I have done wrong, but I don’t care. I have a baby shower to attend next weekend, for my nephew and his new wife. I checked out the registry and was horrified to see 3 strollers, 2 portable playpens and a multitude of swaddling blankets and bottle cleaning equipment. Will this child ever be held? Not with all those strollers lying around. Maybe they already bought their sling, but I don’t think so. You don’t swaddle a baby before slipping her into the sling. Maybe the bottle cleaning equipment is just an indication that they are nervous about breastfeeding. They are first time parents, after all. But really, if you’re willing to put a $300 car seat on your registry, you would be willing to put a $300 breast pump there, too. All signs point to a parenting style that is very detached and hands-off.

I searched for the least objectionable item on the list. Organic floor cleaner? No. Just use vinegar, for Pete’s sake. Organic cotton receiving blankets? Too impersonal. The car seat was tempting, but way out of my budget.

Hello, bookstore. I purchased three books that I have bought, read and given away with each of my own pregnancies. The parents-to-be aren’t due until July, so they have a little time to read.  First, The Attachment Parenting Book by William Sears. First time parents especially need to read this. Dr. Sears was my lifeline during my oldest child’s infancy. He confirmed for me that my instincts were right. So many people told me not to hold my babies too much, because I would be “spoiling them.” Or, well-meaning (I hope) folks would imply that my crying infant was trying to manipulate me. Nobody ever told me that I should hold my babies as much as possible, sleep with them and respond quickly to their cries. The people who believe such things are keeping mum. Why is that? Why is it that the only ones giving unwanted advice are also the ones endorsing infant carriers, formula feeding and not lifting your arms above your head while you’re pregnant?

The second book is The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Huggins. I’m sure there are plenty of great books about breast-feeding out there, but this one is my favorite. I try to not become obnoxious about breast-feeding, but it is difficult to watch others pass on such a mutually beneficial and rewarding experience. I have seen many new moms try, and give up when they believe failure is imminent. Too often, pediatricians are not supportive of nursing mothers, suggesting that they supplement with formula when weight gain decreases. Here, again, is another source of unwanted advice. My own mother warned me repeatedly and sternly that I should get my daughter used to a bottle as soon as possible, lest she refuse to drink from a bottle, ever. Because you know what happens then. You don’t? Me either.

The last book is Child of Mine : Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter. As long as I’m imposing my view of child-rearing on others, I’ll go on record as saying that little jars of baby food are stupid. Ditto for pureeing your own. Satter made me realize that all the worry about what and when to feed my infants was unneccessary. If I was feeding my family a healthy diet, my job was done. The kids get to decide what to eat and how much. As they get older, if they want to have a say in which food is on the table at dinner, they can be involved in the preparation.

So my nephew and his wife may start disliking me next weekend. I could hardly blame them for that. Even if they take one look at the books and decide to donate them to the Salvation Army, at least someone will eventually pick them up and be open-minded enough to start reading. Maybe for the baby’s first birthday I’ll give them a few books about homeschooling. They’ll really appreciate that.

 

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