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  • Niamh

9 Ways Parenting Has Changed Over The Years

I was drinking a sneaky can of Coke the other day and boy was it good. I don’t tend to drink it much these days, expect maybe when I am at the cinema and I’m going all out with a humongous box of popcorn and Maltesers and the only way to wash it down is with the sugary elixir of Coke! Yes it’s one of my guilty pleasures. I also love it with a splash of Jack Daniels!

Anyway, on this day I was drinking a cold can of Coke at home for some reason and my now almost 10 month old baby boy was fascinated by it. It might have been the bright red colour of the can, the sound of the fizz or the look on my face when I drank it, but he was almost dancing with intrigue every time I took a slug.

‘Oh no you definitely can’t have any of this young man,’ I laughed to him, much to his baby chagrin and mini meltdown.

And then I remembered that my parents used to give me Coke in my bottle when I was a toddler. It got me thinking about all the things that our parents would have done or indeed even their parents would have done, that today would be considered big no-nos. It’s funny how childcare advice changes over the years.

Of course if you try and argue with your parents about what is now thought to be the norm, the reply you’ll most likely get is -

Well it never did you any harm did it?

And you know what, none of it really did! But when I thought about it, there were a lot of things that were perfectly fine back then that are seen as big no-no’s now or things we do today that our parents find more than mildly hilarious!

Here’s my top 9 -

1. Honey. My parents, as probably many others of their generation did, put honey on my soother when I was a baby. Today? Honey is a definitely no-no until babies are at least 1 year old, because of fears of infant botulism. Cue much looking up to heaven from the folks on that one.

2. Tummy Time. Whenever I mentioned tummy time when the baby was really small, my parents would just laugh! ‘You never had tummy time and you turned out fine!’ I guess this one is strictly true, in the sense that my parents probably just played with me on the floor with me on my tummy without having to stick to a rigid tummy time routine.

3. Washing the newborns clothes before he/she arrives. Now I must admit, I didn’t do this… I just took those vests and onesies out of the pack and put them on my baby boy and he was fine, but I do know what a lot of new parents spent weeks washing everything piece of new clothing for their newborn. Again, cued hilarious laughter from the parents at the thoughts of doing this.

4. Video monitors. On our summer holiday to Kerry this year, we forgot to bring the camera for our video monitor with us! Cue massive panic stations from me. Yet somehow we managed without it! Still though, for me I don’t think I could have done without it over a long period of time, it’s been invaluable… yet somehow my parents managed with no monitor at all!

5. Putting baby rice in a bottle. 'He seems hungry why not put some baby rice in his bottle?' That’s often the advice the older generation will give you when your weeks old baby seems to have a big appetite and they then go on cite examples of how their mother weaned them at 6 weeks or something ridiculous sounding!

6. Sure give him a rusk! Rusks, Liga, Baby Juice, and a dozen more baby foods and snacks are often packed with hidden sugars which many parents today want to try and minimise. But to the older generation, it’s perfectly fine to give babies these things to munch on all the time… I’m very much of the opinion that a little bit of these things do no harm at all, but not everyday!

7. Baby brain. 'There was no such thing as baby brain in my day!' Yep expect your mum or mother in law to say this to you at some point. And okay while the term wasn’t around then, I’m sure plenty of mums experienced the feeling of being forgetful while pregnant.

8. Car seats. While no one can argue that modern car seats are a lot safer these days, I’m often totally amazed at how my mum and her generation put us in Moses baskets in the back seat of the car and we all survived!

9. Bouncers. I’m pretty sure I was put in one of those bouncers that hung from a door frame very early on… if you did that now I’m quite sure the public health nurse would give you a big wrap on the knuckles… but I grew to be 5’11 with pretty normal legs and posture, so go figure!

It’s no wonder new mums can find themselves totally bemused at times, with the way parenting advice changes over the years. For me, well I try and be sensible and go with my gut… and while coke from my bottle didn’t exactly do me any harm, apart from my two front teeth falling out early, I won’t be following suit and giving it to my baby boy… that said, I was still able to eat a corn on the cob with my gums while I waited for both my front teeth to come in!

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