Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dear babycenter, Five months, week 1

Originally posted at http://beginnersguidetomotherhood.blogspot.com/.  There you can read commentary from my sister and me.

Dear babycenter,

Thanks for all the blog fodder. 

First up, your article "7 mommy guilt trips to avoid."  Your Number One guilt-inducer?  Feeding your baby formula.  The paragraph says, "You may feel like you're the only formula-feeding mom in the universe, but this is far from the truth."  WHAT? What woman feels like the only formula-feeding mom in the universe?  I feel constantly isolated for exclusively breastfeeding my five month old; I feel like the only breastfeeding mom in the universe.  


This is a tricky issue for me.  On one hand, I'm an avid breastfeeder.  I do tend to judge anyone who doesn't breastfeed.  But I also understand that some women have legitimate issues trying to breastfeed.  Those women shouldn't feel guilty.  But women who simply choose not to for selfish reasons?  I'm not sure I'm ready to give them a pass.   

Number 2? Using TV as a babysitter.  I can't even go there.  I have serious issues with the TV, even how much television adults in our society watch, so I better not go into how much we think it's "okay" for our infants to watch.  Television is certainly contributing to health problems in our children and adults.  It's negatively affecting our society in so many ways we can't even keep track.  So do yourself and your child a favor.  Turn off the tube.  (And don't call it the boob tube, that drives me nuts).  Go outside to play.  And if you need to get something done, find a way to involve your child, or entertain him without the television.  If I can use my sewing machine with a wiggly 5 month old superbaby in my lap, so can you.

Number 3? Being environmentally unfriendly.  I'm so tired of all the excuses for not being environmentally friendly.  We better start, as a society, being nice to this planet, or we will soon find we have nowhere to live.  Haven't you people seen Wall-E?

Number 4 – Feeding your kids junk food.  I'll give everyone a pass on this.  Unless you are cooking from scratch, you are eating junk food.  All prepared food is junk food, and most shouldn't even be considered "food."  It would take much too long to address the nutrition issue, so check out Fast Food NationIn Defense of Food, and Food, Inc. if you are interested.
Number 5 is leaving your child with another caregiver.  Gone are the days of women in the home, for the most part.  Our modern society has nearly forced us to all have two income homes.  Unless you make some serious sacrifices.  Maybe that's why it's easy for me to say "no TV."  We can't afford it, so we don't have it.  It's not possible for every family, but on one income, our family is making a mortgage payment, a car payment, and a credit card payment.  It would cost us more to pay someone to watch E than a second income would bring in.  So that's definitely one I agree with – women are forced into the workforce, so don't feel guilty about needing a babysitter. 

Yelling at your kids is number 6.  Moms should feel guilty about yelling.  At children, at partners, at anyone.  Screaming and yelling is never appropriate (unless you are at a baseball game).  Your tips about apologizing to your child were good, and I like that you identified stress as a yell-causer.  It makes me so sad when I hear parents yelling at their children for every little thing.  Most parents spend so much time trying to force their children to behave like little adults that they rob the poor children of youthful experiences.  My policy is simple - you only get told "no" if you are potentially hurting yourself, someone else, or another person's property.  Raised voices are for running in the road and putting your hand on the hot eye of the stove.  If parents yell less, children will be much more inclined to pay attention when they hear a stern voice.

The last mommy guilt trip? Not being able to afford all the extras.  If moms feel guilty about it, they should watch Babies.  This documentary follows babies from around the world through their  first year.  They all have different levels of parental involvement, enrichment activities, and nutritional levels.  Guess what?  They all reach developmental milestones around the same time.  Maybe we over-enrich our children.  Maybe music lessons and pre-pre-preschool are overkill.  Let's let our children be children, and see what happens.

Another interesting tidbit this week: Since the "Back to Sleep" campaign was initiated in 1994, more babies seem to be crawling later or skipping it completely.  Hm, interesting.  Maybe because the "Back to Sleep" campaign coincided with the arrival of infant seats and other baby propping devices.  I doubt just sleeping on the back has diminished a baby's ability to crawl, but I bet lack of "tummy time"  (which also arrived on the scene with "Back to Sleep") and being held in an adult's arms has.  The lesson?  Always put your child to sleep on his or her back, but don't overuse your 'baby buckets.' Limit (or avoid altogether) time in swings, bouncy seats, infant carriers, strollers, etc, in favor of carrying or wearing your baby.  Wraps, slings, and pouches are easy, cheap, and comfortable.  Plus they are excellent for baby's physical development. 


 

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