Thursday, 11 December 2014

Parenting Choices

Having seen the 'controversial parenting tag' floating around I decided to do my own take on this and do a Blog post discussing some decisions that we all have to make for our children. The tag itself is quite long (13 questions) so I've gone for a smaller figure of five!

I'm not easily offended so I do accept my decisions may not be what you would choose for your child. I welcome discussions and opinions on parenting. This blog is always open for conversations and debates. All I ask is that any comments or discussions are respectful towards me and towards each other.

Ok so in this post I am going to explore 5 choices my husband and I made regarding our son. If you like this post leave me a comment and maybe I will do a part two at a later date! 

1) Dummies, soother, suckers. What ever you call them, they are basically a rubber/latex/silicone teat for your baby to suck on. The decision we made, was to not use a dummy. We were open to using one if it appeared nothing else would soothe or calm our son, but we decided to not buy any prior to his birth and instead see how our baby coped without. 

We had three reasons for making this particular decision. Initially I breastfed, and it is recommended you don't give a dummy to a breastfed child until they are a month old. This is to avoid nipple confusion and any detrimental affect on your milk supply. As I wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible I decided that I would definitely not want to affect this by giving my baby a dummy.
The second reason was that I felt I didn't know the nature or personality of my child, so how could I decide they needed a dummy. It was our opinion that initially a new born would only cry if something was wrong (i.e. hungry, dirty, hot/cold, tired or ill) and so we decided putting a dummy in their mouth would not solve any of those issues and may affect us learning (as new parents) what was wrong and what each cry meant.
The third reason is that prolonged usage of dummies has been shown to affect speech and the development of speech, damage their teeth and also help the build up of germs that cause ENT infections in children.

Now my son is six and a half months old, he's never had a dummy and given our experience I would not change my mind. I am grateful I won't have to take it from him when he's older and I feel we made the right decision for us. I would do the same with any future children. If our second child was more clingy or grizzly and wanted more comfort I wouldn't rule out a dummy as I am not dead against them. But I certainly wouldn't purchase any until I knew my child needed that additional comfort and nothing else I tried worked.

2) Bottle or Breast? Let me start by saying I completely understand and support mothers regarding either option. It's not an easy choice to make, there's a lot of information thrown at pregnant women telling them what is best and what health officials want you to do. It isn't always as simple as picking an option either. I was very easy on myself, I intended to breastfeed but if it didn't work out I was OK with that. I knew there was a chance baby wouldn't take to it or that I wouldn't be able to stick at it. So I gave myself the realistic aim to breastfeed for as long as my baby and myself were willing and able. As soon as it stopped working for us I would be OK with considering alternatives.

Now I could probably write an entire blog post on my experience with breast feeding, how the first days and weeks went. How the struggles changed as time went on, but yet how quickly I grew to love breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for the first 12-13 weeks of his life. Although from about 10 weeks he was a mix of breast and bottle. By 12-13weeks he was entirely bottle fed. The reason I opted for breastfeeding was I felt it was the best choice for my baby due to the following pro's: 

  • There is scientific evidence that breastfed babies are less likely to contract infections due to the immunity support breast milk provides.
  • Breastfed babies are thought to be less likely to develop allergies and asthma.
  • It's free, readily available and there are no bottles to sterilise or prepare. Baby wakes up at 3am and you feed them, no trudging downstairs to make a bottle up.
  • It is said to avoid over feeding. Your body produces exactly what baby needs.
  • It automatically adjusts temperature. No burning babies mouth if you haven't cooled it down properly.
  • Contains fatty acids that promote brain development.
  • Let's be selfish here for a moment it is said to have amazing benefits for mothers, for example if you breastfeed you reduce your risk of breast cancer & osteoporosis. It helps new mums loose weight. Releases chemicals that encourage your uterus to contract and return to normal quicker than a mother who doesn't breastfeed.  

The reason I ended up changing to bottle feeding, was my son had reflux and my health visitor/baby clinic were not as helpful as I think they should have been. The reflux was really hard on my son & myself. I joke about it now, but I think I was in danger of becoming quite depressed, and felt royally guilty that things were not good. I'd slap on a smile and pretend it was funny how often he wanted to be fed, but it was exhausting. Eventually I had to make a call on what to do so I made the decision to bottle feed. This helped short term, but eventually he was prescribed infant gaviscon. Thankfully this worked for him as I know it doesn't work for all babies. By the time the gaviscon had worked enough for us to see an improvement in him, it was no longer an option to return to breast feeding. 

Would I change my mind given my experience with my son. No. Absolutely not. I loved breast feeding him initially, and if we'd had better support so that we could have resolved the reflux and continued to breastfeed then I would have. It was incredibly amazing for bonding with him and I honestly felt it was the best decision. Changing to a bottle I feel no guilt, and any woman who bottle feeds shouldn't feel guilty either. There are of course benefits to breast feeding but it isn't for every mother or baby. I am of the opinion you should try, see if it works for you and your baby. If you manage even a month you have done amazing and provided your child with those benefits for an entire month. If you manage to breastfeed until they are weaned then that is amazing, and that would be my goal with any future children. Breastfeeding wasn't working for us at the time, and I needed to make sure I was happier to give my son the care he deserved. So all in all I am pro breast feeding, but I am 100% in the corner of any mum and the decision she makes.

3) Cloth or disposable nappies. Oh how I'd love to be an environmentally friendly mother, and gain some amazing brownie points for using cloth/reusable nappies. However I opted for disposable nappies because in all honesty they are so much easier, so much quicker and less maintenance is required. As a new mum you have enough to do. As a mum with a baby who had reflux there is more than enough washing to do without adding reusable nappies. I knew I was going back to work before he would be potty trained and so decided why invest in expensive, time consuming nappies that wouldn't be used once I was back in work? Would I change my mind? No. It's a nice idea, but honestly I don't have enough hours in the day to be adding another chore to my list.

4) Co-sleeping. I'm sure I could google this and find plenty of pros and cons for both sides of the argument. But instead I will just tell you I opted to not co-sleep and I didn't even keep my son in my bedroom for the recommended 6months. He was in his own cot, in his own room around about 8weeks. I can feel the disapproving head shakes already. But here's why I didn't co-sleep, or keep him in my room long term. Co-sleeping isn't recommended anyway, and I do feel it is dangerous to have the child actually in your bed. It is not a decision I'd ever forgive myself for if something had happened to my son while he slept in my bed. I know you can get co-sleepers that attach to the side of your bed so that you can't actually roll in to their little section, but I didn't even want to explore this. I felt it was very important for my son to have his own space. His own bed (moses basket initially, and then his cot) and eventually his own room. I wanted him to feel comfortable sleeping without me right next to him, as in time he would have to do this anyway. I moved him to his own room once he was sleeping through the night for more than a week in a row. I know a lot of people have disagreed with me for this, as it's recommended they share your room for the first 6 months. But then they tell you that you won't sleep for the first year of their life due to night feeds... yet my son didn't wake in the night. Every child is different and my child didn't need me in the nights so keeping him in my room was pointless and I would imagine it would have been really hard to move him at 6 months.. whereas now, it's our routine. He knows no different.

5) The cry it out method. My son is a little young to have had this method used on him much. Initially as a newborn he ONLY cried when something was wrong or he needed something and so I wouldn't have dreamt of leaving him cry it out. These days he MAINLY cries when something is wrong but about 5% of his tears are "hang on why aren't you holding/watching/playing with me". So a decision had to be made. Do we give in to every whimper or adopt the cry it out method. I wouldn't say we are 100% committed to the cry it out method but we certainly don't give in to every whimper either. I think I tend to judge by his cry whether he's genuinely upset, or whether he's just a bit over tired or not wanting to do something that needs to be done. If he gets distressed then of course I wouldn't leave him cry, but if it's more of an over tired whimper then letting him grizzle a bit until he falls asleep isn't going to harm him. We try to judge it by individual circumstances and not adopt an overly soft approach to parenting but then keep in mind he is still only 6 months old so he does sometimes just need his Mum or Dad. As we are only just approaching the age where this is applicable it's too early to say whether or not I will change my mind on this.

Well that's my little 'Parenting Choices' Blog. I hope you enjoyed. If you did, please let me know down below or you can email me

Leave a comment below if you would like a part two. Let me know some of the decisions you've had to make and what helped shape the decisions you made.

Would you be interested in a blog regarding reflux in babies? Any feedback would be welcomed as I want to make this blog as enjoyable and informative for you all as possible. Don't be shy come and say hello!!

As always thanks for reading xoxo

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