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Article: All Parenting Advice Has an Expiration Date

andrea richards

All Parenting Advice Has an Expiration Date

Once you have a kid you realize every random person you meet on the street has an idea about how you should raise your new baby. My husband’s favorite was people who would say, “That baby isn’t happy,” or “Your baby is crying,” when our daughter was crying. “Really?” he’d ask stone-faced and then work hard to squash his desire to punch the interloper in the face.


You also realize how much bad parenting advice there is out there: Have you tried local honey? A woman at the farmer’s market asked me in regards to my infant’s cough. Honey, lemme tell you something about honey: it shouldn’t be given to a child until they are one year old or you might have an allergic reaction. She’ll sleep through the night better if you give her cereal in her milk. No, but she might just develop celiac disease, thanks. And half my Southern family tried to get me to rub down the 4-month-old’s gums with bourbon when she started teething. No thanks, but I’ll be happy to slug down some myself.


Whether it’s good or bad, parenting advice is as susceptible to trends as blue jeans. Some years it’s skinny (cry it out!); some years flares (don’t ever let them cry!); but most of the time you are okay if you just wear straight-leg 501s (sometimes babies cry). Reading through one of my mother-in-law’s baby books, I found a chart detailing how much orange juice to give an infant each day. Yes, OJ for infants. Try finding a pediatrician to back that today. Might as well offer the baby a Snickers bar. In just two short years—the amount of time between my two kids—so much of what I did for the first baby was proved wrong. When we started feeding her solids, I limited it to one new food a week, waiting till she was a year old to give her citrus, eggs, nuts—all per doctor’s orders. Each food was pureed down to a paste, which I carefully spooned to her eager mouth. By baby #2, the advice was to let her eat whatever she wants, except for honey, and don’t puree it. If she can bring it to her mouth, she can probably figure out a way to chew it and get it down. Seriously?


Sleep, potty training, even sunscreen—I worked so hard to get all the “right” info so I could do it correctly with my first kid, and then, there I was two years later with parenting advice that was so outdated it was like wearing last season’s jeans. I might as well have just given my new baby the two teaspoons of OJ the 1956 chart suggested. So when it comes to parenting and jeans, I’m here to tell you this: trust your instincts. Today’s stone wash is yesterday’s two-tone. Stay open to change, but stick to what you know to be true: boyfriend jeans are always comfortable (babies love to be held) and blinged-out pockets are always bad (don’t give the infant a Snickers bar). 

Give infants this… modern parent-approved!


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