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The challenges of modern day parenting

The challenges of modern day parenting

“Modern day mothers have lost the plot”. At least this is what celebrity maternity nurse Rachel Waddilove argues, sparking debate over whether modern parenting is too child-focused.

Waddilove, whose client list includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Zara Philips and Minnie Driver, trained at Doctor Barnado’s residential nursery training college and has written a collection of books focusing on utilising her experience.

Parents are often surrounded by conflicting advice on how to raise their children, this is what drove Waddilove to rewrite her parenting manual. Waddilove, speaking to the Telegraph, says “Modern parenting is all about the child and that’s what I don’t like about it” she went on to say “I’m not belittling the fact that children are precious, they’re a gift but we’re building a generation of little tin gods and it’s not creating a very nice society. We’ve lost the plot”.

Waddilove advocates swaddling, controlled crying and using formula if needed, the method is unapologetically traditional. She emphasises the importance of not treating your baby as the ‘king-pin’ in the family, instead stating that the baby should fit in with your existing family life. It is mother-led, and encourages the development of a loving, flexible routine through methods such as self-settling and controlled crying.

Controlled crying is when a parent waits a certain amount of time before going to comfort their baby, this method is usually implemented when trying to get a baby into a sleeping routine.
In contrast to Waddilove’s methods, and first introduced by Dr Sears, is attachment parenting where the baby dictates the schedule for the family. The basics of this theory being that the child chooses when they want be fed and stays with its parents at night until he/she decides to sleep in its own room. It is said that this style of parenting ensures that the bond between the child and the parent flourishes.

Many high profile ‘baby experts’ are offering new parents conflicting advice, while Gina Ford warns against too many cuddles, Dr Sears promotes baby wearing and frequent contact to build the bond between mother and baby.

Tracy Hogg recommends avoiding what she calls “accidental parenting” which is cuddling, rocking or feeding your baby to sleep and believes that you should make sure a child is active straight after they eat.

Sarah Ockwell Smith advises that you should not sleep train your child to fit into our modern day lives, instead we need to remember that babies do not have the same sleeping patterns as adults. She writes that fundamentally our body clocks work differently, babies have a dramatically shorter sleep cycle than their parents do.

It seems that these baby theories lie at various points on a sliding scale, with behavioural method parenting at one end and natural parenting on the other. The two sides of this argument, on what is the “right” method, can be found on the internet with passionate defences from parents on both sides.

Many parents find that what works for one baby does not work for another, perhaps this is why there are so many different methods and techniques available. With all of this information around it can be hard to choose which path is right for you and your family, causing many parents to become anxious that they are not doing what is in the best interests of the child. Do mothers need a ‘guide’ to help them through these new experiences? And do these books come as a comfort to parents or are all of these mixed messages causing more harm than good?

Do you follow the advice from any of these ‘baby experts’? If yes which one and what made you decide on that method?

Rachel Waddilove – The Baby Book: How to enjoy year one
Dr Sears – The Baby Book: Everything you need to know about your baby from birth to age two
Tracy Hogg – Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm
Gina Ford – The Contented Little Baby Book
Sarah Ockwell Smith – Calm Baby: A guide for calmer babies & happier parents

Here are some useful links with more information

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