PARENTS

Five Parenting About-Turns: Before Baby And After Baby

13/06/2012 15:55 | Updated 22 May 2015
Baby playing in mudRex

These are the five parenting about-turns I hastily performed but never imagined I ever would. How about you?

My child will never have a dummy

Oh how I used to look down on babies with dummies. "Look!" I'd think, "those parents don't know how to comfort their own child! Look! That child needs a plastic – ugh – plastic prop to keep it happy. How pitiful."

That was until my own baby, at approximately one week old, decided she needed something to suck and she needed it NOW. She's been an avid sucker ever since, so much so that forgetting the dummy on a trip out either necessitates a full-on return home or a diversion to Boots. Pathetic.

My child will have a routine

Intent on continuing to work from home while my baby was small, I was certain that I would instigate some sort of Gina Ford routine as soon as she popped out. She'll work round us, we thought, she has to learn to adapt. Am orderly baby is a happy baby.

Turns out it's a load of old rot. Our completely and utterly child-led baby is as happy as Larry, eating when she's hungry, sleeping when she's sleepy and playing when she's bored. Who knew that letting your baby decide its own routine would be the way to contentment? (Er...hundreds of psychologists, it turns out).

My child will learn to self-soothe and be independent

Even up until the day my daughter was born I could be heard proclaiming that I didn't think there was any harm in letting a baby cry for a bit. "It's got to learn", I thought, "life's hard baby, deal with it."

Now, I tend to her at the merest whimper and am firmly of the opinion that if you meet an infant's needs immediately they will grow up well-balanced and emotionally secure.

My child will never go out with food down her top/a snotty nose/mismatching clothes

This lasted about five months. I would carefully dress my baby up in a pre-chosen outfit. Her face would be clean, her hair would be smooth.

We'd have a couple of changes of clothes on standby. We'd eat in a café, there would be a small mess. It would be cleaned up IMMEDIATELY.

Out came the wipes before you could say "baby-led weaning".

But when the main concern is ensuring she gets fed and doesn't drive the other customers away with her noises, whether it goes down her top is of little concern. And when you're 30 minutes late for an appointment, you'll take a sleeve covered in chick-pea puree for a quick exit.

My child will be on formula faster than you can say "back to work"

My baby is nearly eight months old and I am STILL breastfeeding.

Obviously this is not remotely out of the ordinary but I never imagined I would be typing it. Though I am mix-feeding now, I firmly believed that I would breastfeed for a couple of months max, enough to get the good stuff and let the baby's growth dictate how the rest of it went.

But, despite working nearly full-time and despite the fact that expressing in Carluccio's café isn't IDEAL, I love the fact I can feed my baby when we're out together, I love our early morning bonding and I love that I am growing her all by myself (well, with the help of several bananas, a ton of broccoli and a large carton of Aptamil) (other brands are available).

Tell us what your parenting reversals have been - dummies, feeding, sleeping, and much more no doubt?

Suggest a correction