Parenting can be tricky business and somewhat confusing as well.
What method of discipline do you use, how long must you breastfeed for and how exactly does potty training work are some of the issues that may pop up while you’re knee-deep in parenting at some point.
While there’s usually a parenting method for each milestone and hurdle encountered, some methods are more contentious than others.
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What’s so controversial about swaddling, you may wonder? It’s a technique that’s been around for ages, after all.
But some experts say that swaddling your baby incorrectly could lead to problems such as hip dysplasia and overheating – not so good for your baby.
Parents, don’t fret – we know that swaddling your baby can be a sleep-saver for both you and your little one. There’s no need to abandon the practice as long as you do it properly.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute says swaddling your baby is fine, as long as you do it correctly. Their advice is that when swaddling your child, you should ensure that the legs can bend up and out at the hips, which will allow for healthy hip development.
Wrapping your baby’s legs too tight and pressing them down straight together may result in hip dysplasia and dislocation.
2. Ferber method of “crying it out”
Dr Richard Ferber is the author of Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems in which he advises parents to let their babies “cry it out” when they wake up at night.
Critics of this method call it cruel and say that not comforting a baby when he is crying could cause emotional damage. Yet some parents swear by this method, saying it gives them much-needed sleep.
3. RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers)
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This method of parenting includes practices such as no tummy time and no fancy toys. It’s been made famous by some A-list parents like Felicity Huffman and Penelope Cruz.
The method has been criticised for forcing independence on a baby before he is ready for it.
But those who follow RIE believe it enables the child to learn and discover things at his own pace, and of course, helps parents save money because they don’t have to buy fancy toys!
Many of us might have been spanked as children and there are plenty of parents who spank their kids as a form of discipline, swearing by its effectiveness.
But research is showing a connection between spanking and later mental health issues later in life. Also, critics point out that spanking teaches the wrong message to children, including that it’s okay to use violence to solve a problem and it’s fine to pick on people smaller than you.
5. Elimination communication
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If you are wondering what this is, it’s a method where parents choose to go completely diaper-free right from their child’s birth. No cloth nappies either.
Some medical experts feel that the method could push a little one to use the potty too early or even cause health problems like UTIs and constipation.
But supporters of this method say it makes potty training a breeze and helps save the environment because there are no dirty diapers to throw away/wash.
6. Extended breastfeeding
Extended breastfeeding is the practice of nursing a child beyond 12 months. Those against it say that breastfeeding for too long could hurt a child’s sense of independence and that beyond a certain age, breastmilk has no nutritional value to a child.
However, health heavyweights such as the WHO recommends breastfeeding to age two and beyond, and research highlights the benefits of extended breastfeeding for both mother and baby.
Nay-sayers think co-sleeping might stop babies from learning to sleep on their own, may encourage sleep disturbances and even cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
But those for this method say that having baby sleep in the family bed has plenty of benefits, including strengthening parent-child bonds and making breastfeeding easier.