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Monday Morning Parenting: The New Old-Fashioned Way

Monday, December 28, 2009

blatz beer tonic adBecoming a mother is like pledging the world's largest sorority. Think about it. Pregnancy is like rushing and giving birth is like being accepted into the Mu Omega Mu chapter. Then the sleep deprivation and round-the-clock feedings are like hazing rituals. All mothers go through these rites of passage, and it's so worth it.

Like all sororities, M.O.M is full of "big sisters" ready to impart their wisdom on baby care and child-rearing. Some of their advice, like never take a baby outside on a windy day or she will develop colic, are complete superstitions while some, such as using a little honey to sweeten baby food so he will eat better, are downright dangerous (you shouldn't give honey to a baby under the age of one year because it can cause botulism). While reading breastfeeding sites, I stumbled upon a old tip that drinking beer will enhance your milk production. I even found a vintage ad that perpetuates this claim. Ack! In fairness, some old wives' tales can be helpful. Have you heard the one about placing a piece of wet tissue on your baby’s forehead to stop hiccups? I found this one works most of the time (to add another layer to this tale, my MIL says that hiccups mean that the baby is growing).


Still the question remains...how do new members of M.O.M parent in these modern times without showing disrespect for the ways of the older generation? Many of us were fed infant cereal before we were six months old and we lived, right? I don't know if there is a better answer than to use your common sense. Some old-school methods are harmless, so it won't hurt your baby if you follow grandma's advice to pull his toes if he starts coughing while nursing, plus you spare her feelings. On the other hand, if your baby has teething pain you might want to skip the suggestion to rub whiskey on his gum, bump grandma's feelings in this case!

Being a new parent is a scary and confusing time, so it's natural to seek advice from those with experience. But at the end of the day you are the parent...not your well-meaning mother or aunt.
Don't let yourself be coerced into doing anything to your baby that you aren't comfortable with. In other words, listen to your God-given maternal instincts. You are responsible for your child's health and happiness. Next time your mother-in-law insists that you give your baby a chicken bone to cut her teeth on, just flash your M.O.M badge and say, "thanks, but I can handle this. "

What are some of the craziest pieces of old-fashioned advice you were given as a new mom? Did you try any of them and did any of them actually work?

9 comments:

KarmaPearl said...

This is a great post. I haven't been given any parenting advice yet as my little one isn't here, but I'm sure it's coming. I have some old school folks on my husband's side of the family :)

The Redhead Riter said...

"drinking beer will enhance your milk production"

That's hilarious. Guess there were some happy beer drinking mamas!

Darcel said...

I've heard the beer tale before.
It's easy to get sucked into what your friends and family say is best when your a new mom. It happened to me! I eventually found my own way, and I love it.

As moms we all know that someone will ALWAYS have something to say to us. Friends, family, strangers, the list goes on.

AccidentalMommy said...

I don't really remember getting any "old wives tails" as advice EXCEPT for the beer thing. And you know what...IT WORKS! But, I refused to drink alcohol so I drank that alcohol free stuff. It did work to stimulate milk production even though I didn't believe it. I could FEEL it working. Just buy the booze-free kind LOL.

Theta Mom said...

OMG! Where have you been all of my blogging life? This post ROCKED! The analogy between motherhood and rushing for a sorority? LOVE IT! Just read your profile and I would say you are such a Theta Mom!!! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, so glad you did because I "met" you! I look forward to blogging with you!

Maureen said...

I never heard the hiccup one, but will have to try it as Vivi gets them all the time. She even had them in utero on an almost daily basis. My MIL tells a lot of old wives tales. No matter how many times I tell her that it is not safe to give a baby any amount of alcohol, she will tell me to rub it on the baby's gums for teething pain. Uh, hello! The only way it numbs the pain is by getting them drunk. Rub whiskey on your arm? Did it numb it? Uh, no, that's because it is not topical and it is no more topical on gums! Anyway, she also is always telling me that I will make my kids bow legged because I let them walk while holding their hands (before they can walk unassisted). She says that is how she made my husband bowlegged. The first time she said that, I said to him that I never noticed he was bowlegged and he said, "I didn't know I was bowlegged." This time around, we had planned to tell her that we knew that, but we wanted at least one of our kids to be a cowboy. Of course, she didn't say it even once this time, so we didn't get to. Of course, we're all talk anyway, we never would really have said that. Anyway, we try to be polite, but we don't ever leave her in charge of our kids until they are older. If we did, the minute we turned our back, she would be doing who knows what. She has no respect for the fact that we are the parents. My own mother doesn't do that and just marvels at how much things have changed. Ironically, I have given myself old wives tale advice. I really wanted to clean Vivi's umbilical cord with rubbing alcohol because that is what I did with my first four babies. Now, you're not supposed to, so I didn't, but it drove me crazy! :-)

Lynn said...

I was constantly told with my first baby by my family to bundle him up real warm no matter how hot it was outside. He runs like a personal heater so we always had him in some form of undress especially at home. My mom would always nearly have a heart attack. It was so annoying. Well meaning, but annoying.

My best, Lynn
* swing on by, I'm hosting an all naturals giveaway(s) this week.

keyalus said...

My MIL says the same thing about the bowlegged thing as Maureen's LOL! I hear more of the old wives tales from her end than my mom's end and I just laugh. Luckily she isn't pushy about it but my husband seems more than a little susceptible to her ideas sometimes.

We had an argument the other day about him putting the baby to sleep on his side. His mom put the idea in his head about the baby not learning to crawl/walk if he's sleeping on his back. I am VERY concerned about SIDS since the baby can't roll over yet. Plus, he happily sleeps on his back every night. So far I'm winning this battle but I really wonder about her influence on this one.

Serenityville said...

It must be a good post if this no-kids-having woman liked it. Whisky on the gums...sounds yummy!

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