Posted by: emjb | September 15, 2006

Irrelevent debates in parenting

These are supposed to be the great, fire-breathing debate topics in child-rearing, the ones that cause “mommy drive-bys”. And as usually happens for me, I end up on neither side.

1. Breastfeeding vs. bottle. I heart breastfeeding. It’s awesome and wonderful, yadda yadda. Alas, my equipment did not work properly this round due to illness, so I ended up a bottle feeder after six weeks of struggling. And Nathan is…just fine. So far. He got whatever I had in me for as long as I could give it to him, and I’m happy about that. If I had another, I would try just as hard and would hope to succeed at breastfeeding. But I don’t feel guilty for buying him formula. It’s not like I could find wet nurses to do the job, and he had to eat. So I’m glad formula exists.

2. Cosleeping vs. crib. Again, cosleeping sounded like a good idea, and I would have liked to have tried it. Nathan, on the other hand, hated it every single time. He is a cuddler, but only when awake. You never saw such grunting and flailing as when we tried to get him to sleep with us. Wasn’t happening. So we bought a crib. Which he likes just fine, especially since he has chewed on and scarred all the wood railings, marking his territory. He rolls around happily all night long, kicks and flails and puts his butt in the air. And doesn’t bruise my ribs in the process. Win-win.

3. Cry it out vs. some other method that will get a baby to sleep. Again, Nathan made the call here. There are nights when feeding, cuddling, singing, dancing (as much as one can dance with a 28-pounder) and yes, the sling, did nothing. Nothing at all. And so, you just have to put him in his crib and let him sort it out for himself. And yes, that includes crying. I check in at 10 minute intervals, try some different soothing technique, make sure he’s ok, and eventually, he wears out and sleeps. I don’t plop him in a dark room and walk away while he screams in fear, you understand. But sometimes, he has to holler his displeasure for a few minutes…and eventually, it turns into a grumble and then he passes out. I always try to soothe him to sleep, and sometimes that will happen. But mostly it doesn’t. He doesn’t seem to resent me for it, though, and mostly grins happily at me first thing in the morning.

I know I have some moms and dads that read my blog, so if you can, leave some comments about some things you thought were Big Deals before the baby came, but then turned out not so important.



  1. I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. It is super awesome to have it all figured out before your baby is born – seriously, what informed, educated mother doesn’t? And it is super awesome to know what the “authorities” (Dr. & Mrs. Sears, I’m looking in your general direction) say – but it pretty much boils down to your individual baby, and baby trumps all. You said it all with this:

    “He doesn’t seem to resent me for it, though, and mostly grins happily at me first thing in the morning.”

  2. You’ve pretty much captured the big 3.

    I can think of a few other Mommy drive-by topics that plagued me before my sons were born – TV watching, pacifiers, and kids’ food (yes, we eat chicken nuggets from time to time) to name a few. But since they were born, we’ve done what works for us, with no regrets. I’m sure some people would disagree with our choices, but I care a lot less now that I’m living in reality and not theory anymore.

  3. Wierdly enough, for me it is giving birth. I gave it my damndest to have my children vaginally. #1 was breach, and two versions and a lot of hanging out with things elevated later, I had a c-section when I went into labor. #2 I was really motivated and hired a doula and labored 24 hours with no interventions and another 10 with interventions. No dice. C-section again. I would have dearly loved to make vaginal birth work, and I gave it everything I had. However, now that it didn’t, my babies are helathy and happy and I’m really pretty ok with it. My body just didn’t know how to procede and so it didn’t. Uncomplicated just wasn’t for me. It did matter a great deal at the time, but now it’s ok.


  4. Technically, Amanda, that would be more of a debate about pregnancy/labor than about parenting. I’m sorry that you had to have your c/secs…if you’ve read here much at all you probably know that I had a pretty brutal one that left much bigger scars than the one on my belly. My opinions on it (and on the way birth is handled in general) therefore boil down to 1) it’s great when it’s needed, but 2) the way most births are “conducted” in US hospitals pretty much ensures that too many women are forced into c/secs. Obviously, I can’t speak to your experiences, and I won’t try to. And overall, it should never be about mothers making other mothers feel bad or guilty for how they birthed; it should be about making sure that all births happen in ways that are both safe and respectful of the women giving birth.

  5. Ok, I’ve been trying for a while to think of something, and I finally did. I had read that all the sign language and hand songs were so great for language development and totally wanted to try that with my first born. But, she didn’t really pick up on it, except for signing “more” sometimes. And now she’s almost 3 and hates the itsy bitsy spider and wheels on the bus basically every other song except for twinkle twinkle little star and the made up songs with made up words she sings to her own made up tunes, and that’s okay.

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