="nofollow">Co-Sleeping Safety
http://www.phdinparenting.com/2010/05/05/fox-news-video-on-bed-sharing/" rel="nofollow">Fox News Video on Co-Sleeping

June 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

[...] by phdinparenting on July 11, 2010 Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates from my blog.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginI have a list of 10 things all new parents should know. [...]

[...] PhD in Parenting has a list. [...]

I wish more people would do the research you did. I love everything you had to say. I wish more people were open minded. A lot of it is personal choice, BUT everyone should look at the facts. I think the world would be better off if more parents looked at the needs of their children before their own. In most cases, parents will find that listening to their childrens needs will help life be better for everyone. It makes me sad when people say that all of this is dangerous when in reality it is all safer when you do it all right. Keep up the good work.
The breast feeding, pumped till my son was almost two, co-sleeping, baby wearing, cloth diapering, attached parenting mom with her second due in September and can't wait to do it all again.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMonique

While I don't agree with everything you said, there are some excellent points in your post. I especially agree about the rear facing carseat. My son is 19 months old and 24 pounds, and he is still rear facing in a Britax convertible car seat. When I took him last month for his 18 month pediatrician's appointment, the doctor seemed shocked that he was still rear facing. "He puts up with that?," she asked? "Most of my patient's parents say that their toddlers can't stand being rear facing."

My response? "He is one year old. How does he know that the car seat even turns? He doesn't complain because he doesn't know anything different, and he's fine." Indeed he is. Occasionally he gets mad at being constrained, but it would be crazy of me to assume that his toddler fit is because he "wants" me to turn the car seat around. I read the articles about how much safer rear-facing is for the child, and we decided to leave Nick that way until his weight or height prohibits it. He is small for his age, though, so he should be able to stay rear facing for some time.

Thanks for the good advice. :)

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa E.

Great list! I'll vouch that the research supports the statements you've made, not just specific studies but also the evolving understanding of brain development supports it as well! Parenting is hard work! I might add something about how developmental milestones often temporarily disrupt the status quo in various ways. My kids were all great sleepers but with each milestone we had 4-7 nights of needing more "mommy" time. It was nice to know this wasn't the start of something permanent. :-) I also love to hear that you CAN go back to work and still breastfeed. Even with a crappy milk supply I nursed when I was with my babies and gave up the pumping all together (to reduce stress) by 9 months.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

One quick note on #5- There is actually some evidence coming forth that suggests delaying some foods actually increases the risk of food allergies and respiratory problems. I am just throwing this into the mix as a point of review/discussion--obviously, do your homework and what you feel is best for your child. Great list though- I am a big fan of co-sleeping :)

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJane in Pa

Its not necessarily true that formula fed babies shouldn't receive solids before 6 months. Formula causes the same changes to the digestive tract as other foods and some babies might benefit from fiber (which is found in breastmilk but not formula) or some easily digested nutrients (such as iron). The evidence isn't in yet, but clearly if you're giving apple or prune juice all the time for constipation you'd probably be better off giving whole apples or plums.

Also many experts now recommend formula feeding for at least 18 months.

And I would add that pureed baby food is absolutely not beneficial for breastfed babies. Letting the baby self-feed ensures they are ready to eat food, won't overreact, and reduces the likelihood of constipation and other problems.

Also car-seats are for CARS. Its not safer to clip the car-seat to the stroller than to put the baby directly in the stroller. The younger the baby the less time they should spend in a car-seat even if you are driving, you should take breaks to allow the baby to re-oxygenate and stretch.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermystic_eye

I have seen evidence delaying "allergenic" food until 1-2 years (such as peanuts) increases allergies. I haven't seen any studies that show in breastfed babies delaying solids increases allergies as long as you continue nursing.

July 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermystic_eye

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