End the Tut
I read an article on the BBC website today that has irritated me. It’s about the danger of spoon feeding your baby rather than allowing them to discover finger foods first. Apparently if you feed your baby with a spoon they will become fat. At least this is what the article initially claims. On closer reading you find that the research isn’t quite so clear. Only 155 babies were included in the research and most children in both groups were found to be a healthy weight. You’ll be glad to know that they ruled out whether the baby was breast fed or whether they came from a rich or poor family. Did they also rule out how much food the baby was given to eat? Were the rest of the family obese?
As someone who has just started feeding solids to my baby I felt thoroughly tutted at, and yet, if I’m being sensible, there is nothing about this research that indicates I’m doing anything wrong. My baby is hungry and has shown an interest in food, but he doesn’t have the ability to eat anything that requires chewing. Therefore, my blender is ready and the cupboard is stocked with vegetables, fruit and baby rice.
I am absolutely sick of articles and research that indicate certain things we do as parents ‘may’ cause our children to be either harmed, under nourished or weird when they are older. Being a parent is hard. We are all trying our best and unless you can produce some irrefutable evidence that what I am doing is going to cause my child to be harmed, under nourished or weird when they’re older, then sit down and zip it.
You just can’t win! There seems to be no end of areas that the world is free to judge parents on. The only expertise needed is to have a child or to have once been a child yourself.
Bottle feeing instead of breast feeding- tut!
Breast feeding too long- tut!
Going back to work too soon- tut!
Staying home too long- tut!
Dressing your child in expensive clothes- tut!
Dressing your child in cheap clothes- tut!
Disciplining your child too much- tut!
Not disciplining your child enough- tut!
Expecting too much from your child- tut!
Not expecting enough from your child- tut!
Choosing that buggy/ car seat/ cot/ toy/ changing bag- tut!
Letting your child watch TV- tut!
Potty training your child too young- tut!
Potty training your child too late- tut!
Choosing that school for your child- tut!
The list goes on and on…
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m as judgemental as the next person and often think what some parents are doing is crazy. But I don’t raise my eyebrow in front of them, mainly because I’ve never been able to do that, but also because it’s none of my business. The reason I think they’re crazy is because that’s not what I would do. Of course this also means that they probably think what I’m doing is crazy. In which case it’s best to just live and let live.
I say listen to the advice you want to and ignore the stuff you think is crazy. Other than that, use your common sense. If you don’t have any common sense, find someone who does. The same goes for reading articles and research. Not all of it is relevant to you. Half the time these articles are directed at parents who don’t try to do their best for their children- the same parents who really don’t care what the latest research is or how it will affect their children. Tut!
As an aside, can I point out that this tutting is not only directed at parents. Hubby was out walking Uncle M the other night and got tutted at because we had not put a coat on the dog. He’s a dog! He comes with a coat- it’s called fur! For goodness sake.