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Maybe mom isn’t always right

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POSTED: November 6, 2012 12:00 p.m.

I think my husband and my daughter’s pediatrician are in cahoots. Before I elaborate, let me stress that I like our pediatrician very much. He’s been practicing for more than 20 years and has raised five healthy children of his own. He previously served as chairman of Memorial University Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics and definitely seems to know his stuff.

That said, I sometimes feel like his views are more in line with my husband’s than my own. Don’t get me wrong — my husband and I agree on a lot when it comes to raising our baby girl. However, there are a few things we differ on. For example, my husband doesn’t think it’s a big deal if our daughter happens to occasionally stare at the TV for a few minutes. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the belief that children under 2 years of age should never watch television.

During my daughter’s recent 6-month checkup, I asked our pediatrician about his thoughts on the matter. Surprisingly, he said a few minutes of educational programming every now and then is fine — even if the child is younger than 2. Upon hearing this news, I glanced at my husband, who smirked at me. OK, fine — score one for him.

Next, I asked the doctor about my forward-facing baby carrier. Rather than lug around a stroller, I often prefer to “wear” my daughter across the front of my body using a contraption specifically designed for this purpose. My carrier is very versatile and can be used to position the baby facing forward, facing my chest, on my hip or back and even in a lying-down position. However, I recently read that it’s not good to carry a baby facing forward because they can become over-stimulated by their environment, especially in large crowds.

The pediatrician looked at me skeptically and said he’d never heard of any problems arising from forward-facing baby carriers. He encouraged me to continue “baby wearing” if our daughter enjoys it and it’s convenient for me.

My husband chimed in, “I told her it was fine! She worries too much about stuff no one else ever even thinks about!”

I narrowed my eyes at him, pursed my lips and turned my attention back to the doctor.

“How is the introduction to solid foods going?” the pediatrician asked. “How’s the baby doing with rice cereal? Have you tried pureed vegetables yet?”

“Umm, no,” I answered. “We’re doing baby-led weaning.” For the record, this is a method of introducing a baby to solids by skipping the mushy pureed and strained foods stage and going straight to easily managed table foods, such as roasted vegetable wedges, fruit and grains. I was sure the doctor knew exactly what I was talking about and would congratulate me on employing such a modern way of ensuring my daughter’s nutritional needs are met. “You’ve heard of it, right?” I asked.

“I’m vaguely familiar with baby-led weaning, but don’t really know too much,” the pediatrician answered.

I was ready for my husband to pipe up and ask whether we should abandon my technique in favor of Gerber strained peas, but, happily, the doctor quickly added that as long as our daughter is eating what she needs and continues to grow like a weed, baby-led weaning is OK with him.

My husband has questioned my “new-aged, hippie” approach to transitioning our daughter to solids, so even though our doctor lacks knowledge on the subject, I considered his approval of it a kind of half-victory.

I suppose what it really boils down to is there’s more than one correct way to raise a child. Sure, I prefer my way, but moms — and dads — probably could learn a thing or two from one another by listening and keeping an open mind. But don’t tell my husband I said that. As far as he’s concerned, I’m always right.

 

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