The New Nanny Norm?

Hi Readers!Here’s a little snapshot of life in these times:

Our  beloved nanny who worked for us for five years — Joan — recently called to say she’s on the job market again. She’s been working for the family after ours for the past decade, and they’re helping out in her job search, of course, but could we help, too?

With pleasure! I put a notice on a local parenting site: “Our extremely kind, smart, warm, funny, organized nanny seeks new full-time job.” I got a call from a woman who had been tasked by her pregnant daughter-in-law to help out in the nanny search.

Great! I told her how I’d met Joan when I was home on maternity leave and hanging out at the same playground where she took the kids she was baby-sitting at the time. We became friendly, and I dearly wished she could be my kids’ nanny — that’s how much I liked her. Then, lo and behold, the family she was working for moved away, just as I was getting ready to go back to work. Such serendipity! Joan came to work for us, and I got to be a happy, non-stressed mom going back to my job, because I felt my kids were in such capable hands.

The lady on the phone was listening to all this but finally interrupted: “So you say she hasn’t worked for you for 10 years?”

That’s right.

“Well, then she hasn’t worked with a baby in that long?”

No, I explained. The “new” family she went to work for eventually had three kids. The youngest is 4 or 5, so she worked with a baby about three or four years ago.

“I’m sorry,” said the caller. “This isn’t going to work. My daughter-in-law wants me to find someone with recent baby experience.”

“Well, four years is kind of recent, isn’t it?” I swallowed and tried not to let my voice go shrill. “I guess I should have mentioned that Joan didn’t only help raise my kids, she’s raised four of her own. The youngest is in college now. So it’s not as if babies are something new to—”

The woman apologized again: “I see what you’re saying. Believe me, I understand. But my daughter-in-law made me promise to find someone who is up on the latest baby information.
You know, so much has changed in just the past few years. She wants a person who’s up-to-date on all the new things. This is such a crucial time for the baby’s development.”

New things?

If there’s a spanking new version of the Diaper Genie or the car seat (and I’ll bet there is), I’m sure Joan could master it. But is there really a “new” way to raise a baby? Has human evolution taken a sharp turn in the past 36 months? Do nannies and parents really have to be up on the latest studies, products, programs, manias and mantras to do their job “right”? Does that mean anyone who raised her kids before 2012 did it wrong?

The grandma couldn’t hold out anymore. “I completely agree! But there’s no way I can tell her this. I promised I’d look for someone with recent baby experience, and I have to shut my mouth.”

That I understood. It is hard for anyone (especially a mother-in-law) to tell a new parent anything that isn’t in the latest book or magazine. And it is hard for a parenting magazine not to endorse all the new products and programs that grace (and pay for) its pages. And it’s hard for the media not to flog some new, surprising study as the most important stop-whatever-you-were-doing-before thing to do for your kids.

But the latest, greatest thing to do for your kids is also the oldest and boldest: Trust yourself; trust your kid. Babies do not need everything to be perfect. And besides, whatever is “perfect” today may be denounced tomorrow. (Remember when we were supposed to use trans fat-filled margarine instead of butter?)

Thank goodness that our kids are far more resilient — and brilliant — than pop culture tells us they are. Believe it or not, they don’t even need a black-white-and-red heartbeat-playing mobile above the non-drop-side crib.

The grandma apologized again, and we said our goodbyes. Off she went to find the “perfect” nanny. And even though that means Joan is back on the market, it also means she dodged a bully. Er, bullet. – L.

P.S. If you live in Manhattan or Brooklyn and are looking for a great nanny, feel free to drop me a line here or at . 

198 Responses

  1. Aw, what a shame. Now if I were the hyper diligent helicopter type in search for a nanny, I’d be asking why a nanny with “recent baby experience” wasn’t kept on as the children grew into toddlers. Sounds like a pedobear to me!

  2. The daughter in law will see the humour in this column around the time her second child turns five. 🙂

  3. Curious where this puts me since by the time my second was born, my first was 5 years old. And my friend has 7 years between her first and second. Who knew our “baby knowledge” was so out of date!

  4. I wonder how many children this daughter-in-law plans to have and if she’s going to have to replace EVERYTHING from clothes to cribs and go through those childbirth classes again because “so much has changed…”

  5. I could see my MIL having a similar conversation. Why? Because in my current search for a nanny, I’m finding “older” or “more experienced” nannies to be too helicoptering & a little heavy handed in the discipline. My son is only 2 & we are pregnant with our 2nd (of hopefully 6). Perhaps it is where we live (SC), but our best success has been with the local college kids. Those that have some babysitting experience but aren’t set in their ways and are more open to our way of parenting, which includes letting my son play alone in our backyard and being open to playing alongside him and teaching him things like how to use the stove safely.

  6. There is a nine year gap between my 2nd and 3rd children. I don’t know how I was able to take care of my new baby without such recent baby knowledge!

  7. LOL, if I were in the market now, Joan would be hired, if she’d relocate. Since the marriage idea does’t seem to be working out, and I’m not getting any younger, have started the search for a surrogate and for a nanny that will be available in the next 1 to 3 years, depending on how well the surrogate search goes. I already know I am weird, but does that make me weirder? A single man, into free range, who’d rather be single with 2 or 3 kids than to wade through the grannies, drug addicts, lesbians, married women and little girls looking for daddy, in order to find a real women that wants to be his wife and mother of his kids? Of course, Seattle and San Francisco, the two best places to find single, straight, sane women.

  8. Tell that first-time mother that, because she herself has no recent baby experience, she should not have a child.

  9. I was amazed at the amount of baby gear that evolved in the six years between #1 and #4. Yes, so much has changed. You can buy it at Babies R Us.

  10. So to have “recent baby experience” this woman is looking for someone who recently left her employer when the kid was a year old?

    I wish her well, but the only ones with that sort of experience are going to be the ones who will jump ship for $5 more a week, or those who were fired for incompetence.

    My sisters nanny worked for her for at least 5 years, and then an occasional vacation or weekend for several more.

  11. Wow. I had my first two children within two years, a four year gap, then two more children within two years. With the second set I was much better prepared to ignore the latest and greatest wisdom and gadgets and just go with my mothering instinct.

  12. I forgot to mention the foreign women looking for her green card and wanting to send money back to her family in the Philippines.
    My sister had her first two when I was 14, that was an experience looking for baby items then. Then after they were born, a month later, she was pregnant with number 3, so she mostly just reused everything she had with his older brother, but still when number 3 was born, wanted to get him something new, could not believe all the changes in just 10 months, and that was just 25 years ago.

  13. Well, it’s true! So many things about baby care have changed! And that’s precisely why I’m convinced they aren’t as important as the “experts” claim. My mum was told never to lay a newborn on its back, because of the crib death syndrome (or whatever it’s called). Years later, doctors told my sister she should never, ever lay her child face down to sleep, for the same reason. With my first, it was also mandatory to lay her face-up. And now, they’ve told me my fifth should be put to sleep on his side…

  14. I was told it is best to rotate every 15 minutes and baste with baby oil………. or was that the turkey and the butterball hotline????/

  15. I was incredibly grateful that I found this site before I had my first. I was already feeling overwhelmed with all of the stuff I “had” to do, and all of the stuff I “had” to buy. This site helped me see sense before we drowned ourselves in debt doing what all the “experts” tell us we need to do to keep from screwing up our kids. Now that we’re on #2, I’m still looking forward to having more children since it is so far from being the horribly expensive and trying time I was told time and again it would be. Thanks!

  16. Where did you get the idea margarine is full of trans fat? It’s not and I should know…

  17. Lola, you are right, because they change, they are not important. And, how about they employ the person who will watch their kids from the day baby is born (or soon after) and pay her to read what they think is appropriate? It is called job training, and every place I have worked has had some form of it.

    For the record, there is 23 years between the oldest and the youngest in my siblings. 5 between my brother and I. 12 months between my step sister and step brother, (which may have been a good part of the reason the marriage broke up and my step father got custody at a time that didn’t happen) 11 between my step siblings and my younger half brother, and 7 between him and my half sister. Seems like it all went pretty well. And yes, when my brother and I were little, there were not things called car seats, but some how when my sister was born when I was 18, my mom was able to figure out the laws and that she needed a car seat for my sister to get home from the hospital. She knew more about it than I did, that is for sure, as I was focused on going to college, not the latest in baby stuff, even though I was also the one who did most of the baby sitting when my mom had to go some place as I was the only older kid at home.

  18. It always makes me smile when people think that things are absolutely necessary, that would have guaranteed the extinction of the human race millennia ago, had they been absolutely necessary. The vast majority of people in this world who have had kids, have had them over more than a three-year span, and while outcomes varied, most of them did at least a tolerably decent job without getting retrained every two years.

  19. It’s amazing anyone bothers to reproduce! There’s too many scare tactics that make you think you are messing up your kid’s life if you don’t breastfeed/keep him in a rear facing car seat until college/take him to all of the “right” mommy and me classes/feed him only organic food in BPA-free dishes. I’m tired and I only have 1.

  20. I’m dedicated to the idea of free range. And as my children grow (they are 5 and under right now) I implement more and more free range ideas. But it’s important not to lose the perspective of a new mom. There’s a steep learning curve and it’s tough as a new mom. I can appreciate that position. We’re told all the decisions we make will impact our child drastically and forever.

    From the minute they are born we are inundated with decisions to make (formula or breastmilk, to circumsize or not, vaccinations, and on and on) and then judged for each one. t’s hard to see that there are many ways to do things, not one “right” way. We do not have the benefit of experience or hindsight. Our pediatrician and friends are telling us to do the exact opposite of what our mother did with us or is advising us to do. This is confusing and often leaves us thinking that your mother’s information and advice is outdated,irrelevant and, in some cases, dangerous.

    We research each decision, agonizing over every one as though the child’s life depended on it. We’re bullied by pediatricians, undermined by other parents, and generally written off by the “new mom” label as though we will have nothing to offer our child beyond what we have read in the latest parenting book. Let’s not forget the government, who has continuously changed requirements for things like cribs (that’s right, the crib your first baby slept in only a few years ago is no longer deemed safe) and other baby gear.

    So be gentle on the new mom…she could use a little more understanding and a little less judgement.

  21. Tsu Do Nimh, excellent point. How do you find a nanny with “baby” experience that recent unless there was a parting of the ways well before a child was old enough not to need daytime care? There are always situations like relocation, or a parent deciding to stay home, that might cut a nanny loose despite mutual satisfaction, but that wouldn’t be the most likely reason. Is this woman (the dil) overlooking that likely aspect of job history, or is she willing to search long enough to find that one perfect nanny who left a family after a year or so despite satisfaction on both sides?

  22. That was a random comment, Ben.

  23. So, I think I have it down. After the surrogate hands me the baby, and when the nanny isn’t available to take him to the doctor, whenever I go, just nod my head, smile, and say yes yes, that’s right, a lot. Oh, and be prepared to pay the facilities fee that is billed separate from the doctor’s fee, the nurses fee, and the just because fee.

  24. Ben, historically, margarine did contain trans-fat. And we were told it was better than butter back then, before the problems with trans-fat were known. So Lenore is correct, and it’s a good example of her point.

  25. I think Joan would be very pleased to know she narrowly escaped from working for such a nutcase.

  26. Seriously, taking care of a baby hasn’t changed that much. Sure, we’ve done the whole “back to sleep” thing (when I first started babysitting 21 years ago, babies slept on their tummies) and cars (and carseats) have become much safer…but honestly, not much has changed. You feed them fruits, veggies, grains, and some protein, you give them baths, change their diapers, make googly faces at them……that hasn’t changed.

    I wish I could have found someone to help me out while we’re in the midst of moving instead of putting Little Man in daycare but it is what it is.

  27. We can partly blame Babies R Us for making us feel we have to be “up-to-date” on the latest baby things. When I was pregnant with my first, I asked some friends who were already moms to help me register there. Their kids were little, but they were still amazed at how much the gear had changed in just a few years. I’m amazed at it now myself now that my kids are four and two. But, does it really matter?

    It’s all just part of marketing. If you had a baby a few years ago, you have to update everything because of new safety standards or you’re a bad mom. (Yeah, right!) When I had my second, I was guilted into throwing out all of my first son’s bottles because they had BPA in them. I had to buy a completely new set just because of this “new” standard. Where does this leave my older son, then? I put him at risk, even though I bought the latest and greatest bottle at that time?

    I got a finger wagged at me because I got a used breastpump from my friend and happened to mention it when I was getting some supplies for it at BRU. I explained that it’s had one owner and she’s never had hepatitis. Still not good enough, according to them. No, I should shell out $250 for a new one. Well, of course they’re going to say that!

    It’s just too bad that mothers are having all of these guilt trips laid on them, when it’s really just about these retailers trying to make money. Personally, I think BRU and TRU is a horrible retailer with no ethics and deplorable customer service, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂

  28. Oh that new mum is in for a world of delusion & shock. She obviously thinks that there are set, defined rules & regulations for raising children & somewhere, there’s a book that parents (& nannies) can follow.

    It is funny to see how some things do ‘change’ quickly in the world of babies & kids, though. My boys are 18 months apart (4.5 & 3). When my youngest was born, an audiologist at the hospital did a hearing test on him the day after he was born. This wasn’t done with my oldest. Was I worried that somehow my older son has undiagnosed hearing problems? NO. Things change, standards change (BPA-free everything happened between the kids having bottles!), information comes to light. Other than my dedication to breastfeeding (& I used formula occasionally), I was a ‘roll with it’ new mum.

  29. That’s kind of funny, what this pregnant lady wants. Myself, I’d be much more of a “proof in the pudding” type of nanny shopper, I’d be over the moon if a mom I could relate to had kids who seemed like they’d turned out well and they had a nanny they loved and wanted to recommend.

    For me, it’s all about connection, relationship, and love. All the gadgets, gee-gaws and advice in the world can’t compensate for those values, and I can’t imagine any baby or child who wouldn’t thrive if nanny, mom, and kid are well-connected and enjoying each other.

    Perhaps a newly-minted, freshly-programmed “NannyBot™ 2012” would be more to her liking!

  30. Oh, I went through this type of new mom hyper helicopter stage when my son was born. (He’s now 19 months and I’m due with my second in 7 weeks.) In the beginning, I totally let myself become saturated with all of the latest child safety data and marketing nonsense. Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that I handled my new mom anxieties rather poorly. I craved some sort of written manual that contained specific, step by step instructions on how to teach my preemie to nurse (without having to be patient), how to “cure” his acid reflux (without having to be patient), etc….Maybe if I’d grown up a little more free range and a little less spoon fed, I would have been more comfortable figuring things out for myself!

    If i’d been looking for a nanny, I still think I would have hired Joan though:)

  31. Hmm, since the topic came up, and I am looking into becoming a single daddy. Does anyone know how breastfeeding, or breast milk actually, works with a surrogate? I am assuming they could pump it, freeze it and then ship it too you, probably for a fee of course. And since I’ve mentioned, anyone know of a good surrogate, or surrogacy program in the Pacific Northwest?

  32. Joan got lucky there, she almost got stuck working for a nutjob, control freak. And the whole time I was reading that I just kept thinking anyone with recent baby experience probably quit her job or got fired for something otherwise they’d still be working for the family with the recent baby.

    When my kids were little my next door neighbor (a childhood friend) started babysitting for her cousin’s baby daughter. My friend was around 19 and had a 2yo daughter of her own so it’s not like babies were something completely new to her. But her cousin was completely into everything having to be “perfect” for her baby. Everything monitored and counted. My friend had a log book she had to fill out for EVERYTHING, every ounce that was put into the baby’s mouth had to be counted and documented with time and baby’s reaction. Everything that came out also had to be documented along with how it looked, etc. No food that wasn’t on the approved list (which was all organic, non-sugar, non-salt, non-fun) was allowed.

    That last one because a serious issue when the baby got older because she felt so guilty giving her daughter a snack of cookies when the baby could only have healthy, dry, crackers. It always ended in someone having a tantrum. She tried to explain it to her cousin but her response was to not feed my friend’s daughter sweet things in front of her kid. Huh? So then she wasn’t just dictating what her kid could and couldn’t have but other kids, too.

    Eventually my friend just started sneaking her the “unhealthy” snacks every once in awhile to keep the peace. She also had to document every time the kid slept, for how long, did she cry before going to sleep, etc. And naps had to be at exact times which meant my friend had to arrange her schedule around the kid (she babysat in her own home, too). She couldn’t take the baby certain places (germs) or leave her in a room unattended (not sure what could happen in a tiny 2 bedroom house where you can hear everything in every room).

    There was one point I was over at the house with my kids and she looked at me and said, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

    The funny thing was my friend hadn’t bee super loosey-goosey with her own kid. She was a preemie (only like 3lbs at birth) so they DID have to be extra careful with her and document all that stuff the first few months she was home. But her cousin’s kid was perfectly healthy and developing fine.

    We both assumed it was mommy guilt because she couldn’t stay home with the baby so instead she controlled everything everyone else did and had it all documented so she felt involved.

  33. Decades ago when I got my Nanny (my kids are 26&22 now) friends were stunned that I hired an “old woman” (she was 45) to mind my kids. Margie had raised 6 kids, lived around the corner, and came with a sidekick, her delightful husband. The years went by, friends lost their caregivers for a multitude of reasons, but our beloved Nanny stayed. My kids went on hundreds of urban adventures, played dominos oh the street, placed bets at OTB and were surrounded by love and wise, experienced parenting. Nanny and Jose had as much fun as they did. Look for a Nanny that’s going to stick around, that’s my best advice.

  34. @Jen, reading that reminds me of the saying: No one can take advantage of you, unless you let them.

    Sounds like your friend needs to tell her cousin that she (friend) will treat cousin’s baby well, but that notebook will be shoved where the sun don’t shine.

    Back on topic: The whole “recent baby experinece” is about one thing and one thing only: Selling products. Perfectly good baby gear from 2 years ago has to be declared unsafe, or parents wouldn’t buy new stuff. The stuff they buy today? Wait two years, it’ll be declared the most dangerous products ever made; buy yet another set for the next baby. Rinse, wash, repeat.

    Sadly, “buy our product or your baby will DIE” works.

  35. enyawface – you can purchase milk though a breast milk bank if you’re inclined to give baby breast milk. I don’t know anything about surrogacy, but I don’t know if a surrogate would want to pump after the baby is born. It can be a lot of work and very time consuming…and depending on how long you expected breast milk for, could be a long term commitment (a year or more).

  36. That’s so funny. When I became a mom at 40, I considered myself to be quite experienced with babies, even though the last baby I helped raise was then 27. Ha! Other than a few diaper changes in the interim, I guess I was totally unqualified to be a mom. Funny how I never realized that.

    I too hired a nanny so I could continue working. I went looking for someone young and energetic (I mean, I had two one-year-olds), but ended up hiring a 60-year-old who had four adult children. It turned out that her age (and the time since her last paid diaper change) were not issues at all. In fact, Nanny was quite relieved to see that I was not a fan of recent baby trends (which she happened to be plenty aware of). It was me telling her to hold off on giving meds/remedies, “babyproofing,” and extending the use of “developmental” baby/toddler products.

    Actually I think my most relevant childcare skill is the ability to control my emotions / reactions and make a decision, especially in a crisis. The time my kid’s head was bleeding, I needed to keep things calm, stem the bleeding, avoid infection, decide whether an ER visit was necessary, and go through that with two preschoolers. None of this had anything to do with whether or not I’d handled bleeding heads in the [recent] past, or even my knowledge of the latest first aid products/practices.

  37. The comment on “there isn’t a book on how to raise the perfect child” made me chuckle. There are plenty of such books, but it’s amazing anyone buys them. The other day I was on a homeschooling site and someone linked to a personal blog where a mom / teacher had described exactly how to teach your kid to read before KG. It worked for her! (When she wrote it, she had only one child over 5.) It wouldn’t have worked for either of my kids because (a) one of them learned how to read with almost no “teaching,” (b) one of them had vision problems that made it impossible for her to learn like that, and (c) sorry, but I cannot stand Leapfrog Letter Factory etc. If your kid AND you can watch that repeatedly for weeks, more power to ya.

  38. Wow, Reading the story and then the following comments just makes me amazed.
    Long ago when I was 9 years old I started to babysit ( alone or with a sister of mine) for kids all over my neighbourhood. One family ( the dad was a lawyer) had a new 6 weeks old baby. My older sister and I looked after the three children and did a great job. They recommended us to a lot of friends and neighbours and I was busy with babysitting until the weekend before my wedding at age 23.

    I did not have younger siblings but my mum looked after children in our home. I am sure I did not do everything correctly, but everyone seemed to be happy and healthy. Someone told me their child would call for me in the middle of the night at times when they were home,

    Having my own children did not worry me and the people who helped care for them did not have to tell me everything they ate or did while I was out.
    I trusted them to do their best and my kids survived just fine and actually thrived.
    Relax everyone! Enjoy your children and your nannies and learn to say it is OK.

  39. My mother had me at 17 and my father was 20. They were broke and inexperienced. As par for the course in 1970, I slept on my stomach and bottle fed. Never the babysitting type, my mother had no clue what to do with a baby. Her entertainment for me – sitting me in the 1970 version if a bouncey chair on the table and reading me her homework.

    My brother came around 14 years later when my mother was 32. She read the books. Had natural childbirth. Breastfed. Made her own babyfood. Worked from home with the help of a nanny who played baby games with him.

    Despite our very divergent childhoods, my bro and I are both healthy as horses. I’m a lawyer living in the South Pacific. He started doing drugs in his teens. Dropped out of high school. Never went to college. Still, at 28, is as likely to be unemployed as employed. Is frequently couch-surfing. There us no playbook for perfect child-rearing. Those early choices just aren’t that important.

  40. The biggest thing that has changed is the increased number of books, magazines, 24-hour news cycles, product reviews, and blogs that must be consumed to be considered (at least by the likes of that young mom) well-versed in modern child-rearing. It’s a wonder the modern baby-care-provider can find time to interact with the child!

  41. Wow. I’d take someone with over a decade of experiencing raising other people’s children, with great references, than someone who just learned about the “new” things about babies. lol Paranoia on the mother-to-be’s part. Maybe her mom should tell her raising babies and children, hasn’t changed in over ten thousand years. The only thing that’s different now is, people are more paranoid and overly cautious in thinking when it comes to children. But nothing else has changed. You feed baby, you change baby, you watch baby, and as they are growing up, you teach baby/toddler. Anything else that “experts” would have you believe you need to do, is just cash in their pockets preying on new parents fears and insecurities. Let’s bring back the cold ol “common sense”!

  42. Well, I TOTALLY see what the point of this post was, but I also felt the need to KIND of defend the daughter looking for a nanny in the post 😉 I think that there have been a lot of changes in the last 10 years in what they recommend for safety, and while it wouldn’t be impossible for someone to relearn it, you have to find someone who is WILLING to learn and parent your child the way you want. The problem with the daughter was that she didn’t recognize that is going to be a problem with ANYONE you try to hire! Do you want to use cloth diapers? Great, but will your childcare provider be okay using them? You want to exclusively breastfeed? Wonderful! But can you trust your provider to not sneak them formula or solids before you say it is okay to do so? You have to find someone you are on the same page with and who you trust, no matter how recently they’ve worked with children. I think sometimes older generations are set in their ways and prefer to do things they way they always have, but you have to look at that on an individual basis. So I think the daughter was trying to simplify her search, but probably missed out on a lot of really great people in the process!

  43. Steph – I wish I could be your nanny, but SC is be a bit too far! I’m looking for a job to start in August. Some people definitely don’t think I have enough baby experience – I am not a mom and have nannied for two families, neither with infants, but I’ve baby-sat for countless families with children of all ages. Also, I recently moved from Hillsborough, near the college town of Chapel Hill, and there aren’t many people looking for nannies or sitters in my county. Some people therefore comment that, “But you live in BURLINGTON??!!” as if it’s 3 hours away. Yes, I am willing to commute 30-45 minutes. I don’t like it, but that’s life, and if the county/city where I live is your reason to not hire me, that’s sad. Yes, I am liberal and college-educated – just because I live out here doesn’t mean I don’t have experience elsewhere.

    I think it’s a good thing Joan won’t be working for this family and wish her lots of luck finding one that is a better fit for her. I think that, honestly, if I were hiring a nanny (which I doubt I’ll ever be able to afford to do), my first choice would be my mom (who is not a nanny and won’t want to be but will enjoy lots of time with her future grandkids). It will have been at least 30 years since she raised an infant by then, but I like her ideas and philosophies and how she raises kids. Not to say everyone should use their grandma, but someone who is a mom (and grandma) knows much more about raising kids than I or the average 20-something non-parent nanny!

  44. So I have a question for MIL Nanny-Seeker. When this new mom’s baby starts walking, does she plan to fire her “baby” nanny and hire one with “recent toddler experience?” And how about when the child approaches age 3? Surely she won’t find it acceptable to continue to employ someone without “recent preschooler experience.” Say, maybe what she really wants is a daycare center where they have age-level specialists in each room.

  45. What a scary generation of parents raising babies today. I truly feel sorry for the child care providers who have to put up with this craziness.
    I remember being insecure in my own capabilities as a new mom, but was eager to get advise from older moms. They mostly told me to relax, which is what I needed to hear. I was a nervous wreck with the first one, obliviously tired with the second one year later, and totally laid back and enjoying the moment with the third. Learning to parent is not something you can study and research, it comes with hands on experience that does not have an expiration date.

  46. Isn’t that interesting…It’s like saying to a grandparent that they can’t care for your child because it’s been so long since they cared for an infant.

    But everything happens for a reason. Joan is meant to have a better job. And I love that you are willing to help her find one.

  47. @enyawface, my friend has been a surrogate twice for a couple in New York (We’re in Oregon), a singleton and twins. She pumped and shipped milk for the babies. I’m sure you could find someone willing to do that, especially in the PNW.

  48. Wow! My first full time job was as a nanny for a family that I had taught after-school programs to. The mom approached me after one session and asked if I had full time employment (I was about to graduate from university and did not get into a Teacher’s College that year). I explained my situation, that I would hopefully only be able to be in her employment for a year, as I was hoping to get my teaching degree the following year (which I did). I had a ton of experience working with kids at camps, after-school programs, babysitting and coaching sports but no reference check or `official’ credentials other than First Aid and a degree in English Lit. I worked with her family for just over a year and learned as I went. It was one of the toughest jobs I ever had but it well prepared me for my career as a teacher and more importantly as my role as a mother. I’m grateful that this family gave me the opportunity to work with them raising their children who are now self-sufficient and well-respected adults in their community. And they didn’t mind the time we dropped chocolate cupcakes all over their sofa. 🙂

  49. So basically she is happy for this future nanny to “experiment” on someone else’s baby first – because she would not have had experience with “modern babies” before she started there? And unless she finds that rare person whose employer moved away recently, she would indeed then hire someone who broke their commitment to the previously mentioned baby. Possibly because her experiment went horribly wrong? Or because that child was really just the training child?

    Really… The MIL needs to do some work on her persuasion skills – surely it cannot be that hard to make this obviously seriously freaked out future mother see that she is being downright silly. But the fact that MIL has not been able to convince her does make me conclude that Joan did indeed dodge a bully/bullet!

    Yes becoming a first time mum is very daunting – more so than it used to be because of all the warnings and overwhelming amount of expert advice. But this is just quite crazy and completely irrational. Someone needs to give this woman a hug and tell her to relax.

  50. God bless that MIL, she is a wise woman not to try and interfere with DIL’s wishes. Now let’s hope the DIL relaxes at some point very soon and realizes this – and maybe starts asking this lovely woman for advice. I have been very lucky with my own mil, considering we can barely communicate, though it did take some time to get used to her covering my eldest’s tummy with a triangle nappy – evidently if you don’t the demons can get in through the navel! Needless to say there were some differences in our parenting techniques, but she could do all the main things really well – and I would have trusted anyone she recommended to look after him.

    @enywaface – good luck with the baby. Ever thought of fostering though? I know a lot of kids need decent Foster parents. Cheers

  51. My awesome MIL and I have a great game we play: She tells me the advice that she was told when she was raising my husband and his two siblings, I tell her what is said now, and then we have a good laugh about it and do whatever makes sense instead.

  52. Too bad I can’t afford to fly Joan to American Samoa. I could really use a good nanny for the summer. No recent baby experience necessary since my baby is now 6. I guess that means I’m not qualified to watch this woman’s child either, although I can’t for the life of me come up with a single thing that’s changed since I did have a baby. Well maybe the dropside crib thing but I think furnishing the nursey is usually a tad outside the nanny’s duties so this should not be need-to-know info.

  53. My basic policy on new trends in pregnancy/childrearing? If we’ve survived without this ‘essential practice’ this long, we can probably do without it. If children have largely survived such and such a ‘risk’ before it was brought to our awareness, we probably don’t need to do an excessive amount about it.

    The only exception I can think of in living memory is the campaign to put small babies sleeping on their backs to avoid cot death, where the statistics speak for themselves. It was simple, straightforward advice, and it saved lives. Unlike most of the stuff we hear.

  54. Oh dear. I can’t believe that anyone described being a baby as ‘a crucial time in a child’s development’.

    I guess it is, but surely what they’re learning about is love (and tummy time) and who better to give that love than someone who was so wonderful with your children that you still care about her 10 years later.

    When it comes to leaving my babies with someone I only use one criteria … if the house catches fire would the sitter run out as fast as possible or would they try to save my children.

  55. Having a son who turns three in July and a daughter who’s one I’ve had recent baby experience. What I experienced was the latest and greatest techniques failed miserably with both kids. The stuff that’s been around since I, my parents and my grandparents were kids still work exceptionally well. Grandma and Great Grandma give the best advice. After three or four generations they’ve nearly seen it all.

    As my kindergarten teaching mother-in-law loves to tell parents “Put down the parenting books. Stressing over the absolute best way to do every little thing makes life more difficult for you and your kids. Do your best and the kids will thrive.”

  56. And it is true, isn’t it, that babies are such very simple creatures, with very simple needs, it’s kinda hard to get it wrong. Now if we were talking teenagers on the other hand…

    Some studies on babies and mainly how they are reported on in the media really annoy me sometimes. There was one fairly recently that claimed a link between letting babies cry (they actually meant “let them cry it out”) and ADHD and anxiety disorders. Now I know that parents’ can have very different views on this anyway, but I got through my daughter’s baby years with my elders’ voice in the back of my head telling me that no baby every got harmed from a bit of crying and I used my common sense. There was no way in hell anyone could’ve prevented me from picking up my baby when she sounded really distressed, but I had a method for getting her to sleep that involved letting her cry for 2 minutes at a time and I felt totally fine with that if it was just a low-key whinge. But apparently this study makes some parents feel that they have to react to every little whimper to avoid causing brain damage in their baby. I find that rather cruel towards these new parents. It’s hard enough to deal with the sleep deprivation without someone telling you that if you didn’t wake up soon enough when your baby started crying, you probably are to blame if she ever develops ADHD.

  57. An advice for new parents: search for studies that support your views, and stick to a pediatrician who tells you to do what you were going to do anyway.

  58. Best advice ever, Lola

    My recent baby experience dried up completely too, as my older child is now seven.

    Luckily, my baby girl wears her diapers on the same end he did.

  59. linvo, then you have the kids like my oldest who cried no matter what. Nothing physically wrong with him, no digestive/gas issues, not a distressed cry, just a near constant, fussy whimper. He also did not sleep well at all- the slightest noise, or even his own movements, would wake him. For the first month I would immediately pick him up if he cried or fussed. Neither of us got sleep but “the books said” and I did. Then one day I was so exhausted I slept through him fussing. My grandmother was over at the house and let him fuss for five minutes before going to check on him. He fell back asleep after three and slept better than ever. It seems that my constant attention was keeping him awake. As soon as I took my grandmother’s advice to let him fuss for a few minutes before getting him he started to sleep well. After that I gave the books to Goodwill and listened to the wise parents who’ve come before me.

    I have a feeling that the new mother looking for a nanny will learn much the same way I did.

  60. We had the opposite problem. We interviewed a prospective nanny who spent 15 minutes explaining how she keeps diligent records of everything the kids do all day from everything they eat to diaper changes to books read. She uses charts and then reviews them with the parents. She had all kinds of “educational” ideas and theories as well. In a subsequent follow up call we explained to her that we were sure she was perfect for families that want that level of intensity but we are really just looking for someone to can take the kids to the park and play with them.

    It really comes down to finding the right person for the right job. What works for some parents doesn’t work for others and vice versa.

  61. HA this post made me smile! I’m about to become a grandma for the first time and my daughter lives in TN, a good 9 hour drive for me….if only your nanny did not live in NY. She (notice I didn’t say “we”) is looking to share a nanny with another person since she does shift work in an ER.

    I always worked at home but once tried hiring a nanny from a big agency. They sent me a young girl from Iowa who stole and lied to me – she lasted maybe 2 weeks and I sent her packing! Maybe Joan is looking for a change of scene?

  62. Well then, the woman obviously doesn’t deserve an excellent experienced nanny. With arbitrary unflexible rules like that, the whole thing would be a nightmare anyhow so it worked out of the best. I am sure a highly qualified nanny like her will find a wonderful family that appreciates her for her qualities.

  63. I have ‘recent baby experience’ and I feel a lot of sympathy for this mom-to-be. I’m still recovering from all the parenting advice I read while pregnant and in the early days of motherhood.

    Two really big things come to mind. First, I remember the advice that if you do everything right and put your kid to sleep on their back and all that, and then leave them in the care of someone who isn’t “up to date” and that person puts your baby to sleep on his/her belly, your child is at greater risk of SIDS (aka cot death) than if you had been putting the child to sleep on his/her belly all along. And of course SIDS gets so much play, it makes new parents think belly sleeping from the start is a craps shoot with your baby’s life…. imagine making that WORSE.

    The other big thing is what Heather G and linvo mentioned. The recent claims that if you let your kid cry you will give them brain damage. I spent more than a year in complete sleep deprivation and desperation before I finally gave myself permission to get her to sleep (even if it meant tears), because she was crying more from waking every two hours than she would if we sleep trained. This after all the gentle, ‘acceptable’ advice had failed. (Our problem was 1/2 too much feeding at night and half, like Heather G said, all that attention was keeping her up, or as Dr. Ferber explains, keeping her from learning to fall back asleep on her own.)

    The rest about neurologically stimulating games, and rhymes, I understood as science explaining why all the things moms have done forever work so well.

    I spent most of the first year feeling like a terrible mom. I wanted the best for my baby, I got her into the best daycare in town, but didn’t trust myself to take her home at the end of the day. I was trying to do everything ‘right’ and yet my whole life felt so very, very, wrong. I was so tired, both physically and emotionally, that I rarely did any of the stimulating things I knew I should do, and that any reasonably happy mom would do.

    I stopped asking when do things change for the better, and started asking HOW? How do you transition from babying, to moving toward the ultimate goal of building a functional, independent human. How do you get past the fear and start living? The ‘experts’ didn’t seem to really have any long term view or answers.

    In my frustration I remembered some crazy furor over a 9 year old ridding the NYC subway on his own. (Shouldn’t a 9 year old raised in NYC know this?) And I wondered, how did that mom get there? Wasn’t she a journalist, has she written anything else on parenting? Lenore, thank you for putting the overblown advice in context. Thanks for calming me down. You also gave me the nerve to pick up the much maligned Dr. Ferber’s book. That was the second parenting book I read that actually cared, in plane let’s fix this language, about what was happening to the parents.

    It was refreshing to be treated with more than a pat on the back and a ‘but you need to do this for the kids.’ Funny thing… now that I am rested, and not so worried about perfection…I’m doing a lot more of those things that science says is so good for the kid, because I finally can see my 16 month-old as she is. She love the monkeys jumping on the bed rhyme, great! Lets sing it again, and again, and again. We are all having a blast. Hey maybe she is building phonyme recognition, vocabulary, counting backward, gesture recognition, social interactions, cause and effect… it’s all good. A few days into this obsession she sees monkeys on a blanket, and scold them. That’s right kiddo, “no more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

    She IS learning! And this is living! These are the transcendent moments of parenthood, and I was missing it all before.

  64. @linvo: On letting babies cry. We went through all sorts of h*ll with our first; we finally figured out that the best thing for her was to scream herself to sleep. She’d scream at the top of her lungs for 20 minutes, and then flip a switch and go to sleep and sleep for 8 hours.

    No brain damage there; after 14 years she’s now a year ahead of her age group in school and in advanced math to boot. I know anecdotal evidence is not worth much but some studies should never see the light of day.

    Our second was completely different; he’d just get tired and go to sleep, and sleep like a rock.

  65. Agreed Yan! Each child is different, but they really need routines and well-rested parents…our son had chronic ear infections the first 6 months and I was a nursing mom basket-case…finally he turned a corner and the doc said he won’t need tubes and we knew that his ears had healed and he was just used to the attention at night. Though it was hard, and he screamed for hours, it worked like a charm

  66. By the way, I linked this post to a Facebook post from a friend of mine, who admitted he’d started posting advice on parental forums, though he’s not a parent himself. He does, however, hold a PhD in the study of early infant development, and answering a question about ‘The best activities for cognitive development for a 1-2 year old’ basically said, there’s no secret to it at all, they’re a baby, not a corporate asset and just keep playing, talking and singing with them, and enjoying them like a normal baby!

  67. All of these great jobs are mentioned. Why am I still looking? I have recent baby experience, have worked for the same family for 6 years, great references and believe independence is an important skill for all kids to learn. Oh, wait. The recent baby experience is from my own 1 and 3 year olds. I keep getting responses from people who are interested, but want me to spend most of what I’d make to get other childcare arrangements for my kids so that their child is the only one I’m with. I understand the concerns this new mom must be worried about. I felt it with my own little ones and having met many other nannies I must admit I’d be hesitant to hire someone without recent baby experience either (6 years ago or less would count for me though). Some nannies are very good (as it sounds like yours has been) but many just stick with what they know and don”t try to adapt to the new family. At least one third of a nanny’s job is to support and encourage the parents. If anyone is looking for someone with all of the above qualifications and doesn’t mind my well-behaved kids becoming friends with their kids I’m here!

  68. My grandmother raised two daughters, was nanny/housekeeper for a family for many years and occasionally babysat my sister and I. If I was a new mother, there’s no one I’d trust more. In spite of her baby experience being so hopelessly out of date. 😛 lol

  69. You sound wonderful Michelle! Let people know where you live and maybe they will contact you! Gee, blogging as a job referral site! Chris

  70. My kids are high-strung and needed help calming down or they would scream for hours (we tried it a few times). Not a good strategy for our family. We cosleep and everyone gets more sleep all around.

    But according to the “experts” cosleeping will also kill/emotionally cripple your child, so there is no winning, I guess.

  71. My job-search only e-mail is and I can live anywhere! Currently near the Indiana/Kentucky line.

  72. Sad memories for me recalling how I was with my son when I brought him home from Asia as a six-month-old infant. So terrified was I of doing things “wrong,” that I ended up becoming an anxiety-and-rage basket case over small things like the feeding of sweet potato purée. The ped we had back then had all kinds of dubious advice, tutted over the low percentiles of his weight and height, and kept advising me to get more tablespoonfuls into the kid. Seriously, I weep to think of how stressed, angry, and unjoyful I was as I was feeding this kid. The fact that he’ll have anything to do with me 10 years later is a blessing.

    In the name of “right way,” there is so much pain and stress and suffering.

    I like this Rumi quote:

    “Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

  73. @Havva: I still remember trying to force feed my first child, because the pediatrician thought she was not gaining enough weight. Up until then, she was a perfectly happy baby, and I was perfectly happy breastfeeding her, while having her munching on anything we found in the fridge.
    But one fateful day, her weight fell under her usual 25 percentile. Her pediatrician very solemnly warned me that if she didn’t gain enough weight to place her on that line again in two weeks… And that’s it. He left the phrase suspended, and as a new mum, I finished it in my mind with all the horrors imaginable.
    I panicked, bought some formula for the first time and every size of bottle and nipple I could get my hands on. And tried to get the poor kid to swallow that stuff by any means. She cried, I cried…
    And I concluded by ditching that otherwise fine doctor and finding myself one I’m comfortable with.

  74. The crying thing. Oh my. To me, this is just common sense, but then, I have to remember that I grew up around babies, and nowadays that’s not typical.

    1) Babies cry. Even the most loved babies do it.

    2) Babies who can self-soothe cry less.

    3) Some babies need a little push to learn self-soothing. (Just like they need to learn that other things can’t always go their way.)

    4) Sleep is good for babies.

    Ya know, there are a lot of babies/toddlers who will throw a FIT over having their diapers changed. Does that mean changing diapers causes brain damage? Then what’s different about sleep? I’ll tell ya. Sleep is good for the mama as well as the baby. Shame on any parent who wants to do anything that’s good for the mama.

    When I became friends with an Asian immigrant decades ago, I made the observation that Asian-American tots seem to do an awful lot of tantruming, relatively. She agreed and noted that it’s in the culture to spoil kids as a way of showing them how loved they are, so they’d never feel like there was anything to worry about. Well. All that screaming suggested to me that someone may have missed the mark. … Now this friend occasionally accuses me of being to “mean” to my kids because I don’t put up with certain things. My kids are going to end up miserable and hateful because I’m not raising them the Asian way. Hmm. I just remind her about all the crying / screaming / tantruming we did NOT experience over the past 5 years. I point out how the girls are giggling themselves numb and coming up with new schemes all the time. How energetically they embrace learning. How many things they feel confident to do. She remains skeptical. Oh, well. Can’t please everyone.

  75. Lola — I had a doctor raise the specter of Cystic Fibrosis the FIRST TIME my #3 lost percentile ground at a weigh-in. The fact of the matter was I probably wasn’t producing milk well, due to not taking good care of myself and having in a mild case of baby blues from adjusting to #3, so supplementing did turn out to be the right thing to do, but nevertheless I found a new doctor. For a doctor to suggest that a baby should be tested for CF if she doesn’t gain enough weight in the next weigh-in with no family history and no other indicators is just mind-blowingly irresponsible. Funny thing, that doctor WAS arrested a few years later for trading sex for pain med Rxs. He was actually acquitted of the sex charges but convicted on the bad scrips.

  76. @Lolla and @mollie, in addition to the previously mentioned sleep/I’m a terrible mom desperation. I have also had the low weight gain issue running in the back ground. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I forced the pediatrician to finish the “If she hasn’t gained enough weight sentence.” I’m not sure I particularly like the modern method of medicine they are practicing (and I have had some minor freakouts about it before), but I have a lot of support in not letting it scare me: including a pediatric nurse/lactation consultant who saw me and my daughter bi-weekly for nearly a year (as my nursing mom’s group leader), my dad who is an MD, and my mom who is a Physical Therapist. To a lesser extent all the daycare ladies I shared the doctors comments with who said my daughter eats a ton and is active all day. All of these people tell me repeatedly that my daughter is doing great and they are certain that there is nothing wrong with her.

    On a counter example also oddly re-assuring. Our first daycare provider force fed our daughter trying to get her to drink the recommended amounts. My girl puked repeatedly from that miss-treatment. So I know she really can’t eat more. And so glad we got out.

  77. My daughter was like Krista’s. She simply would not cry it out. Tried twice. She screamed as if being murdered the entire night. Literally. Absolutely frantic, blood-curdling screams for as long as I’d let her cry. I do think she wore herself out for about a half hour at one point but otherwise it was countless hours of screaming. I stopped listening to or reading any “expert” advice at that point and followed my kid’s lead.

    So a person who was adamantly opposed to co-sleeping before I had children became a cosleeper. And everyone was content and well rested. She happily moved to her own bed at a little over a year and has remained there ever since. She sleeps without me at other people’s houses and is perfectly independent.

    Everyone is much better at parenting if you let the preconceived notions – both those imposed on yourself and those suggested by the “experts” – go and just do what flows naturally and works for your family. Kids are not all the same so there is no reason to believe that parenting them could possibly be the same. Continuing to push a square peg into a round hole because it is “what must be done” just makes everyone miserable.

  78. In my area, you really can’t get a job as a nanny unless you are Infant CPR certified, worked as a nanny for an infant recently and point out several over-sensitive things related to infants during the interview (i.e. when you show up for the interview, immediately ask to wash your hands and recommend a high number of safety precautions you notice in the home, ask where the purified water is located for mixing the formula etc.). It’s way overkill IMO. I have hired summer nannies for my kids and I care about how they react with my kids and how intelligent they seem (not how much they can memorize and regurgitate about baby safety). Good luck to your friend, it’s tough finding any job in this economy it seems.

  79. “2) Babies who can self-soothe cry less.”

    Actually, babies who’s needs are consistently met no matter what time of day or night cry much less. Only in our “civilized” society is it considered normal to put our babies in a crib in another room and into various baby devices to keep them entertained so we can have time to ourselves. MOST of the world believe in carrying their babies in wraps around them all day and sleeping with them at night. Studies have shown that in these civilizations colic is practically unheard of and babies rarely/never cry for anything because their mothers can anticipate their needs. They go about their work with the baby strapped to them and the babies still grow up completely fine and independent.

  80. Oh, and in these cultures they did a study where the mothers were shown videos of american babies crying it out and they were all shocked and horrified. This is just NOT natural motherly instinct to not meet a babies needs when crying. It’s how they communicate. They will learn to shut down and know their needs will not be consistently met and give up. But that’s not the natural way, as shown in the majority of the world’s civilizations and even in our our own past time. It wasn’t until so called “experts” in the 1900s started saying that mothers should do this did it become popular. But it is not based on the old history of our culture or any other worldwide.

  81. Jen, I did not say babies who are abandoned to scream cry less. I said babies who can self-soothe. Some babies are born with that ability, and some develop it as a part of being close to their mom. Some, however, are a pain in the booty until they are shown that they will survive a brief separation from their parent.

    If you want to wear your baby everywhere, and you are able to (e.g., not a single working mom etc.), more power to you. This may or may not be best for your child; only you can tell. (My kid could not sleep in my bed, but slept great in her crib. Whatever works.) I’m talking about chronic situations where a parent and child are not sleeping enough because the child is demanding attention at times when she should be asleep. Sleep training works very quickly for the majority of kids, saving tears and improving health and family life for all involved. I really don’t care if some women in other cultures don’t like it.

    As for the horrors of American parenting – I can recall, when younger, being rather surprised and concerned by the sight of babies being worn on backs, flopping around and staring listlessly as their mom went about her business of farm work or whatever. I also know that in some developing cultures, babies don’t cry because they’ve learned from day one that it won’t do them any good. Some cultures will cover a crying infant’s mouth and nose to teach it not to cry. So be careful of making assumptions just based on a snapshot.

  82. @sk1 – was really interested to hear about your experience with an Asian mum. My experience is actually the opposite, i.e. the Asian kids I know are better behaved than average, and are not allowed to get away with much. Except for the sleeping thing – my eldest spent a few months in his first year of life in Malaysia/Singapore, in a couple of trips, and because everyone lives so very close together I couldn’t let him cry it out, as that would have woken the whole neighbourhood….

    Guess it’s who you know….

  83. You honestly believe the same mothers who “smother” their infants to teach them not to cry would be horrified at seeing american mothers leaving their baby alone in a crib? Common sense should tell you this would not be the case. :/ I’m not saying there are not a few cultures out there who subscribe to unnatural philosophies, as well. I’m simply saying that history shows us that the majority of mothers over time meet their infants needs and do not allow them to cry unnecessarily. Their infants DO NOT learn crying does no good – that would be the cry it out method they are horrified at seeing. If they let their babies cry until they knew their needs would not be met, then they would not be horrified at seeing our western moms do it, LOL – again common sense. 🙂 Their infants never HAVE to cry because they are always secure with mother and are offered the breast on demand. Cry it out is a fairly recent western philosophy. And I do feel bad for single working moms. But again, in other cultures there are many aunts and grandmothers around to care for the baby, as well. So if you can find a nanny or relative who believes in consistently meeting your babies needs, then that should help.

  84. sk1, I was also surprised by your experience with Asian kids. I don’t think it’s the culture as a whole, at least. I lived over in Asia for 7 years and in my experience young Asian kids are normally better behaved than most American kids I’ve come across. (But it is true their mothers do not allow their babies to cry it out. It’s just not considered normal there, from my experience. But I don’t consider that to be catering or spoiling. Just meeting babies needs.) But like all cultures there are variations, so maybe your friend is extreme the other way when it comes to discipline?

  85. Hineata, I would limit my comment to little kids. After about age 6 or so, the Asian kids I know are at least not more crabby than average around here. (This is the “Midwest” USA where young kids are not generally allowed to get away with as much as is tolerated in some regions.)

    I could give many examples as I’ve been involved with the Asian-American community for years and have traveled a bit in Asia as well. The idea of helping children feel secure via indulgence may sound logical, but my experience has been the opposite. Boundaries combined with love and encouragement seem to make a child feel most secure, in my experience.

    The whole sleep thing can really complicate a mom’s life if she lets it. A mom friend from India has a 5-year-old child who cannot sleep apart from her. This means that for 5+ years, this woman has not been allowed to entertain company or do anything else after her child’s bedtime. Some may say that is natural bla bla bla, but I say a brief attempt at sleep training 4+ years ago might have been a good investment for all involved. Maybe if this mom didn’t live with her mother-in-law and feel pressured by Indian norms, she would have liked to give sleep training a try.

  86. Gina, I’m sure there are regional differences in Asia as well as in the USA. I’m intentionally not being too specific about the origin of the people I’m talking about – internet anonymity and all that. I’m not so much concerned about the region as the philosophy of indulgence -> security/happiness; at least around here, it doesn’t actually work that way.

  87. Jen, I don’t “honestly believe” there was an unbiased study involving horrified moms looking at screaming babies and being told that this is how American kids are managed. Jen, I wonder if you have children and if so, whether they have ever cried.

    I do have a sister who never cried unless you practically starved her (back in the day when the wisdom said crying was good for their lungs). She was kind of a wimp, so maybe that was why – or maybe she was just wired to be an easy baby. She didn’t have to be sleep trained or carried around or any of that. I had a brother who would scream if you ever put him down, and another brother who hated to be picked up unless he was hungry. Depending on what day you videotaped our family, you might collect evidence that babywearing is necessary, or that it is torture, or that it does not matter at all. Hmm.

  88. There is a huge Asian population in American Samoa and I have yet to meet a single Asian kid who is prone to tantrums. In fact, the only tantrumy kids here are the palagis (white). The Asians and Samoans are very well behaved.

    And Samoans also all cosleep, often until the children get married and move out of their parents home. Cribs are not even sold on the island. I haven’t seen any bouncey chairs or swings either. Strollers are available but not frequently used. Slings also are unheard of. People mostly just carry the baby in their arms. There are large families to hold the baby constantly.

  89. I have no doubt that Samoan, for example, mothers would be horrified by films of babies crying it out. This is a culture without a word for crib and who traditionally live in houses without walls (try letting your baby cry it out in a house without walls without your neighbors killing you).

    I’m also fairly certain that most of us would be bothered by films of 30 year old Samoan men sharing a “bed” (mat on the floor) with their mothers. In fact, most of us are probably not jumping to give up our beds and tear down our walls.

    Another culture being horrified by people doing something extremely foreign to them is not an indication that what is being done is wrong. It is simply a different way of living.

  90. Crazy–if you follow the daughter-in-law’s desire to its logical conclusion, she wants someone who lost or left her job within a year or so? Crazy. And is the grandma who goes along with this not to be allowed to babysit because her baby experience is 40 years ago?

    I have just the opposite approach when it comes to the “new” theories, equipment, etc. when it comes to my almost four-year-old. I turned up my skepticism and usually asked my brother’s wife if she had/needed/recommended such a thing. Her three kids are in their early to mid-20s, so anything that hasn’t been around at least that long I figure is unnecessary (she’d never heard of a “toddler bed” for instance, which is what convinced me they were just a conspiracy by the furniture companies to buy our kids three beds when two would suffice).

  91. Mrs. H, I totally agree about the furniture company conspiracy! The baby industry has turned me in to a conspiracy theorist.

  92. The basics of parenting are never going to change…ever. However new the technology is, babies are gonna grow just the way they are supposed to be. They love and care of someone so experienced like Joan can never be replaced by someone who read few blogs and knows how to order pizza using her phone!

  93. I can sortof see the point of the DIL… but only sort of. I have a 8 month old and my MILs youngest is 25. MIL feels that we needed to start my daughter off with rice cereal from the start, that breastmilk wasn’t enough, that we needed toys in the crib and to cover her with a blanket at night, that we must, must, must have shoes on my daughter’s feet to learn to walk. MIL was also surprised to learn that the doctor allowed us to feed Shannon real food at 6 months when she was made to wait until 8 with her daughter, that Shannon was a girl when her heartbeat clearly indicated that it would be a boy at the first doctor’s visit. We hurt her feelings by not using a 25 year old crib.

    In other words, some baby experience is needed- some keeping up on current findings. But at the same time, I ask myself what feels right for my daughter- toys with no batteries feel more right more often. Co-sleeping works for us.

  94. I do have children, sk1 – 8 in fact, LOL. They have cried when sick or hurt, but other than that, they really haven’t ever felt the need, I guess. I babywear and cosleep and my babies are always with me or their daddy. It’s not a burden to us. Just a way of life, like it is for many others. I know there’s no way of you observing and seeing for yourself so you’ll just have to take the word of a stranger online, LOL, but my kids are all secure, unusually compassionate and loving towards others, selfless, friendly, and self sufficient. They are the first ones to volunteer to do stuff and help others out. They really are compassionate kids. I don’t proclaim to say this is solely because of the way they were treated as babies, but there are a few studies out there that have shown that babies that don’t ever lack for their needs being met – and this includes emotional needs of simply wanting to be with others ( a basic human tendency that some train out of their babies) and not alone in a crib – tend to have less emotional/relationship issues as adults and they do tend to be more loving and compassionate towards others. Look at the Samoan society Donna mentioned, as an example. My husband has been among their people, as well, and he told me they are some of the friendliest, loving people he has ever met. I know that letting a baby cry it out will not ruin them for life. Babies are resilient. But I do believe in good, better, best. I personally do believe that it is best that they are not left alone to cry it out. I personally do not believe it’s a natural response to ignore a babies cry. It is solely based on years of experts telling us it’s necessary. Do some research on the beginnings of the cry it out method. Mother’s were told not to hold their babies too much or they would be spoiled and to let them cry it out or they would grow up to be dependent on their mother and never be OK alone. Umm…. Yet for centuries this was not the case? And in other cultures this is not the case? I have to wonder what these early generations of mothers were thinking, LOL. Here’s an article discussing the history of it:

  95. @jen, I really wish you would stop Mommy Warring with those moms whose children have their own rooms and who chose to use cribs for sleeping. What worked for you is great; but it may not work for everyone, and making different choices doesn’t mean we love, care for, and nurture our children less.

  96. It definitely does not mean those who choose cry it out don’t love their children just as much, but it’s a simple FACT that a mother who responds to their baby’s cries IS nurturing her baby more than a mother who ignores them, no matter how often they do. :/

  97. Jen, I was going to stay out of the debate but you are WRONG about “it’s a simple FACT that a mother who responds to their baby’s cries IS nurturing her baby more than a mother who ignores them, no matter how often they do. :/” I did the attachment parenting and attending to every cry my oldest made. My attention prevented him from sleeping in the manner *he* needed and actually effected his development. When I learned to let him fuss for a few minutes he started getting the sleep he needed to develop properly. Letting him fuss was NOT ignoring his cries or not nurturing him. It was attending to and nurturing his needs. Every child is different, even within the same family (my daughter was the opposite of my son when it came to sleeping needs). You have no right to accuse those who have found what works for you doesn’t work for them of nurturing their children less than you do yours.

  98. It’s not just what works for “me”. It works for entire civilizations! There are many cultures where cribs and crying it out are unheard of! Yet their babies develop just fine. Your argument makes no sense. I seriously doubt you were preventing him from developing properly if you were TRULY practicing attachment parenting whole heartedly. Did you keep him next to you while he slept always – either wearing him or sleeping next to him? Did you just matter of factly take him where ever you went day and night and were peaceful and happy? If you had resentment or frustration it could be he was picking up on that. (Which I’m guessing you did since you went from attachment parenting to CIO.) In situations like that, a baby WILL be happier once the mother is happier. I’m not blaming you or anyone else. I’m just saying it’s part of the western culture and that I PERSONALLY do not believe it’s the best way to parent babies.

  99. Jen, actually in claiming that attachment parenting didn’t work for us *because* I wasn’t TRULY practicing attachment parenting (something I was doing by the way) you *are* blaming me and you are wrong. You also fail to differentiate between letting a child cry some and ignoring them while they cry indefinitely. They are very different. I’m sorry you are so opinionated that you can’t differentiate between the two but your judgmental attitude does not change what is true for my family.

  100. I from Asia and recently move to America. Customs very different here. In Asia you a good mommy if baby wants to be with you all the time. In America you good mommy if baby is good not being with you. Very different. I have friends who say older children not listening to values. I wonder if they taught independence too young. 😦

  101. Heather G, In a lot of cultures letting a baby cry without responding is considered not nurturing and not natural. 😦 I’m sure you are doing what you feel is best for your family. I’m sure you are a kind, loving mother. Please try to understand that I’m not trying to attack you personally. I’m attacking western culture. I’m sure that if you had been taught your whole life that it was cruel to allow a baby to cry it out and you knew no one who EVER did that, you probably wouldn’t have considered it as an option for your little guy. I’m sad that a few so called “experts” changed a whole civilizations way of doing things that had worked for centuries and left tiny babies alone in cribs crying for their mothers who will not come to them. ;(

  102. Jen, you are currently being nasty, so it is hard for me to believe you are by nature more nurturing than most American moms.

    Sometimes some babies/small children need to be alone and sometimes they need to sleep. Making that happen is attending to their needs. It is hard to imagine that you had 8 children and not one of them ever preferred to be alone. Also, how mean of you to dump the first 7 in favor of their younger siblings after first teaching them that they owned you 24/7. But if that’s really true for you, and it worked for you, fine for you. It says nothing about what others should do. I can list a lot of things you probably did not do and then say that’s probably why my kids are smart and well-behaved. I could say you cared less for your kids because you didn’t do those things. Then I might sound as intelligent as you are sounding right now.

    Whole cultures have done it? Whooptie doo. Whole cultures have practiced / accepted female infanticide – should I copy that too? (These happen to be cultures that practice the kind of parenting you describe as being best, by the way – once they decide who gets to live.) I’d say leaving a little girl to starve to death on a garbage pile is a little worse than letting her cry for a few minutes in a crib. But maybe I’m just too uneducated to understand your superior world view.

    By the way, my kids were great sleepers (in their own beds). I never had to resort to a “method” to “sleep train” them. I was very lucky. So no, I don’t need to defend a “horrible” choice that I made. I’m defending my right as a parent to make that choice (or not) without nasty people interfering.

  103. Jen, you are correct that Samoans are kind, generous people. I’ve never met a nicer culture overall. They are also piss poor parents as far as most people here would be concerned. Sure they sleep with their babies and tote them everywhere, but that alone doesn’t make good parents. They also don’t play with their babies or children. At all!!! And infancy is really the only time the kids get much parental attention. After that someone else – older sibling, cousin, grandmother – often becomes the primary care giver. Many kids don’t even interact at all with their biological parents. They’ve been farmed out, occasionally to couples who wanted a child but couldn’t have one, but often to relatives who NEED that sex child – sex roles are very defined and you need boys to do boy work and girls to do girl work. Playgrounds and other forms of entertainment for kids are virtually non-existent because enriching childhood with play is as foreign to the culture as cribs. Kids are meant to aid the family by doing chores, not jump on trampolines. Samoans are VERY heavy-handed with physical discipline. And a large portion don’t bother to send their kids to school or attempt to educate them in anything other than fa Samoan (Samoan way of life).

    This is ALL very common in traditional cultures. The Western world has moved beyond it in many ways and is better for it. In some ways, I think we have moved too far in catering to the child but, in general, Western parenting is better.

    You want to pick and choose what to take from traditional cultures and then define THAT as the reason kids are ________. And that is not always true. For example, babies and children in Samoa don’t cry and tantrum much because they are beaten if they do, not because they sleep with their parents and are carried everywhere.

    American Samoa is an interesting blend of traditional and western cultures. Some families live strictly traditional, some are very western. ALL are extremely friendly so it is not the level of westernness that defines that. But it is very interesting to see the differences and see what the Samoans take from our culture and the impact of western laws on Samoan culture.

  104. Hey Jen, I didn’t even mention crying or crying it out or responding to a baby’s needs. I was referring specifically and only to your disdain for mothers whose children have a bedroom and a crib.

  105. Jen, the only thing OBVIOUS and FACTUAL about your posts is that you like to stoke the fires of the mommy wars. Quit it. You are being a bully.

  106. I have a question about attachment parenting, and it’s a serious one (I’m not flaming, at all). If your baby or children are with you every minute of every day, either being worn or in the same bed as the parents, how on earth do you have sex (and the poster above had 8 kids?)? Or is that something you just hold off on until…what age?

    This is the thing that confuses me the most, because I really can’t imagine doing “it” with a child in bed with me.

  107. Beth, I didn’t practice attachment parenting but most people I know who share beds with children do “it” someplace else. I had a cosleeping coworker once who complained that she just wanted to one day be able to have sex in her own bed again.

  108. Regarding sex and cosleeping.

    Honestly, when the babes are still very little we let them sleep on one side of the bed and we engage in the other side. We’re on a queen and there’s enough room. Most of the cosleeping families do this but won’t talk about it because it’s so highly looked down upon in our society. If baby wakes up we stop.

    And on a funny note, every family has sex with a baby in bed; it’s called pregnancy. And an in-utero baby is much closer to the action than a baby on the other side of the bed.

  109. @beth: Thanks for the chuckle. I’ve often wondered that myself. You either have to send your kids out during the day (one benefit of free range kids I guess) or just be really quiet?

  110. But how can you do it someplace else if the whole point of attachment parenting is to have your baby with you during all waking hours as well, in a sling on your body?

  111. Beth, having coslept with one for over a year we wait until she is sound asleep and take our activities into another room. It requires some creativity and a whole lot of quiet because the other child is in a nearby bedroom and wakes at the slightest sound. Where there is a will there is a way within your comfort level.

    Anonymous, I love your honesty. Your point about sex and pregnancy is dead on and the exact reason why my husband just couldn’t while I was pregnant with our oldest. He just couldn’t get past the idea that his son was *right there* during our interludes. I’m not sure if it was watching “Look Who’s Talking” too many times or the fact that his parents never had the talk with him but he was weirded out about the whole thing.

  112. Thanks for the somewhat explanations; I don’t really understand but it’s quite possible I don’t understand every facet of attachment parenting.

    But @Anonymous…sorry. I don’t equate having sex in front of a 3-year-old who could wake up at any moment with having sex while pregnant.

  113. @Beth-

    Did I say anything about have sex with a 3-year-old in bed?

  114. @jen.. I also need to jump in and say how hurtful you are being to other mothers. The manner in which you have spoken is incredibly painful to mothers who have tried practicing attachment parenting, to the best of their ability, and had it backfire on them in horrible ways.

    I suspect if you really knew me and my daughter, and saw what we went through, you would understand. Perhaps you would have been one of the voices I ignored who begged me to take care of myself, to put the baby down and walk away. You certainly would have seen how it changed both our lives for the better when I loosened my emotional grip and showed her to do the same. You almost said it yourself. You said that attachment parenting doesn’t work when mom isn’t able to be “peaceful and happy.”

    Well LOTS of moms can’t do it. Studies show 12-20% of new moms get postpartum depression. More still suffer from baby blues. I don’t know which I was, but I was there. I can’t share in words the visceral hell of loving a baby and being constantly afraid you would break it. Of looking at your baby and seeing only fear. Remember your own words about unhappy mothers. “In situations like that, a baby WILL be happier once the mother is happier.” Remember that mothers “in situations like that” are all around you.

    When you hammer random strangers who found a few minutes of crying did a world of good for them AND their baby. You bully unseen mothers for whom attachment parenting is failing. Mothers starring into that abyss.

    “A baby WILL be happier once the mother is happier,” is the ultimate bottom line. We all need to care for ourselves in order to care for our children. Start there, end there. In between share your experience honestly and gently. Anything else is just mommy wars and bullying.

  115. I apologize everyone is taking my comments personally. 😦 I am honestly just referring to western culture in general. Not to anyone here. It’s sad no one can make that connection, but I will regress since no one seems to be able to. 😦 It just LITERALLY breaks my heart to see or think of babies being left alone to cry in any circumstance where someone is able to comfort them. ;(

    sk1 – We homeschooled and all my children had my attention through their growing up years. You wear the baby in the wrap while you are reading to the 2 year old (who is also sitting on your lap) or teaching a history lesson or reading aloud to everyone or playing a board game. It works great and everyone is happy. Definitely no “dumping” here, LOL. 🙂 You can easily give multiple children attention at once. 🙂 (You mentioned, I think, that you had at least 2 children, so I assume you can give them both attention at once, right? Like playing a game together or reading aloud to them. Same thing.) 😉

  116. As much as it hurts to hear it, jen is correct. Western culture does dictate a more self centered attitude about babies. How many times have you heard, “Just because I have children doesn’t mean I don’t deserve my own life.” That is a bit self centered, truth be told. Why in our society is PPD and other baby blues SO HIGH? And yet in culture where baby is an appendage of mother for the first year or so after birth it is almost nonexistent. It is a very real thing and attachment parenting won’t happen well if it is untreated. But perhaps it happens so much and cry it out seems an easy solution because of the way our culture is more self centered. Perhaps if having babies attached to us 24/7 was the norm, we wouldn’t always be trying to fight against it. Also, I read through jen’s posts and I don’t believe she ever attacked any one person. She was speaking of the western society in general. It was you folks that took it personally and shamefully began attacking her.

  117. I’m surprised how much everyone is attacking jen. She’s stated multiple times that this is a “personal opinion” and that she is speaking of western society in GENERAL. Why is everyone being so mean to her? We all have different opinions and should feel free to share them. Let’s behave like adults, people.

  118. Take the PPD and attachment parenting connection with a grain of salt. After my first, my son, I had horrific PPD to the point where my hubby would stay home from work some night s(he worked nights) because he was afraid I would hurt our son. That kid was the most attachment-parenting kid you could see. We continued with the AP model because even though my PPD was awful it still worked better than the alternative. But just because you AP doesn’t mean you’re immune to PPD.

    In those countries that practice AP they usually also have intrinsic support systems for the new moms. They don’t have the nuclear family model where the new mom is expected to take care of a newborn and a household and do it all herself.

  119. Well, sure, attacking my culture and my country is no reflection on me at all.

    “Self-centered” comes to mind when I think of women who believe their child can’t possibly be OK if separated from them for any length of time.

    For Heaven’s sake. I guess all the babies in orphanages should be promptly disposed of, since they are screwed anyway.

  120. jen and Henry, when I am told that attachment parenting didn’t work for my son because I didn’t do it right, with no knowledge of what I did or didn’t do, after saying that not doing what jen says is correct is less nurturing, again with no knowledge of what was done or why, is not addressing western society it is making it personal to me. Funny thing is that by all other measures, including my daughter’s sleeping arrangements, I would be considered an attachment parent. We cosleep with her because it works for her. My son needed more than 3 hours of sleep, if you add together all the five minute dozes, a day. Babywearing and cosleeping actually kept him awake. Attending to him as soon as he started wimpering kept him awake. He would only fall asleep after fussing, which lasted for less than five minutes, and would only stay asleep where there weren’t sounds or movements (even as small as my breathing) that startled him awake. You can insist that we did something wrong or that I was resentful or unhappy or any number of excuses to lay the blame somewhere other than it just didn’t address my individual child’s needs. You can imply I’m a selfish parent because of my western ways. You can claim that people are upset simply because your truth hurts. Just because you say it doesn’t make it true. The absolute refusal to accept that letting a child cry for a few minutes is not the same as ignoring a child while they scream indefinitely is an example of the all or nothing attitude that many here are objecting to.

    You two might not like to hear it but what works for one family or one child does not work for everyone. Even in societies that traditionally practice parts of what is known in the western world as attachment parenting not all practice it the same way nor practice all the elements that we attribute to the overall method of parenting. Donna gave a great example.

    I will absolutely argue with those who say that attachment parenting is wrong or dangerous just as I will argue with those who say the opposite. As parents it is our responsibility to make decisions for our families based on the needs of the individual family members not on what society, western or otherwise, dictates.

  121. “And yet in culture where baby is an appendage of mother for the first year or so after birth it is almost nonexistent.”

    Mental health treatment is virtually nonexistent in these cultures so of course there is no diagnosed PPD!!!!!

    Mental health care in American Samoa consists of 2 beds in the “hospital” for emergency care only. If you need long-term care, you are civilly committed to the freaking JAIL. That’s it. There are no mental health facilities at all. Some serious mental illnesses can be dealt with on an outpatient basis with a supportive family, but antidepressants aren’t prescribed or available (except for those in the 2 beds or civilly committed).

    And the culture dictates that you don’t seek treatment for things like depression, PPD or baby blues. They don’t expect to be happy all the time. In fact, you are unlikely to get treatment at all unless (a) you are a danger to yourself or (b) you get arrested for a crime. Even schizophrenics are just accepted as the crazy man down the road.

    Some of you really need to take off the rose-colored glasses about these traditional cultures. I think you really need to leave your comfortable western homes and spend some real time in some of these cultures before you start trying to convince people that PPD doesn’t exist because they spend 24/7 with their babies and babies are well-behaved because they spend 24/7 with their parents. There is a lot more going on in these cultures and a lot more contributing factors.

  122. @Anonymous, I thought in attachment parenting kids did not have their own beds, and jen, for one, has been quite derisive of kids in a separate room. No? If I’m wrong, I apologize. That’s what I was trying to determine – the logistics of having sex as your children get older.

  123. I love the story, but I must say that to take one story of one misguided mom-to-be and make a headline “The New Nanny Norm” is dangerously close to mainstream media’s habit of taking one bad thing happening to one kid and making it an epidemic.

  124. Beth, in everything I’ve read the “attachment” part of attachment parenting is meaning to be emotionally attached to your child, however best that happens. Children are individuals and need individualized attention. Some kids sleep better with their parents, some sleep better in their own rooms, but the epitome of AP is listening to the child.

    That doesn’t mean giving into the child in everything. It’s not in the child’s best interest to raise them as a brat. But many AP parents (myself included) have found gentler means (aka, no spanking) to work for discipline. A lot of AP parents also have different timelines for milestones. For example, mainstream parents might agree that babies need to be in their own beds by 3 months but AP parents might give int 3 years (or more), but each family expects their child to eventually leave their bed. Another example is mainstream parents might agree that all children should be weaned by a year while AP parents will allow their children to nurse 1+ years, but everyone expects the children to be weaned by college. 😉

  125. Yeah, I was also wondering if the parents in question planned to fire their nanny when the baby became a toddler, in favour of someone with “recent toddler experience,” and then go looking for someone with “recent preschooler experience” when the child turned three or so. As for the idea of putting the child in a day care centre with specialists for each age group, well, clearly THAT’S no good for these parents, because there are *gasp* OTHER CHILDREN there, and their little Pwecious won’t get all the attention that he or she needs. By the way, insider tip–most babies don’t remember their nannies. My mom was a college professor (art history) until she was pregnant with my brother (she had to quit and stay at home full time because she had a difficult pregnancy, and then my brother had health problems), and during the first two or three years of my life, I apparently had some pretty incompetent caregivers. The one I had when I was a baby ran into the basement when there was a tornado, and left my in my crib (my mom came and got me). She got fired, and I have no memory of the incident, and only a vague visual recollection of her. The one I had after that, would take me along while she did her shopping while my parents were paying her to take care of me, and I remember that, but I didn’t mind at the time, because I always got a treat out of the deal. My favourite was fluorescent Minnie Mouse stickers, I think. Anyway, she got fired too, because my parents noticed that I always wanted to go shopping, and I’d name specific stores I wanted to go to, that the nanny had taken me to (alarming, because I was three), and my parents didn’t like that she was “turning me into a mall rat.” Well, their fears were unfounded, because right now, I’m a grown woman with two university degrees, I’m not greedy or overly materialistic, and I don’t even really like shopping. So, my point is, kids are pretty resilient, and they won’t turn into mall rats, heroin addicts, or other undesirable things if they don’t spend every moment of their childhood in the care of experts.

  126. Emily, I think I turned out pretty good even though parents today would probably face charges for some of the practices my parents followed. When I was very small, my mom was a WAHM so we didn’t have a lot of babysitters, but when I was around 6-7, my parents hired the nearest teens to babysit over the summer. That wasn’t ideal, so the next summer (after a year of being latchkey children and surviving it) we were on our own. Our ages were about 6, 8, 10, and 12. A few summers later, we had a little brother to take care of without an adult present all day. I could tell you some scary stories about those days, but we all lived through them, grew up, and became productive members of society. I’ve seen some more “carefully raised” kids come out a lot worse.

  127. ^Yes, exactly. I mean, obviously, parents shouldn’t wash their hands of parenting by filling their kids up with sugary junk cereal, and then turning them loose to roam the neighbourhood, or worse, the Internet…..but, there’s a balance point, and I honestly believe that a little bit of junk food, free play, and trashy media (Hannah Montana, anyone?) is actually good for kids–if kids are allowed to make their own fun, they don’t expect to be entertained all the time. If kids are allowed a bit of unhealthy food as a treat, they won’t try to sneak it and compulsively pig out on it when their parents’ backs are turned (and, they’ll have something to trade during lunch at school), and if they’re allowed to partake in pop culture, then they’ll have something to talk about with the other kids. So, I think too much Montessori, baby Mozart, and micromanaging can have just as bad an effect as under-parenting. If I ever have kids, and if I was ever looking for a nanny/babysitter/whatever for them, then I’d pick the “take the kids to the park, and build mattress forts with them at home” kind of person, than the unattainable ideal that the woman in this story seems to want.

  128. Those of you who associate non-attachment parenting with self-centeredness might stop to consider that some of us believe it is *in the child’s interest* to learn to self-soothe, function a bit more separately from the parent, and so forth. That said, while I don’t believe AP is really the best option, I do not have a big problem with those who do it NOR do I automatically attribute bad motives to those who think it is right.

    No doubt there are non-attachment parents who shove the kid away for purely selfish reasons. And no doubt there are people who practice AP by default because they’re lazy and it’s easier than training their young children to function without them for a few minutes at a time. Neither should be *assumed* to be the reason people choose either path. We really should be able to have this discussion without assuming that everyone who takes a different path is selfish, lazy, or whatever other vice we might wish to attribute, in order to simplify things in our own minds.

  129. Emily, just one quibble with that last comment:

    “the unattainable ideal that the woman in this story seems to want.”

    It’s not an “unattainable ideal”, it’s a kind of uptight, over-professionalized, common-sense rejecting person I wouldn’t want as primary caregiver for my kids for more than about five minutes. I don’t think it’s going to ruin my kids, but I get a bit put out when some other helicopter mom starts worrying about my kids in irrelevant ways “for me.” I wouldn’t be settling for “less than ideal” were I to be in the market for a nanny and not hire someone who fit this woman’s model, I’d be running the other way as fast as possible if someone like that showed up. Even calling it an “ideal” is missing the point that there’s nothing “ideal” at all about this approach.

  130. To those are are for cry it out methods: People used to hit kids with a belt when they misbehaved in order to teach them to behave. This was a widely acceptable practice and they survived. People used to make kids sit in a corner with a dunce hat on when they didn’t learn their lessons to make them study harder. This was a widely acceptable practice and they survived. People used to regularly wash kids mouth’s out with soap when they said bad words. This was a widely acceptable practice and they survived. Now people ignore their babies cries in order to teach them to self sooth. This is a widely acceptable practice and they survive. But as a society it is possible that some folks are getting to a certain point of enlightenment and consider ignoring a baby’s cries is perhaps cruel, as well, and that there are kinder ways to teach them, much like we’ve figured out kinder ways to teach kids in other aspects. You can have respectful, obedient kids without resorting to beating them, putting soap in their mouths, or humiliating them in front of others if you know how to do it. Likewise you can have a happy, well rested, baby without resorting to ignoring their cries. So don’t be too harsh on those here who disagree with ignoring a babies cries and even view it as a mild form of neglect. It could be in 50 years most people will, as well, as we grow wiser as a civilization.

  131. Good grief. Putting a child to sleep in his/her own room (has no one ever decorated a “nursery” prior to a baby’s birth?), in a crib or a bed, is NOT the same as ignoring its cries or refusing to meet its needs. It just isn’t.

  132. We’re not talking putting them asleep in their own room. We’re talking “crying it out” sleep training. When you put an infant to sleep anywhere and they become upset and you close the door and leave them there to cry until they go to sleep. Regardless of whether or not you “check in on them every 5 minutes”. If you have a baby who always happily and peacefully goes to sleep on their own then it’s not a problem. It’s when you let them “cry it out” is the issue that some people would say is rather mean and that there are kinder ways of dealing with. Sarah, Jen and a few others have advocated attachment parenting in the form of cosleeping over “cry it out” because many have said they tried AP but it didn’t work and they had to resort to cry it out. These mothers still felt they were AP, and maybe they were in many ways, but not answering your babies cries isn’t AP because you are neglecting their emotional needs. It would be like if my 5 year old son stole something. Meeting his need would be teaching him not to steal. I could do this by discussing with him why this wrong and then beating him with my belt, as many fathers did in the olden days. I could also do this by discussing why he did it, reading some scripture passages about honestly (we’re Christian), helping him go to the store and return the item, etc. Both methods teach the lesson of “I don’t want to do this again.” but the latter is much kinder. Likewise, if you have a baby who won’t sleep more than 3 hours a day you can ignore their cries and teach them to self sooth. Heather G said that her baby could not sleep being held, or with any noise and that’s fine. (I suspect you were dealing with a baby with sensory issues.) So you could try nursing him to sleep and laying them down nearby or even in a room by themselves if they are sensitive to noise. Whatever works as long as you aren’t letting him cry himself to sleep there are other ways of meeting his needs for sleep. As long as you are going to them at the first cry and not letting them cry them selves to sleep it is still AP. AP is all about meeting your children’s needs in a way they know you will always be there for them. Leaving them in a room alone to cry themselves to sleep does not enforce this lesson.

  133. Gee, Robert, so glad you know I didn’t try nursing him to sleep and laying him down. Oh wait, I did. It didn’t work. I’m also glad you know that my son doesn’t know that I will always be there for him. Oh wait, he does. This assertion that neglecting my child’s need for sleep by not attending to it the way *he* needed in favor of a method that people who have never met my child deem the only acceptable way is kind, enlightened or wise while doing the only thing that did help him is somehow cruel and neglectful is absurd. However if you can’t differentiate between allowing a few minutes of fussing from ignoring a child’s cries and neglecting their emotional needs I don’t expect that you are capable of understanding that you are not aware of every individual child’s needs nor how their parents have come to meet those needs.

  134. Robert, like I’ve said before, in my experience I see a lot more crying over the long term from babies who are not taught to self-soothe and go to sleep without continual parental attention. If crying is an indication of baby happiness, CIO babies must be happier on average over the long term. If crying is not an indication of baby happiness, then CIO should not be such a hot button.

    I think we ought to get rid of the loaded term “AP” which, to some people, really means “did I give up more of myself to my child than most parents do.”

    I also think perhaps some are missing the (in my opinion) obvious fact that most parents who sleep train are not ignoring their child’s cries at all. They are monitoring the cries closely and deciding whether the child is still OK and whether she’s adjusting or not to the new sleep-time practice. In all the “successful” CIO situations I’ve heard of, the babies never cried for an extended time period. 10-15 minutes seems to be the max in cases where the parent decided to continue the experiment for another day. The bedtime crying almost always decreases on the 2nd day and ends on the 3rd day. You may view this as “unkind” to the child, but I think it’s unkind to the mom to expect her to go for years upon years without a good night’s sleep, which is the case for many who are reluctant to try CIO. Also, the babies who are not sleeping are not benefiting from that at all. Lack of good sleep causes learning and behavior problems (and lots of crying!). I can’t honestly understand how some people think it’s more humane to let a child be sleep-deprived for years versus crying a little for a couple of nights. Sure, there are “gentler methods,” but they don’t always work. Usually these are tried prior to CIO and CIO is a last resort.

    People who actually leave their child to scream and ignore the cries night after night are not engaging in sleep training. If you can’t understand the difference, maybe you aren’t a parent.

  135. Fair point, Pentamom–“ideal” was the wrong choice of word, because I think that’s nuts too–I’ve babysat before, and I’ve always been firmly in the “mattress fort” camp, rather than the “uptight” camp–for example, when one of the kids needed to study his spelling words, but wanted to watch Powerpuff Girls instead, I compromised by quizzing him during the commercials, as he did gymnastics on the couch, because he had too much energy even to sit through a half-hour cartoon–but, he was perfectly safe, because I made sure he didn’t do anything too crazy, and the spelling review still got done, but in a way that he was on board with it. I plan on raising my own (hypothetical, future) child that way, and if I ever need to take a break from raising said child (to go to work, or even just for a night out), then I’d look for a “mattress fort” kind of babysitter for my kid as well. That’s not to say I’m never going to open a parenting book or magazine, but I plan on taking some advice from the “old-school” books that my parents used on me and my brother (that were written between probably 1980 and 1987), in addition to the more recent information out there, and taking all of it with a grain of salt……and, the moment it starts scaring me, I’m going to close the book, and just use common sense. For example, I know the “sun smart” brigade tells people to dress their kids in long sleeves and long pants in the summer, and not let them play in the sun between 11 and 4, but that doesn’t seem realistic to me.

  136. Heather G, nursing him to sleep and laying him down was simply ONE suggestion, LOL. 🙂 There are many ways to do it. Like I said, it sounds like your son may have also had some special needs, as well, in terms of sensory issues. I’m sure you did the best you could with the amount of knowledge you had under the circumstances. I just know that I have worked with and seen many babies who’s parents thought there was no way to get them to sleep and they didn’t want to resort to letting them cry themselves to sleep and I was able to coach them through various methods and we ALWAYS found one that worked. And sk1, I’m not sure what profession you are in, but in my experience as a pediatrician who advocates for natural attached parenting, the ones who cry it out are USUALLY fussier. Not the other way around. The ones with secure attachments and calm mothers are usually much more independent as toddlers and self confident. This has also been shown by numerous studies. Of course you will always have happy babies who cry it out, as well as babies who usually have overly anxious mothers who are AP who are fussier, but overall the ones who’s needs are consistently met with happy, calm mothers usually fair better, according to personal observation of thousands of families and of the studies done.

  137. Aslo, sk1, I am a dad to 6 great kids. 🙂 My wife and I coslept with all of them. When one woke up in the middle of the night I would observe my wife just pop her breast out with barely opening her eyes and the baby would latch on and they would both nurse and snooze at once. She honestly told me she never felt sleep deprived and our kids have all been well rested despite having those middle of the night nourishment and all have done excellent academically.

  138. Robert, again, you don’t know all the things we did nor the amount of knowledge I, my family and the medical professionals we dealt with have. An LOL and a smiley face does not excuse your judgmental attitude about things that you were not involved in and know next to nothing about. I’m not going to give you the entire detailed history of my son’s case because it would take up entirely too much space for a blog comment and because the specifics don’t matter. I know the truth of our situation. You don’t. I have no regrets for putting my son’s needs above the views of people who never met him. The only reason why I’ve continued to discuss this is because there are other parents out there who may be where we were and they deserve to know that they are NOT mildly neglecting their child, wrong or ignorant for doing what is best for THEIR child’s need just because a few arrogant internet posters want to play armchair doctor and push their views on parents and children they’ve never met and know nothing of their individual needs. People deserve better than that.

  139. Wow Robert. Smug, condescending jerk much? I didn’t practice CIO and, in fact, coslept and I find your comments obnoxious.

    The thing you seem to miss is CALM MOTHERS is probably the key. Some mothers will be calm and happy cosleeping. Some mothers will be calm and happy with a baby sleeping in another room, even if the baby cries for a few minutes to get there. A mother who doesn’t want to cosleep and is miserable doing so is far worse for a child than 10 minutes of crying. Get over yourself and stop thinking that you, a total stranger, know what is better for every family.

  140. Robert, I’ll assume your personal story is true for you. However, I personally know at least two co-sleeping moms (which is unusual where I live) whose kids still have sleep problems at age 5. One mom (another single working mom who really needs her sleep) told me that her daughter has NEVER slept more than a few hours at a time. She is afraid to try anything that sounds “non-gentle” because the child was adopted and she’s afraid it would traumatize her too much. Obviously sleeping with the child and comforting her every time she wants comfort is not helping this mom and child sleep. Both suffer every day from this. The other mom is my Indian friend whom I mentioned before. Obviously co-sleeping and other stuff you like to call “AP” is not having the outcome you assure us it should, in many cases. Perhaps you can imagine how unhelpful it sounds when you say “just give the kid a boob and go back to sleep.”

    Besides, not everyone can co-sleep, breastfeed, baby-wear, etc. And not everyone wants to, and not every kid likes it anyway.

    I’m sure you can find studies pointing in both directions on every topic we discuss here. That’s why I take cited studies with a grain of salt. No study about cultures/customs is unbiased. And nobody who cites such studies is unbiased. If they hear a study suggesting the opposite, they conveniently ignore / forget it before it gets a chance to mess with their confident stance on the matter.

  141. You probably have a point about being a calm mom, though. It can be hard to be a calm mom when you’re not allowed to listen to your gut on things like this. When you’re guilted and shamed for daring to allow your child to emit a few wails, or for even considering the possibility.

    Personally I’m a calm mom and I do happen to have calm kids. I’m not sure I can take credit for that, but I know I’m very lucky on both counts.

  142. Sorry I am offending. I realize this is not an AP forum and as such I should probably not be sharing on here. One of my patients recommended this blog to me and I thought I would try it out. Unfortunately one of the first discussions developed into something that happened to be dear to my heart – attachment parenting. All I am doing is sharing my professional and personal opinions and experiences as a pediatrician and father. It is a different sort of philosophy than some people are used to, but I promise I was giving (albeit unsolicited) advice only. Not judging. Being a new mother is hard. I have met many desperate new mothers who don’t know who or what to listen to as I’ve traveled around the country giving lectures. It’s hard work! And no one is going to do everything perfect. And in the end you do have to do whatever it takes to have a calm baby and mother. If that means letting the baby cry it out so that they do not feel the mother’s frustration, stress, and anger, then it’s the ONLY thing that can be done. But I do stand by my original statement that IF a mother is dedicated to finding another way, it CAN be done. (I obviously haven’t worked with every mother and baby out there, so I can’t say it with 100% accuracy, but in my practice I can say it with 100% accuracy, at least.) I have worked with some IMPOSSIBLE cases in my office and it always worked out. We have tried all sorts of neat tricks and in the end we have yet to failed. Most of the time if there were really hard cases, we usually were able to uncover a medical cause – such as reflux, food allergies, ear infections, or a sensory issue we were able to work with and treat. Again, I apologize for offending and hope you can understand I was not judging anyone.

  143. Robert, why does it require so much unrelenting hard work, dedication, and “tricks” to get a child to co-sleep? Is it just not possible that some babies/kids are more comfortable sleeping in their own space?

  144. Not cosleeping, Buffy. I’m speaking of crying it out. That is what I have been talking about this whole time, in case anyone else was confused, as well. I’m perfectly fine with babies sleeping in their own beds if that’s what works best for the family and the baby is happy and peaceful with it. What I am against is ferberizing and other methods of babies crying themselves to sleep as they learn to “self sooth”.

  145. Robert, I take issue with the idea that if my kid doesn’t want to go to sleep when I want her to, I should get a doctor involved before I try something as simple as saying “it’s time to sleep now, good night” and leaving my kid’s room. Maybe your office is a paradise on earth, but I generally avoid going to the doctor if at all possible. No offense, but doctor visits are expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for both parent and child. I would try a mild cry-it-out method before I’d call the doctor to deal with a sleep issue that wasn’t obviously a medical issue.

  146. Usually the families I work with are not coming to me for sleep issues. They are normally there for other reasons such as well baby checkups. I always take time to discuss any issues they are having and sometimes mothers will talk of sleep issues. This is an area I have studied quite a bit and so I give advice and give them my phone number to call me as they work it out. I also look for underlining medical issues, and you’d be surprised how often we can find them and once they addressed the baby does great. Like I said, in my experience we have always been able to find a solution that has mother happy, baby happy, and no one being left alone to cry. In my book that’s a win-win situation. 🙂

  147. I’ll bet your patients’ moms don’t report every time they cry (especially if you imply that crying is a sign of being uncared-for). But that’s good that you are catching the medical issues that do exist.

    Personally I think people should just let their kids sleep on their bellies, but that is a whole other discussion.

  148. No, sk1, I never said crying is a sign of not being cared for. I said that crying while the mother is able to respond and chooses not to is (at that moment, in my opinion), not being cared for. Babies communicate through crying. It’s their way of saying, “I’m too hot, too cold, hungry, overly tired, lonely, scared, or in pain of some sort.” When we ignore those cries, we are ignoring their needs – be it physical or emotional. When we do this at bedtime and though the night baby learns there is a specific time when mommy won’t come to them. Some babies are very compliant and learn this quickly and give in. Other’s are more determined and will scream for hours. But even though I believe there are ways to get a baby to sleep without resorting to crying, if it’s creating a stressed out mom who is tired of trying and doesn’t want to try other ways anymore and especially if you have a compliant baby, then you have to do what you have to do to have a happy mother, which is very important for baby, who is luckily pretty resilient. 😉 Is it the BEST situation, in my opinion? No. But sometimes “good enough” is all you need to get past a rough patch.

  149. Robert’s being no more judgmental than the MAJORITY of us are on this site. This whole site is one big forum of judgement! The majority of the articles are not there to celebrate free range kids and parenting, but to point out and JUDGE all those who are not free range parents. The majority of people on here that claim every kid should be parented differently also claim that free range is better than helicoptering NO MATTER what. And everyone on here makes fun of and shakes their heads at all the stories of those who helicopter that are posted here. If you people who said that there is no one right way to parent really believed that then you wouldn’t turn around and make the comments of how crazy/wrong/ridiculous this lady is in this very post. It can’t be OK to make those comments and then turn around and say it’s not OK for a pediatrician to claim HE believes that babies shouldn’t be left to cry? You can’t have it both ways. So either let everyone express their views – no matter how opinionated – without resorting to angry name calling and judgments or truly practice what you say: that every child is different and should be parented differently by their parents who know them best, including the child who’s parents won’t let her go alone to the park alone at 12. I’m sure I’ll offend someone somewhere, but it’s just truth. So let’s move on, people and let this thread drop and go on to judging the people who suspended the high school teacher for not following policies or the mom who believe people take their kids to the ER over minor incidents.

  150. So Robert, do you believe that if a child throws a crying tantrum over not being allowed to, say, eat a battery, and the mother “is able to respond [to soothe the child] and chooses not to,” the chld is uncared-for? I thought we were supposed to ignore tantrums. What’s the difference?

  151. Frank, there’s a difference between “judging people” and having opinions that some courses of action are better than others, even to the point of saying that some courses of action are just plain wrong or even dumb. Everyone at every moment is choosing some course of action over another based on something they’re thinking. If that’s being judgmental, then being judgmental is a good and in fact inescapable thing.

    But more likely, being judgmental means not attempting to understand the situation or over-generalizing about situations or people you know nothing about, and then saying specifically harsh things about those people and their motives. Every opinion expressed on this site about taking school officials at their word for why they did something and deciding it was a stupid thing, or whether it’s unnecessary to take a child to the ER as commonly as some people think, does not fit that category. Saying you’re not caring for your children because you consciously have decided to make the caring take a different form than someone else would do, does fit that category.

  152. Frank –

    Robert’s OPINION that CIO is wrong is perfectly acceptable.

    His JUDGMENT that people who believe differently are “mean” and neglectful is inappropriate. I’m just very happy that I never stumbled into his medical practice because it is very clear that I would not be welcome and would be bullied into doing it his way until I moved on.

    Most of us here are of the opinion that this woman is over-the-top. I don’t think anyone has called her “neglectful” or “mean” or insinuated in anyway that we thought that she was going to be a bad mother (unlike Robert who has stated as much about a couple posters). We think she’s way too stressed out about the whole thing but that’s it. That is the difference between OPINION and JUDGMENT.

  153. “But I do stand by my original statement that IF a mother is dedicated to finding another way, it CAN be done. (I obviously haven’t worked with every mother and baby out there, so I can’t say it with 100% accuracy, but in my practice I can say it with 100% accuracy, at least.’

    Can you really? Do you go home with all the parents to ensure that they do what you say and not CIO? I can’t imagine that you hide your view that parents who CIO are “mean” and “neglectful” from your patients. If I liked you as a pediatrician for medical reasons, I’d simply tell you “yeah, it worked great” while letting my baby CIO if that is what I was inclined to do.

    Further, we’re supposed to think that spending all this time trying all these “tricks” for the one that works is BETTER than a couple days of 10 minutes of crying? That is really focusing on one factor and completely ignoring the big picture. You seem to ignore that sleep deprivation is miserable for the BABY. Sleep deprivation is actually used as torture. Encouraging weeks and months of trying “tricks” while continuing to allow the baby to be sleep deprived seems rather “mean” and “neglectful” to me, especially if CIO would have worked within a couple days.

  154. Donna, do you know what the definition of “neglect” is? Here it is:

    “to pay no attention or too little attention to”

    If a baby is crying and you refuse to go to them, closing their door and ignoring their cries, then yeah you are neglecting them at the moment. I did cry it out with my kids. It worked but I definitely wasn’t tending them/nurturing them at that time. I was letting them cry and ignoring their natural needs to be close to me and my wife. I wish now I would have done it differently, but they survived and we’re all OK, which is the main thing. But Robert never even said people who do this are mean. He said the PRACTICE of CIO was mean IN HIS OPINION. So nobody can think something is mean in their opinion on here? Come on, Donna. Do you spank your daughter with a paddle? I’m guessing probably not. Do you think if you went though your family history you might find someone who did? Yes, probably so. Does that mean they were a mean person? No. Does it mean you can have an opinion that the practice was mean? Absolutely.

  155. pentamom: “But more likely, being judgmental means not attempting to understand the situation or over-generalizing about situations or people you know nothing about, and then saying specifically harsh things about those people and their motives.”

    So you’ve never made comments on this site about a helicopter situation and said it was ridiculous and absolutely wrong? Do you only comment on people’s stories that you know personally? Of course not. None of us do. We all make judgements about others on here that are perfect strangers without even knowing their circumstances. I’ve seen thousands upon thousands of comments on this site saying how horrible/ridiculous/stupid people are for helicoptering their kids. People we do not know. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Judge all you want. But don’t bash someone else for doing the same thing you do.

  156. Ignoring is not what most parents do when they CIO. They are actually paying close attention; just not physically stimulating the baby.

    I guess by Frank’s definition, we’re neglecting our babies if we let them sleep peacefully in their beds, since we’re just hanging back and letting them do their own thing.

    Frank, you did CIO and now you wish you hadn’t. The grass is always greener over there. If you hadn’t and your entire family dealt with sleep issues for years as many do, maybe you would have liked a do-over including CIO at an appropriate age. Who knows? I’ve seen many parents suffer and worry for years, finally try CIO, and say “wish I wasn’t too chicken to try it before. My kid is happier than ever and I’m a better mom now that I sleep.”

    But don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying those who reject CIO for their own families should CIO. I am saying that nobody on this earth, regardless of profession and experience, knows what’s best for everyone else’s child. And if you’re gathering info to make a decision for your own child, you don’t evaluate a practice based on a snapshot but on the overall big picture. Further, there’s nothing wrong with considering the needs (and wants!) of parents and others in addition to the child. A child is not a god, but a part of the family, no more or less important than any other person.

  157. ” I am saying that nobody on this earth, regardless of profession and experience, knows what’s best for everyone else’s child.”

    If that’s REALLY true, sk1, then I expect I could go through the archives and never find one comment from you that anyone was EVER wrong in making any sort of choice for THEIR child. Every parent who refused to allow their 11 year old to ride their bike to the park would be right. In fact this lady in this article did the right thing in only wanting a nanny with recent experience. Because this mother knows what’s best for her child. Come on sk1, you don’t REALLY believe this or you wouldn’t have made so many comments about how “wrong” people are for making certain choices for their children. As for my kids, I see how responsive and nurturing my daughter in laws are with their babies. (My sons could use some work, and I blame that on myself.) There is no sleep deprivation and everyone is happy.

  158. Frank,

    (a) I did not say none of us can say something is wrong for a child. There is a big difference between knowing what is best for someone else’s child and knowing what is harmful for most children.

    (b) while I may or may not have expressed dismay at another parent’s free, theoretically valid choice for her specific child, my main concern is that parents feel empowered to gather info from all sides and make a decision based on what they know about their child. I also post a lot about the way I was managed or how my kids are managed, to give examples of how things can be done if an individual child is deemed ready by his/her parent.

    Anti-CIO have a right to their opinion, but if they are accusatory in the way they express it, they should expect backlash.

    What I’d rather see from the anti-CIO crowd is something along the lines of “I considered CIO but was reluctant to try it. I researched other methods and decided upon xyz. Xyz worked for my family and I’d recommend that others research it and consider it.” Sounds a lot better than “CIO is cruel, uncaring, neglectful, selfish, horrific, causes brain damage, breeds wusses, destroys the parent-child relationship, you should have tried harder, you could have done better, maybe you shouldn’t be a parent, bla bla bla.”

  159. “There is no sleep deprivation and everyone is happy.” As far as you know! People say the same about me, yet my kids and I have had our moments, and I’m sure your grandkids have, too. I firmly believe that a key reason for my kids’ happiness is boundaries, and boundaries sometimes involve denying kids what they think they want/need and letting them cry about it and get over themselves.

  160. Frank, I will admit that I’m probably guilty of the kind of judgmental blanket statements I am finding fault with here. They were and are still wrong. I am sorry for any offense I have caused. That said, in many of the threads there has been quite a bit of discussion about making parental decisions based on the individual child and circumstances. More than one parent has expressed that their child has special needs or circumstances that prevent X activity at y age but support the idea overall. Others have qualified their statements by saying that they believe in x activity for kids in general or for most kids. Even in this thread you have people who admit that they didn’t practice CIO but are still defending parents who have decided that that was the best choice in their individual circumstances and that kind of support appears in other threads as well. All of these kinds of statements allow for parental choice. All of these kinds of statements further quality discussion rather than hijacking a thread with personal agendas. It’s also worth noting that while there are threads that poke fun at helicoptering practices there are also many threads that have to do with the anti-free-range members of society trying to push their “it’s not safe for the children” beliefs on all families.

    As I said, I don’t doubt that I’ve made the kind of statements I am arguing against. I also don’t deny that they are wrong. I am sorry for my hypocritical actions. My wrong doings don’t make it okay for others to do the same.

  161. “I firmly believe that a key reason for my kids’ happiness is boundaries, and boundaries sometimes involve denying kids what they think they want/need and letting them cry about it and get over themselves.”

    “Get over themselves?” If you feel this way about a 6-9 month old innocent baby (the average age parents try crying it out, which is what we are discussing – not two year old temper tantrums or 4 year old whining) then we really have nothing in common and no amount of arguing will convince you that perhaps there are a large group of people in this world that DO view CIO as always wrong and that these little babies being left to cry in cribs for their mothers really do not understand why mommy won’t come. The only difference here is that in your OPINION, it isn’t wrong and apparently these tiny babies need to “get over themselves.”. I have no more to say on this subject because it is pointless arguing with someone of your particular value system.

  162. I don’t have kids, but according to Jean Piaget, the first challenge of human development is “Trust versus Mistrust,” which occurs in infancy. So, the “crying it out” method kind of runs counter to that, because the child needs to know that, if he or she is in need (hungry, cold, wet, whatever), then an adult will come and sort it out. I’m not saying that Piaget is right or wrong, but his theories are pretty widely accepted.

  163. The problem is that there are a lot of things we can do wrong with our kids and they can and usually do turn out fine. Kids come with their own personalities and are very resilient to our faults and shortcomings. So people can see CIO methods and how the baby wasn’t damaged and assume they were right. However from a scientific/psychological standpoint of looking at an infant’s development it goes against those principles to allow them to cry it out. Does it work? Yes, often it does. Is it right? Probably not.

  164. Here’s one link on infant development that makes me think CIO methods seem a bit cruel:

    From this link:

    “Sometime between 4-7 months, babies develop a sense of object permanence and begin to learn that things and people exist even when they’re out of sight. This is when babies start playing the “dropsy” game — dropping things over the side of the high chair and expecting an adult to pick them up (which, once retrieved, get dropped again!).

    The same thing occurs with a parent. Babies realize that there’s only mom or dad, and when they can’t see you, that means you’ve gone away. And most don’t yet yet understand the concept of time so they do not know if or when you’ll come back.

    Whether you’re in the kitchen, in the next bedroom, or at the office, it’s all the same to your baby. You’ve disappeared, and your child will do whatever he or she can to prevent this from happening.”

    The ability to understand time and the fact that people will come back after a short period of time develops slowly and I can’t seem to find an exact time when they do understand this. But many sources say separation anxiety is very strong between 8 months and a year. So if, developmentally, babies have a hard time understanding time and the concept that mommy will come back, it seems cruel to unnecessarily leave them alone at night in a dark room if they are crying for you. I know a lot of people do it, but like I said, just reading about infant development, it doesn’t seem right. :/

  165. “Every parent who refused to allow their 11 year old to ride their bike to the park would be right. In fact this lady in this article did the right thing in only wanting a nanny with recent experience. Because this mother knows what’s best for her child. ”

    I don’t think anyone here has ever said that ALL 11 year olds should bike to the park alone. What everyone has said is that the world is not a dangerous place and fear of a predator around every corner should not stop a perfectly capable 11 year old from biking to the park alone. HUGE difference. If a mother were to say “my child isn’t ready to bike to the park because he doesn’t watch for cars and he has to cross a 4 lane highway” or some other rational explanation (even if we disagree with view that the child could not handle it), most would not bat an eye. It is the unreasonable and unwarranted fear that a predator lurks around every corner just waiting to abduct unattended children that people balk against not the ability of the mother to decide what is best for her child in a given situation.

  166. OK, so now we’re going to (a) assume that all of us were talking about tiny babies around 6 mos old, and (b) decide that scientific studies / psychologist strangers know better than individual parents what individual children are capable of.


    Frank, I never even had custody of my kids until they were 9mos and 12mos old. I had no opportunity to abuse and neglect them and let them “get over themselves” prior to that point, and I didn’t start badass discipline the day they got home, either. So you know what you can do with your ASSumptions.

    Of course there are books telling us what our kids are capable of – nothing new about that. I took lots of psychology courses, read lots of books, and have pretty much seen it all “in print.” The problem is that those books are based on the theories of some people who aren’t even mothers, let alone my kid’s mother. And these theories are ever-changing. You can take them for what they are worth, but in the end, mothers need to decide what is best for their kids and families. No two children are alike; and no psychological theory applies to all kids.

    This has been the most frustrating on-going guilt-fest I’ve engaged in in a while. I think I’m done with it. Just please, Frank and like-minded folks, keep your noses out of the business of moms of young children, because you’re not helping.

  167. First, I think some see CIO as letting babies cry all night in their crib alone wanting their mommy. Of course that would be mean. I’ve never known a single reasonable parent who did that. The most I’ve ever known anyone to allow their babies to cry is 10-15 minutes. If the baby wasn’t asleep by then, the parents gave up and tried another night.

    Are some of you anti-CIO really saying that letting a baby cry for 10-15 minutes is ALWAYS cruel, mean and neglectful? For the first 7-8 months, my baby cried as if you were killing her every time she was put into a car because she wanted me to hold her. Should I have never gotten into a car because she cried? Groceries, pediatrician visits, etc. all should have been forgone because my child cried while in the car? “Hey, baby, sorry that you are miserably ill but I can’t take you to the doctor because you’ll cry in the car and not know why I can’t stop and hold you?” Or maybe I should have thrown all caution to the wind and held my baby on my lap while I drove so that I could always tend her needs? Of course not. Taking my ill baby to the pediatrician was actually attending her needs and not taking her would have been neglectful.

    Now take a baby who refuses to sleep. Eventually the lack of sleep leads to uncontrolled crying for HOURS a day because the sleep deprived baby simply melts down in misery at some point. Are you truly arguing that allowing this baby to cry 10-15 minutes until he drifts off to sleep is meaner than months and months of allowing him to cry for HOURS because he is miserably sleep deprived? Do you really think that the baby would rather be absolutely miserable for 5 hours a day but know you are there instead of wondering where you are for 10-15 minutes before he drifts off to sleep?

    I don’t think CIO is particularly pleasant for a baby for those 10-15 minutes. But I also don’t think any car ride was particularly pleasant for my child. Sometimes you just have to look at all the evils and pick the least of them. I didn’t drive my child around willy-nilly, but when we needed to go, we needed to go crying aside. I definitely think that 10-15 minutes of crying is the least when compared to months of HOURS of misery due to sleep deprivation. And I coslept so I am not defending my own CIO decision (although I did try it once and it was a complete failure).

  168. No, but you have to admit the knee jerk reaction around is is that they are capable if they are of a certain age – unless a special needs disability has been pointed out. I have even heard some posters remark that if the 11 (or 9 or 10 or 12) year old is not capable it’s STILL the parent’s fault for helicoptering and not teaching them. I’m just saying that no matter how much we want to think we aren’t being judgmental on here, most of us are. We should probably all watch the way we respond to these posts and give more benefits of the doubt and not be upset when others have strong beliefs/opinions unless we are willing to take a completely unbiased stand ourselves.

  169. Yes, Donna, but as long as there is another way to get them sleep, shouldn’t that be used over CIO? You had no choice but to drive. But there are other choices besides CIO. I don’t think anyone would advocate months of sleep deprivation, including Robert. I doubt his methods took that long, but he never really said before he apparently left this board.

  170. Sure I had other choices than driving. I could have walked every where. I could have made the pediatrician in a couple hours. I could have put myself into debt getting food delivered instead of going to the grocery store. I could have called an ambulance when my child was sick (could have held her in the ambulance). I could have taken a bus everywhere. Or maybe a taxi depending on the local laws. There are always options if you look for them. You are always making a choice.

    And, you do understand that sleep deprivation is torture and the use of it a violation of human rights in adults? But yet you advocate the continued torture of babies when a simple solution may be readily available? If CIO would have worked in 2 days, how do you justify trying various other methods for any period of time? How long do we mess around while the baby is not sleeping? Do you have a limit?

    I’m not saying that Robert doesn’t have other methods that eventually work. CIO also works, and very quickly for many babies. If CIO works in 2-3 days, anything Robert comes up with that takes more than 2-3 days from the day that CIO would have started, is prolonging suffering. Robert was suggesting that sometimes the parents have to try many “tricks” before baby actually sleeps. That is going to take way longer than 2-3 days.

    I’m guessing that you have never had a difficult baby. I did and I tried numerous tricks. Yes, something other than CIO did finally work. But it was 6 months of misery until we turned a corner. If CIO had worked when I tried it 2 months prior, wouldn’t that have actually been more humane than another 2 months of trying various “tricks?” Yes, it would have been unpleasant for the 10 minutes she cried but that would have been better than 2 more months of sleep deprivation.

  171. And the thing that did end up working is even more socially unacceptable than CIO – belly sleeping. Go figure that none of the pediatricians ever suggested that one.

  172. I am the member who recommended Robert to this site. Now I am embarrassed that I did. He is a fabulous pediatrician! He really cares and listens and goes with mom’s instinct. He’s actually quite famous for being an attached parenting supporter and believes in more natural methods of doing a lot of things. (Looks for alternative treatments, doesn’t push vaccines and supportive if you choose to delay/selective/or not vaccinate as the parent’s choice, believes in whole foods, in kids getting outside to play, strongly supportive of extended breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing, ect.) So the moms who go to him tend to not be the types who want to use CIO anyways. I don’t know all of his patients, obviously, but many of my friends in our playgroup go to his practice and he has helped them a lot with sleep issues. Many babies go through MUCH more than 2-3 days to learn to sleep with CIO. All of my friends who have gone to him for advice usually had their babies sleeping well THE FIRST NIGHT. If you know what to do, it’s usually not that hard – unless there is an underlining medical issue. He is able to listen to the mom and find out the baby’s personality and quirks and give suggestions that for everyone I know worked the very first night. My kids were tummy sleepers, as well, and he was also supportive of this! He told me he often sees a lot more developmental issues with back sleeping than used to be so if a parent is adamant to let their babies tummy sleep he leaves it up to them and even confessed to me that 2 of his babies were tummy sleepers.

  173. I don’t know about anyone else, but you completely lost me at “doesn’t push vaccines.” Does that mean he would prefer that all these children have diptheria, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis? To me personally, preferring disease to vaccines doesn’t sound all that fabulous.

  174. Buffy: That means he educates parents who do not want to vaccinate, discussing pros and cons, but then leaves the final decision up to them and doesn’t hassle them or put them down for their decisions. I won’t go into the great vaccine debate here, so I’ll stop at that. 🙂

  175. A quick word of warning on this. If you hear of a family or young parents using the Babywise program by Gary Ezzo, and this is no exaggeration, threaten them with CPS or at the very least, have a talk talk with them. Normally I would NEVER recommend such a drastic action, but the Babywise program is basically sanctioned child abuse under the guise of God.

    Babywise works under the program of a very set, unrelenting schedule, where the child is fed on a three hour schedule, and then basically left to starve overnight. There’s reports of parents who eventually learned to tune out the baby’s cries at night. The Babywise program also believes that children can be coddled or held too much, and it breeds interdependence. However, it takes it to the extreme, and normal comforting is also discouraged.

    There’s multiple reports of RAD (Radical Attachment Disorder) among parents who have used this system.

    Here’s the wiki on it, but there’s much more information on it from Google.

  176. Would that be Robert Sears? If so, any credibility he may have ever had was shot the second he cited Jenny McCarthy as an authority on anything other than Hollywood has-beens.

  177. I think it’s great that there are male (sometimes childless) physicians and psychologists out there thinking about new ways to approach baby care and child rearing. But these ideas should be viewed (and presented) as food for thought, not “shoulds” or absolutes. The number one rule should always be that the mom’s intuition is paramount. (Well, unless she is a complete lunatic or on some serious drugs.)

  178. I don’t know if that was Dr. Sears or not on here. But Donna, if it was, you are saying that a doctor who has helped and supported hundreds of thousands of families and done so much good loses all credibility with you for ONE statement. Can’t someone be a great doctor and differ in ONE thing that you do not agree with? Try not to be so all or nothing judgmental. You miss out on so much in life that way. I’m sure you have said hundreds of things that other do not agree with. Can you imagine if all those people suddenly decided you now know nothing? Plus, wouldn’t it be feasible to think that, in a way, involved parents who devote as many waking hours as possible to helping their special needs child – something you have never done – would become an authority of sorts? Especially someone who has worked with SO many families as Jenny McCarthy has? Just because you don’t agree with her philosophies – (as I’m sure the mainstream public doesn’t all agree with our philosophies on here), doesn’t mean they don’t have some merit as her organization has helped THOUSANDS of families deal with and overcome autism. I have a friend who went through mainstream methods to help her autistic son and made minimal progress. She researched Jenny’s organization and found a mentor there to help her with some alternative methods. Her son made HUGE leaps of progress and literally today at the age of 8, isn’t even considered autistic anymore. Please do some research before you judge. Just because it isn’t mainstream medicine, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work – and work well!

  179. I’m not expert on Jenny McCarthy or Dr. Sears, but I agree that Ms. McCarthy is the #1 expert on her own son. All kids are different and if something works for one child, that just means it worked for that child. It might be something to try with other children who have a similar profile – at the parents’ discretion. As long as we aren’t talking about poisoning, abusing, or mutilating our kids, I don’t see what the problem is. If it sounds too weird, don’t waste your time on it. If it sounds intriguing, consider trying it. Now if she’s getting rich off claims that she pulled out of her butt, that’s a different issue. I have no idea whether she gets money when someone decides to try her recommendations.

    I guarantee I’ve tried a few things that would be considered fringe or beyond. I don’t recommend some of them here because that would just freak people out unless they are truly open-minded (few are). But that doesn’t mean they didn’t work for my kids and might for others too.

  180. “I guarantee I’ve tried a few things that would be considered fringe or beyond. I don’t recommend some of them here because that would just freak people out unless they are truly open-minded (few are). But that doesn’t mean they didn’t work for my kids and might for others too.”

    Exactly! And we shouldn’t be so closed minded that we can’t even listen and consider something that worked for someone else (as long as it isn’t abusive or harmful in any way.)

    sk1, most of the ideas she promotes were lesser known ideas that were already working for a lot of families. All she does is try to promote those ideas so more families can learn about them and then make educated decisions for their families. She doesn’t get money from it that I am aware of. She just organized a group that helps families by providing mentors – families that have been through all the research and trails and errors to help families who just received the diagnosis sift through the huge bombardment of information out there. She does get paid to talk about it and for her book, but a lot of that money she donates to autism research, from what I have read. Whether you like her as an entertainer or person or not, she’s just a mom who found some treatments that worked with her son and wanted to share with other hopeless parents in the hope their children might be helped as well. Who wouldn’t want to do that?

  181. Sorry, Sarah, a DOCTOR who repeatedly lists, in his books and on the Internet, an ACTRESS as an authority on treatment for autism does not rank high in my book. What people choose to do and who people choose to listen to is one thing. Medical referrals is another. This country cares way too much what celebrities do and say. I’d prefer the medical community not join in. That may not be fair to McCarthy, who may have valid methods, but it is how I feel.

    I should also add that I wasn’t a fan of any Dr. Sears before. I’ve known people who used them and I briefly looked into them for my daughter. I found them way too interested in child-rearing decisions – and judgmental that their way was the only way to be a good parent. If Robert is Dr. Sears (which is what I thought when he first started posting for some odd reason but may just be a very similar pediatrician), the comments on this thread confirm that my opinion from 7 years ago is still the same. Unless you want to practice attachment parenting, these are not the pediatricians for you.

    I want a pediatrician who treats my kid’s medical needs, not a life coach. My pediatrican is completely impartial to any parenting decisions. He gives me information but leaves the parenting to me. I have no idea what his views are on any parenting method.

  182. Interesting question how much a pediatrician should probe into parenting issues. Mine seems to have a list he reads off each time we go for a well visit. (We’re only there because the kids’ day care requires an annual doctor’s cert.) I recall our first ped visit when my kids were about 1yo and the doc asked if they said mama and dada. I said they don’t say dada because they don’t have a dad. He marked it down as a milestone not met. Whatever! They always ask about potty training (though that was completed 4 years ago), bedwetting (same answer), who lives in the home and whether they smoke, who is their caregiver during the work day, and a few academic-oriented questions. I suspect there is some government-ordered push for parenting awareness and to get educationally at-risk kids into intervention programs. But I’m not sure if the people who need this most are the ones who actually take their kids for well visits.

  183. My problem isn’t with McCarthy’s methods. It is with our celebrity obsessed culture and the fact that anything McCarthy says is given more weight than it deserves by many people because she is a celebrity. This is particularly troublesome when she is telling people things like “vaccines are bad.”

    This becomes more troubling when you now have a doctor writing books praising McCarthy’s views. You now have a person people tend to defer to (a doctor) telling you to listen to a person whose words people already put more value in than they are worth (the celebrity). Like it or not, people do things simply because celebrities tell them too. They don’t need doctors validating that.

    I’d prefer people make important decisions – like whether to vaccinate or move away from convential autism treatment methods or buy expensive equipment they can’t really afford – because they have made an informed decision and not because Jenny McCarthy did it. I’d really prefer doctors not to cite her as an authority for that reason. As you said, all her methods have been around for years before her. I hope Dr. Sears believed in these methods before McCarthy made them famous. Cite the original sources and leave the added weight of McCarthy’s celebrity out of it.

  184. I understand your point of view. But look at it this way. Suppose you were in Jenny’s shoes. You found a method that WORKED for your child! You come to find out it has worked for many other children as well! However, it is not accepted in mainstream medicine. Would you keep that information to yourself? Or would you use your status as a well known figure and spread the great news? I would hope you would spread it joyfully to the world! Sadly, people do put more emphasis on celebrities. But that doesn’t mean if they find something wonderful worth sharing they should keep it quiet just because some people may think it’s tacky to share because they are a celebrity. And Jenny did not just work with her son. She has helped thousands of families and been very involved in research and such so that while she is still an actress, she has shared a wealth of old and new information on alternative treatments to autism that help a lot of families. She’s done a lot of the leg work in gathering this information and compiling it into one place, which is great. I won’t go into the vaccine debate, although I will say I do not trust mainstream studies supported by the drug and vaccine industry. I will trust the friends and neighbors I know who’d had babies hurt and even killed by vaccines. Also, I don’t know how you can say Dr. Sears is judgmental. He does have an opinion – I’d be afraid to trust a wishy washy doctor who didn’t have his own opinions. But he repeats over and over in his books that you have to do what works for your family. He’s VERY flexible in what he considers attachment parenting and says so very clearly in his books over and over again. Maybe you just skimmed them? And so you are not an AP advocate. That’s OK. But some people are and they appreciate a doctor who supports them.

  185. I don’t mind the general milestone/living situation/education related questions. My pediatrican deals with a lot of Medicaid patients who are at risk so I’m glad he asks.

    But he doesn’t seem to have an agenda he’s pushing with them. He is always non-judgmental about choices and has never asked a question that didn’t seem to have a medical or developmental basis beyond general conversation. Even when he suggests something it’s generally “here’s some literature about it, let me know what you think” and not forceful. People with many different parenting philosophies feel comfortable with him. The only people who aren’t are people who want drugs at the drop of a hat or lots of medical intervention. He’s a wait-and-see kinda guy.

  186. I don’t know Dr. Sears personally, but I wouldn’t go jumping to any conclusions that he pushes ideas or agendas onto his patients. It just could be he just is passionate and really cares about families and kids. 🙂

  187. @Sarah, I find it very hard to believe that you have both friends and neighbors who have had children killed by vaccines. Saying that doesn’t bolster your argument in any way.

  188. Jenny can share what she wants. I’m not thrilled with the medical community endorsing it when she has no more validity than Susan Smith next door but some people are going to take it as gospel because she’s famous (which says a lot about our culture but doctors have to work with what they got).

    I want my doctor to share his opinions about MEDICAL CARE with me. I don’t need his opinions on anything else about my life. Whether I baby wear or CIO or the myriad of other choices that go into parenting are not remotely relevant to my child’s healthcare. And I expect my doctor to accept my perfectly viable choices without making me feel bad about them. If someone wants to bottle feed, leave it alone. They are not feeding their kid rat poison.

    And I did just skim the books. I did, however, live a short distance from their medical practice when pregnant. I know people who used them. I’ve met them. I didn’t find them particularly open to non-AP viewpoint and don’t know a single person who was not AP who stayed with them (although I’m sure some have; I just didn’t know any). Their view of “what works for your family” is clearly really “what works for your family within these narrow ranges of what we think is right or we’ll lay on the guilt.” You can choose between cosleeping or crib sleeping but if you want to CIO, we’ll try to guilt you out of it.

    I am not an advocate of any parenting philosophy for all people. Nor do I think blindly adhering to any philosophy is good for any one person. There is no silver bullet to parenting. Every philosophy is going to result in successes and failures. There is a broad range of acceptable parenting before you hit abuse. Even if you can’t stop yourself from rolling your eyes (and who among us can all the time?), you need to live and let live.

  189. I think vaccines are scary. I don’t really trust either side when it comes to that issue. I do my own research and decide regarding the if and when of each individual vaccine. If my kids had any medical or neurological issues to begin with, I don’t know how I’d get comfortable on that decision, but I guess I’d cross that bridge when I came to it.

    I don’t appreciate either side putting down a parent who makes either decision after thinking it through for her individual child. There is nothing to be gained that way.

  190. SKL,

    The whole fallacy about the vaccine debate is that the non vaccinators are depending on HERD IMMUNITY to keep their child from catching a disease. See the cognitive dissonance there?

    The problem is that too many are opting out of vaccines, and herd immunity is quickly dropping below safe levels for those who really can’t vaccinate because of allergic reactions to eggs and other mediums which vaccines are cultivated. The same logic applies to those who abstain because of religious reasons, that’s not a valid excuse, get your kid vaccinated and keep the rest of us safe.

    There’s now major outbreaks of diseases that have been long since eradicated, THAT is more scarier than the vaccine debate. Because of the widespread overuse of antibiotics, hand sanitizers, and other germ killers, diseases are slowly becoming and more resistant to conventional drugs.. If one of those “old” bugs comes back and takes advantage of a “too clean” environment, with NOTHING to stop it, then we could be a lot of trouble.

    The short story, don’t be stupid, don’t expose my child to a dangerous disease because you believed a report that’s now been debunked.

    I’m sorry, I hate to be harsh, but there’s too much at stake and the health of the general public is at risk because of the stupidity of a few.

  191. And those who can’t vaccinate and rely on herd immunity the most are also the most susceptible to serious complications from the diseases. The biggest group relying on herd immunity is infants – those too young to get the vaccines. Measles, whooping cough, etc are more deadly to infants. A healthy 6 year old who gets whooping cough because he was allergic to the vaccine will likely be just fine, miserable for a few weeks but ultimately fine. A 3 month old is at serious risk of death.

  192. Buffy, I’ve had 2 friends with children who were damaged by vaccines and one neighbor who’s 2 month old had a bad reaction to a vaccine and died in her sleep that night. ;( Please don’t call me a liar. 😦 I’m also not against vaccines, at all. (Neither is Dr. Sears.) What I am against is anyone being told they are a bad mother for not wanting to bombard their infant with vaccines. We delay vaccines until they are older and are selective about some. Some choose not to do them at all, which is also fine in my opinion. It should be up to the parent.

  193. So because I said don’t call people names for their vaccine choices, I got called names. Not surprised.

    The other side of the popular “herd immunity” argument is that many of the diseases we vax against aren’t actually deadly or severely debilitating to most. Inconvenient, uncomfortable, yes. But the death rate from Measles and Mumps, BEFORE vaccines became popular, was very low. It would probably be near zero now if we had spent the past 50 years developing treatments instead of hiding from the disease.

    Both of my parents had Measles and Mumps and they remember them kinda like I remember chicken pox. After that they were fine AND permanently immune. By contrast, many children are permanently injured by vaccines (I’m talking about the injuries the CDC actually admits to). AND those who were vaccinated instead of having the disease are at risk of contracting it at an older age, when it is more likely to be severe or deadly. Should not these considerations be included in the discussion of vax policy? Maybe that’s part of why, I’ve read, vaxes such as Measles aren’t compulsory in places like Japan and UK.

    Whooping cough is an entirely different animal. It is more dangerous to babies and tots. Its vax is also less likely to have serious side effects.

    Most parents are smart enough to weigh these considerations in light of their individual child’s situation and make an informed choice regarding each vaccine. I don’t understand why so many people are opposed to the concept of making a free, informed choice versus being shamed into doing A or B.

    Also, can anyone deny that vaxes are a slippery slope? The number of vaccines kids are given without parents even asking (or being invited to weigh in) has increased exponentially. At some point it ought to at least raise eyebrows.

  194. There’s a lot of comments left here and in scrolling through them quickly, I think there’s a lot of mommy wars going on in there, so I’m not commenting on any of that (nor did I really read any of it) – but I AM going to comment on the original post by Lenore!

    I’m a new mom to an 8 month old daughter and I’ll be honest and say that while pregnant and the first couple months after DD was born, I tried to read as much as possible to be up-to-date on all the new ways of doing things. But you know what – all of that ended up stressing me out too much so now I just go with the flow and trust my baby and what she seems capable of. When in doubt about something, I don’t automatically call up my doctor – I call up my MOM! My mom raised 6 kids and even though all her “baby knowledge” is decades out of date, I’ve learned that I trust her experience the most.

    So I’m sorry that that one lady thinks that 4 yrs is too out of date and refused to consider Joan, but yeah, I’m kind of just laughing to myself knowing that she’ll eventually see the errors of her ways too. 🙂

  195. “So you’ve never made comments on this site about a helicopter situation and said it was ridiculous and absolutely wrong? ”

    You’re missing the point. I said it is not judging to call something ridiculous and absolutely wrong. We ALL do ridiculous and absolutely wrong things, though hopefully without being aware of it. It is judging to call someone “neglectful,” “not caring,” or otherwise pejoratively judging their overall character, because I believe that some particular thing that they do is “ridiculous and absolutely wrong.”

  196. Yes, to Pentamom’s point, why are parents given the benefit of the doubt, intention-wise, when they helicopter/over-restrict kids, but assumptions like “mean, uncaring, selfish,” etc. are made when things go in the other direction from some people’s view of “ideal”?

  197. Hahahahaha baby experience…… is the baby gonna come out doing more then eat, sleep cry and poop? and why a nanny? what is wrong with day-care? it’s good for socialisation and building their immune systems, also this attachment parenting i’m pretty sure 99.999% of parents are somewhat attached to their kids, co-sleeping is a big mistake IMO ( still trying to get them out of our bed finally made some progress when oldest turned 12) i was against it but their dad kept bringing them in. – Just a warning of what could happen….. immunisation- the risks of a bad reaction are so small yet the chance of these diseases reappearing and killing a child are massive… we have had outbreaks of whooping cough, rubella ( which my pregnant friends son has thanks to someone else not immunising their kid) and measles….

  198. I mentioned this post today on a podcast – it’s not live, but it’s called NannyCast – is the link (the “show notes” for episode 21 will link to this blog post).

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