“It never did you any harm.”
“How your generation survived, I don’t know.”
“Back in my day…”
These are sentences that get used with a peculiar regularity when it comes to the raising of children. It happened when I had Miss Rose and it’s happening again with Baby B. Parents, grandparents, relatives and friends all can’t fathom why I would do things differently to them, considering their children all survived into adulthood with their parenting. It encompasses so many things; how often to feed, how to sort out sleeping, how to discipline, and in the case of yesterday; weaning.
My baby brother was on solids at 6 weeks old because he was a hungry baby, like lots of kids raised in the 80’s and earlier. It was standard. However, current advice recommends waiting until around 6 months for a number of reasons. For example, the lining of the stomach and the stomach enzymes are not fully developed until around the 6 month mark, weaning before then can lead to higher risk of developing allergies, diabetes and obesity later in life. You’re also at higher risk of your child getting constipated, painful gas and vomiting if you wean too early.
This is relatively new information, yes. But it’s information given to new parents for a reason.
My mums generation, and earlier did wean early. And yes we survived. Indeed, my brother not only survived but he’s a very intelligent, very successful and lovely young man now.
But life is about more than survival. Sure, I could wean early and she’d still be here in a decade. But if sticking to just milk for a few more months gives her a better chance of a healthy adulthood then of course I’m going to do it. And that is a choice I’m very comfortable with making. It’s a choice I will stand by unless research is presented to me which shows further advancements in the field prove later or earlier is in fact healthier.
Things change. Advice changes. And in most areas of life nobody questions it.
Imagine going to have a tooth extraction and an old woman next to you saying “You shouldn’t have an anesthetic. In my day we had nothing but a leather strap to bite down on and we survived!”
You’d look at them like they’re crazy. Of course you’d go with the latest medical advancements!
And if the old lady acted offended as if not biting down on a leather strap was somehow an offence to her, suggesting she was a bad patient in the past because she went with what was currently available, you’d think she was mad. If she took the anesthetic away and gave you the leather strap without your consent or offering you a choice, you’d be fuming.
So why, when it comes to our children, is the old way the only way? And why should we as the parents with the latest medical research behind us, ignore the advice of trained professionals based on our own parents ability not to kill us? I joke about how surviving the day is my main goal with these girls, but in truth I’m aiming for a slightly higher standard. Some days not much higher admittedly, but higher.
So if we don’t do it how you did, older generation, don’t take it as a slight against you. It is honestly nothing to do with you. It’s all to do with our children and medical research done by professionals with years of education in the subject behind them.
If we survived the old way, good for us. But there are allergies and illnesses prevalent in my generation that could have been avoided in many cases, not all but many, and i would like a shot at avoiding them for my own children.
If your parents had over ruled you on raising us and done things that were against the current medical research in your time because that was how it was done in their time, you’d have been affronted too. Because as the parents it’s our choice. It’s our child, it’s our choice.
But please, advise us if we want it. I will ask for advice without hesitation if I don’t know what I want to do, and I will read article after article and speak to as many people as I need to until I am confident in a decision I make. You’re not excluded from this experience of child rearing and your opinions are valid, but they’re not necessarily what we are going to do and that’s okay.
I will vaccinate her according to the latest medical research, not the number of vaccines my parents generation gave their kids. I will educate her with the latest information about the world, not with the information my parents generation educated their children with. I will give her the latest medical intervention for any illness or injury, not the treatment my parents treated us with. Because times change, things move on, and when it comes to the newest babies born to our world, everyone else needs to do the same thing.