Posts Tagged ‘control’

When Relatives Want to Feed Your Baby

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

When relatives want to feed your babyWhen little ones approach 6 months of age, many moms begin to consider starting solids. Up until this point, breastmilk or formula is all your little one needs. For me, I wasn’t in a hurry to start solids. By 6 months, I had just gotten into a good rhythm of nursing with my daughter. I didn’t see why she had to have vegetables and fruits just yet, when she was happily satisfied with breastmilk. Then, we went home for the holidays.

She was not quite 5 months old at this time. I remember the moment: A close relative asked to see her, so they walked off holding her. And then, it happened. They let her eat chocolate icing. I cringed. I didn’t speak up. I let them feed my little baby chocolate icing.  She was returned to me with laughter and a gummy smile coated in chocolate.

This same scenario played out months later when another relative wanted to feed her something fun that mommy didn’t allow her to eat just yet. Cheetos puffs chips. Oh the horror.

What do you do when your relatives want to feed your baby? I mean, these are the people you love, trust, and adore with your child. So, why is this such a tricky subject?

While I don’t have the answers, here are some ways to handle this awkward situation:

  1. Be honest. When I look back at my scenarios, I wish I would have spoken up. But, I didn’t. If a relative wants your little one to sample mashed potatoes over the holidays but you haven’t started solids, speak up. Just be honest. They should respect you as the child’s mother and understand.
  2. Be realistic. In the grand scheme of things, my child’s taste of chocolate icing and Cheetos has not stunted her growth or made her become a sugar addict. But if food allergies run in your family or you are worried about food allergies, keep baby close or within sight. It’s unrealistic to brief everyone at every party about how to handle your baby, so stay close enough to monitor the situation.
  3. Bring your own food. If you are concerned about what your child may be offered at the holiday gathering, bring your own food. Bring their drink in one of these fun Re-play sippy cups. Bring some snacks that you are comfortable with. For me, I always had a couple Gerber Graduates pouches in my purse for my kids. This way, if I knew they wouldn’t eat the meal, there was some kind of a healthy option out there.
  4. Be the Mom. If this means you have to leave the room, take your child out of someone’s arms, or have a heart-to-heart with a relative, it’s okay.  Don’t be like me and hold it inside and still obsess over it years later. Now when my family feeds my daughter, I am grateful. This usually means she is well cared for, and I get to enjoy a meal without worrying about what she’s eating.

No matter what you eat this holiday season, remember your baby’s needs should be met. You can decide what they eat and when they eat it. It’s okay to sample holiday foods with your baby IF that’s what you want. You are the mom. You got this.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to go home for Thanksgiving.

The Risk in Helicopter Parenting

Friday, September 18th, 2015

FullSizeRenderIn a world where we have evolved from allowing our kids to walk home from school without CPS calls, into a population with a vitamin D deficiency from never allowing our children to play outside, it is no wonder that “helicopter parenting” exists. When you are responsible for a tiny human life, a life belonging to a tiny human you also happen to be quite fond of, it is easy to slip into hyper vigilance to try to feel a sense of control over all the things that feel so out of your control.

There is a line, though, and the research is showing that while helicopter parenting  may limit some harms, it also comes with its own set of problems. Crime has decreased, and we now know that children are a lot more likely to be hurt by a relative than a stranger, but still we hover. Medicine has advanced and death by injury has been cut in half, but we hover. We hover, and we push. Are they meeting their milestones? Are they in a good enough school? Should they take violin, Mandarin, and what about that toddler chemistry course that counts toward college credit?

The danger in getting hurt, and the danger in failure, add weight to the already heavy responsibility of parenting. So we hover, because we want the world for our kids, and we hover because we want to keep our kids safe from the world.

The problems that accompany this level of intense parenting though include depression and anxiety as they get older. By protecting our kids from the dangers of the world, we prevent the existence of any space for them to learn how to function in the world.

We take them from free play so they can go to piano, and they miss out on learning social skills. We put them on literal leashes to keep from losing them at the mall, and they don’t learn how to look out for red flags on their own. Most of all, we make all the decisions for them, and they learn that they cannot be trusted to make decisions for themselves.

It’s hard. It’s scary. There is so much at stake. But in allowing our kids to fall, we let them learn that they can get back up, and we teach them that they are valuable no matter where they land.

Keighty Brigman is terrible at crafting, throwing birthday parties, and making sure there isn’t food on her face. Allegedly, her four children manage to love her anyway