The ABCs of Parenting - Part 1

If you’re a parent to-be or mom/dad to a newborn, chances are you’ve already been inundated with a whole host of information that you’re not always sure what to do with. If sleepless nights weren’t enough, terms like ‘baby led weaning’, ‘tummy time’ and ‘cry it out’ may have left you in a tizzy. As a mom to two-and-a-half-year-old twin boys (yes, I survived to tell the tale), I’m here to guide you through the jargon that is now part and parcel of the parenting world.

A is for Attachment Parenting - AP is a parenting philosophy that continues to gain in popularity. It believes that a close attachment to parents during childhood, forms the basis for a secure, independent adult life. AP advocates responsive child rearing and encourages practices like bonding at birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing among others.

B is for Babywearing - This is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a wrap, sling or carrier. It’s been around for centuries but is once again gaining popularity due to its many benefits which include keeping your baby close and having your hands free at the same time. Babywearers also swear that it’s the easiest way to sooth a fussy little one. The important thing to remember is to choose an ergonomic carrier that are now finally available in India with several homegrown brands entering the market.

C is for Colic - Bless your heart with tons of patience if you’re a parent to a baby with colic. The repeated bouts of excessive crying that most commonly accompany nightfall, have no real reason and no proven remedy. We ourselves tried medications that aimed at eradicating gas, swaying, rocking, car and pram rides and even white noise. All to no avail. The only good news - your baby will slowly grow out of it as the initial months roll by.

D is for Dream Feed - Dream Feeding refers to giving your baby milk either by nursing or through a bottle while they are still asleep. Many parents believe this allows their baby to sleep longer. If you do plan to dream feed it’s often recommended to wait for three hours from the baby’s last feed.

E is for EBF - Exclusive Breastfeeding refers to an infant receiving ONLY breastmilk. The WHO and most major pediatric associations including India’s IAP recommend EBF for six months followed by continued breastfeeding along with complementary food for a minimum of two years. Breastmilk contains all the nutrients an infant needs and nursing is beneficial in numerous ways to both mother and baby.

F is for Fourth trimester - We all know that a pregnancy involves three trimesters and nowadays the first three months post a baby’s birth are commonly referred to as ‘the Fourth Trimester’. The idea behind the phrase is that this period is like an extension of a baby’s life in the womb where they still haven’t adjusted to sights, sounds, smells and schedules of the world outside. Lots of skin-to-skin contact, nursing on demand and following your baby’s cues are some ways to ease this transition.

G is for Gentle Parenting - ‘Time in’ instead of ‘time out’, compassion instead of the cane. The overriding principles of Gentle Parenting are that every child should be brought up with understanding, empathy and a respect for their needs. It aims to make parenting peaceful and positive which is a shift from the traditional controlling and authoritarian approach that was in vogue during earlier generations.

H is for High Chairs - Running after your tot with a spoon and bowl in hand is no longer the picture postcard for mealtimes with the littles. High chairs and booster seats have now found acceptance in many Indian homes. They’re a comfortable, safe place for a baby to sit at and even foster independence in eating from an early age. This apart from providing adequate restraint that prevents your wiggly little one from wandering off.

To be continued…