Friday, August 6, 2010

Research based parenting

I'm a researcher. When I'm interested in something, I research it. So, when Dave and I started talking about having a baby, I researched. I discovered charting and bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I was able to stop taking hormonal birth control and charted my cycle for 9 months before we got pregnant. I knew when I ovulated, when I was fertile and when my period would begin or when a pregnancy test would be accurate.

About a year before we got pregnant, I stumbled across The Business of Being Born. That opened my eyes to the possibility of having a choice in how I gave birth. I researched slowly then amped up the research when we got the positive test. As you may have seen through this blog, I did A LOT of research about birth. I just did a post about the research I did on circumcision and vaccines. I also have researched attachment parenting, baby carriers, breastfeeding, cloth diapers and newborn care in the hospital.

I did this research by reading and reading and reading and then reading some more. I followed links on blogs and websites. I got a subscription to Mothering magazine. I bought books and checked others out of the library. I lurked on parenting boards of all kinds (and definitely found my favorites.) Beware a lot of parenting boards- the ignorance that permeates them is scary. Now, lots of parents-to-be research but they focus on baby gear. Very few research birth choices, newborn care decisions, vaccines and parenting styles.

The funny thing is, I didn't research cribs because I'd already researched attachment parenting and knew that Gideon would be sleeping with us. I didn't research bottles because I knew that I would be breastfeeding. I didn't research strollers because I knew I would be wearing him most of the time (we did recently buy a stroller secondhand and use it infrequently on walks).

I researched car seats and bought one that would last from newborn to toddler. I'd already researched and knew that using the infant seats as a carrier and baby seat was bad for baby's development (also, recent studies show that it can constrict the airway and experts now recommend babies spend no longer than two hour intervals in the seats- even in the car.)

The best advice I can give to anyone considering or expecting a baby is to research. DO NOT just trust what your doctor, sister, mother or friend says. Even if that friend has 8 kids, it doesn't mean the choices she made will be right for you and your baby. Even if you and your siblings turned out okay doesn't mean your mom made informed choices about how she raised you. And, never forget that you are not the only patient your doctor has. Sadly, you and your baby's health may not be what's driving their advice. Don't forget that a Cesarean birth puts more money in their pockets. Don't forget that circumcision adds money to their pockets.

Any decision you have to make about your baby deserves to be researched. You and your baby deserve to have all the information.

I'll leave you with a picture of Gideon. This kid seriously gets cuter every day! He loves water bottles and is instantly drawn to them so we let him chew on ours every once in awhile.