10 Parenting Decisions I Thought I Had Made Before I Became a Parent

I’m fortunate to have several family members with young kids around me. It means I’ve gotten to see how several other parents have chosen to raise their kids and in doing so, have gotten a good idea of some things we do and do not want to do with ours. And it’s from these experiences of watching parenting strategies that I made a lot of decisions.

I put my child to sleep a certain way at the suggestion of one relative, I’m feeding at the suggestion of another. My parenting philosophy is really a patchwork quilt made up of the strategies of others around me. I think that’s the nicest way to say that I’m a total copy cat. And for the most part, it has worked tremendously. My baby is happy and thriving and we’ve conquered a number of hurdles already.

But then there’s the other side of things. The side where you realize that you made some decisions a little hastily. That your parenting philosophy made perfect sense…until you became a parent. I’ve noticed more and more of these popping up lately and so these are the 10 decisions that I made before having kids that I’m doing back on now that I have them.

  • Not starting solid food until 6 months 1 of 10
    Not starting solid food until 6 months
    The American Academy of Pediatrics says you should wait 6 months and since my husband belongs to that organization and we're all about medical evidence, I had totally planned to wait. And then my baby started showing an interest in food. And opening his mouth whenever we ate. And all the other signs you're supposed to look for. So we're starting him at 5 months. Because I know the evidence shows that there's an increased risk of obesity, but I just cannot imagine that all things being equal that giving my child food 30 days earlier is the sole reason he would ever struggle with his weight in the future.
  • Starting with rice cereal 2 of 10
    Starting with rice cereal
    I wasn't super committed to this, but I had always planned to start solids with rice cereal. My reasoning was mostly that I could mix it with breast milk so it would be as familiar tasting as possible. But after having done a little research and some soul searching, we've decided to skip the grains and dive into fruits and veggies.
  • Not making my own baby food 3 of 10
    Not making my own baby food
    I had a lot of food opinions, it turned out. I very seriously told everyone I wasn't going to make my own baby food, because I am a relatively lazy person. And now that we're days away from beginning solids, I am excitedly planning all the purees I'm going to make and freeze. We're getting a CSA basket on Friday- hello squash, sweet potatoes, pears and apples! I might have created a monster in myself here.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Not Using a Bumbo-style Chair 4 of 10
    Not Using a Bumbo-style Chair
    In my defense, I did not purchase said chair. Which matters not even a little bit. I didn't want to use them because I think it's not the greatest tool to support sitting. But my child loves nothing in the universe more than sitting and he can't quite do it, so I pulled out the chair last week, buckled him in and he played happily for 10 or so minutes.
  • Using Cry It Out 5 of 10
    Using Cry It Out
    I am completely disinterested in starting a debate on this, but I had very much planned to make use of crying it out to solve potential sleep issues. And then one night, I tried it. I sat next to my child and did everything I could to soothe him and after about 15 seconds I knew that this was not going to work for me. I spent 4 months doing everything I could to prevent or stop my son from crying, so doing something I knew would cause him to cry just felt wrong. I'm not at all worried about psychological damage or any of that mumbo jumbo, I just know it is not right for us.
  • Not medicating when you don’t know what’s wrong 6 of 10
    Not medicating when you don't know what's wrong
    So, my husband and I are big believers in minimal medications whenever possible. Don't get me wrong, we would never withhold an appropriate medication, but we like to try alternatives first and make sure that a medication is warranted before giving it to Eli. And so I was very much against the giving Tylenol when you don't know what's wrong. Until something was up with Eli for several days where he was crabby and whiny and pathetic and holy cow, Tylenol made him happier. So, yea, another one bites the dust.
  • Vaccinating on schedule 7 of 10
    Vaccinating on schedule
    Now, before you go all crazy, I didn't actually go back on this one, but lo how I was tempted. We are pro-vaccine (and I'm not debating this here), but watching my son after his first round of vaccines was one of the toughest moments I've had as a parent. And I was totally tempted to change around his vaccine schedule to reduce the number, right until I realized that it would mean more needles, which would probably result in more unhappy baby days.
    Image from MorgueFile
  • Limiting time in “equipment” 8 of 10
    Limiting time in "equipment"
    In my last clinical affiliation, I worked with parents of babies all day long and one of the things I told all of them was to limit the time their kids spent in swings, carseats, exersaucers, bouncy seats, etc, because it can slow development and cause head shape changes. I told them to hold their baby or plop them on the ground for floor time. And now I am the queen of the swing because I pump and I have to put the baby somewhere while I do it. And my son LOVES his swing, so though I feel like a hypocrite and occasionally like a bad mom, my son is developing on schedule and his head shape is magnificent, so I'm trying to cut myself some professional and personal slack.
  • Transitioning to his room/crib by 6 months 9 of 10
    Transitioning to his room/crib by 6 months
    We had planned to share a room until, at the most, 6 months and now that we're rapidly approaching 5 months, I'm balking a little at the move. Mostly it's due to continued postpartum anxiety and the need to be able to make sure the baby is breathing whenever I wake up in the middle of the night. If I can finally get scheduled for therapy and we can ever get this baby to sleep on a flat surface, we might make it, but it's looking more dubious by the day.
  • Never Wake a Sleeping Baby 10 of 10
    Never Wake a Sleeping Baby
    To be honest, I wish I could stick with this one, but on the mornings I work, I have to get him up and feed/change him because I know that if I try to get ready and pump that he will inevitably wake up at the most inconvenient time or that he won't wake up and we'll have to take him to daycare in his jammies and overnight diaper. Most mornings he goes back to sleep, but when he doesn't I always feel bad that he's going to daycare all sleep deprived.

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