My “A/B” parenting style

One of my husband’s favourite Simpsons quotes is when the FBI asks: Are you stalling for time, or are you just senile? And Grandpa Simpson says: A little from column A, a little from column B.

This is pretty much how I’d describe our parenting style, a little of structure, a lot of nurturing, a few rules, a little bit of doing what works at the time and, for me, a lot of self assessment/questioning along the lines of “am I doing right by you, baby?”

A lot of people think I’m wishy washy in life (husband included) but it works for me and for sure, our daughter. At the very least, I think being in the middle means we get the best of both worlds, a little routine, a little living on the fly, and a lot of instinctive parenting.

Look, I’ve realised that the more information there is out there, and the more I read it, the further away I get from my instincts, and that can NOT be a good thing for mums or babies.

On sleep, I did a soft version of controlled crying, and baby is in her own room, mostly because I was too scared to bedshare and I’m a light sleeper. Having her in our room meant I wasn’t getting any sleep, and a tired mama is not good for anyone. On the other hand I’ll cuddle her to sleep if she needs it, especially when overtired, and I never leave her to cry in the night.

I’m pro-feeding, whatever way you do it. Breastfeeding worked for me and I only had little challenges (in the grand scheme of things) so I kept going, but when pregnant I openly admitted that I wasn’t afraid of feeding formula and if I couldn’t breastfeed I wouldn’t hesitate to feed my baby that way. My mother and husband were both formula fed, myself and my brothers were breast fed so both styles of feeding are normalised for us and our family.

With solids I do a little purée and a little baby led weaning. I’m big on making sure she’s fed but also think it’s cool to let her be free to explore different tastes, textures and smells. I also love the theory that by choosing what and how much to eat, baby is naturally exercising control of their level of hunger and fullness. The main downside of BLW is that babies might not get enough essential nutrients, like iron, so I make sure I feed baby some iron fortified baby rice each morning. I’ve also noticed that she’s chewing and eating chunky foods ahead of the other babies her age, so perhaps due to BLW she’ll be onto “real” food sooner rather than later, which is a win for us..!

On play, we have one baby gym with hanging toys, a mat on the floor and lots of different toys – handmade and bought, wooden and plastic. My MIL bought us a jolly jumper but I’m guilty of not using it daily. I just think, babies are curious about the world around us, Mackenzie loves the tag on her teddy for god’s sake, she spends hours flicking it, pulling it, rubbing it on her face and babies honestly don’t need a whole lot of crap to entertain them!! So no exersaucer, no baby walker, no singing toys, no baby DVDs for us… That stuff is great for kids and it has its place, but other than that crap taking up too much space in my (small) home, I just like to leave my kid to play and discover without being hindered by gadgets.

On routines, I’ve followed eat, play, sleep since day one. As soon as that baby wakes her nappy gets changed and then she has a breastfeed. This was hard when she was cat napping like a boss, but she’s naturally stretched out her naps and her feeds have followed suit. I never stuck to a timed schedule, it just felt like I was setting myself up to fail if she didn’t nap at her “scheduled” time!!! If I have an appointment that we need to get to, I’ll first try to book it around when she’s normally awake or use her typical “awake time” to manipulate her naps so that she would be awake when I need her to be. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but you know what? She’s naturally put herself into a predictable routine, starting from a standard wake up time at around 6:30-7:00am each day.

All in all I listen to both sides, take what I like and what I feel comfortable with and leave the rest.

What is your parenting style?

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