Back to Basics Mothering

I am a parenting book junkie. Seriously. I can’t get enough. I’ve read pretty much every child-rearing theory book/article/etc. imaginable. Supernanny. Babywise. Attachment Parenting. Happiest Baby on the Block. What to Expect The First Year. Girlfriends Guide to Surviving The First Year of Motherhood. I am ashamed to say the list doesn’t end here…

I analyze things to death when it comes to parenting. Even mundane things, like fixed wheel versus swivel wheel jogging strollers. It’s bad. My poor husband has probably heard me say “We’ve been doing it all wrong!! We have to start doing THIS immediately!!” a hundred times, only to have me abandon my latest “this-is-the-new-way” enthusiasm just days, sometimes mere hours, later.

I find myself going with my own “philosophy” 9 times out of 10…one that I like to call “trust my gut”. See, the way I figure it, humanity has been having babies for a long time. A really long time. And before there were “parenting theories” there were parents, and there were babies, and that’s where the story ended. So I’ve decided not to stress, and to just do what feels right.

According to the little packet handed to me by my pediatrician at Joshua’s last well baby visit, there are some super conservative suggestions for when to introduce new foods. With my older son, the guidelines were a lot more flexible. The new recommendations were no berries until 18 months…no peanuts until 2 years old…no cheeses until 9-12 months. Yikes! Nate had had all of these things before 1 year old. However, when Joshua, our almost 9 month old, went on a full-on baby food strike at 7.5 months old, we decided to not stress and go with our guts. We stopped pushing the pureed foods, and let him have teeny bites of our food as he showed interest in it.

Now, this is certainly not to say this was right. Of course, no one thing is right for everyone. But with no family history of food allergies, we went for it. Joshua LOVED eating our food. He’s now totally off the purees and just eats whatever we eat (within reason). Today’s selection included Cheerios and fruit for breakfast, yogurt for snack, grilled cheese (in tiny, diced pieces) for lunch, and teeny bits of homemade pizza for dinner. Yum! No wonder he was totally over the strained peas! He only eats very small amounts, but he tries everything we think a person with 5 teeth could manage to eat.

Yesterday, a friend passed along this article from NPR about feeding solids to infants. Turns out, studies have shown that perhaps babies are meant to eat this way. Thinking about it, babies have been around for a lot longer than Gerber and Beechnut have been, and humanity actually did tick on without them.

So I think I will just attempt to put less energy into over-thinking my job as a mother and observe more. I enjoy thinking about my choices as a parent, and I certainly want to do the best I can in my role as Mommy. I honestly think there must be some sort of legitimate mother-sense that kicks in and guides us as far as “how to raise a child”, and I think my new philosophy will be to listen to it and confidently heed its advice. Until I notice a new book on the parenting shelf of my library, anyway 🙂