Updated: Feb 16, 2022
As a pediatrician, I see a lot of parenting choices. I'm usually pretty live-and-let-live about most things. But here are 5 things I wish would have ended a long time ago.
1. Use baby walkers
Bottom line: Baby walkers are unsafe and make no sense. They don't help your child learn to walk at all and may even delay your child from actually walking. Instead, they give extreme mobility to a baby who can't adequately control their movement. This is a recipe for serious injury. And before you tell me that your kid used a walker and was fine, I'm gonna refer you to my post on that topic.
2. Give over-the-counter cold medicine
I hate this for 2 reasons.
#1, it flat out doesn't work. As in, there are no studies that show these medications actually help with cold symptoms. So basically, you're wasting your money.
#2, these medications can be dangerous. From fatal cardiac rhythm changes to sedation and hallucinations, there are all kinds of crazy side effects. Cold medicine for kids is all risk and no benefit.
3. Obsess over poop
Seriously, poop. Color, frequency, consistency, and on and on. Look, not everybody poops every day. Some people go up to 3 times a day, some only every other day or so. Some babies poop once a week. As long as it's not black, white, or bloody and is easy to pass, you're good. Unless it's one of those colors, please don't take a picture for me. I'm good. And those little wrapped-up diapers of poop you want to show me. Hard pass.
4. Focus only on today
There are days when we just do what we have to do to survive, and hope to live another day. We all have those days. But for the most part, the best parents try to play the long game whenever they can. Yes, it's super sweet to rock your 2 month-old to sleep. Wanna know what's not cute? Rocking your kindergartner to sleep. Any habit you start now will either continue forever or have to change later. The changing of habits is not an easy process, so if you can start your child off with good habits, it will make your life way easier in the end.
5. Expect perfection from yourself
News flash: there are no perfect parents. To be fair, there are parents who put the entire highlight reel of their life on social media, and that can look a lot like perfection. But remember, I see all of you on the best and worst days of parenting. Behind every perfect parenting picture, there's a mom who steals her kids' Halloween candy and would give her right arm to pee by herself just once.
And a bonus:
6. Taking unsolicited parenting advice to heart.
Everybody in the world is going to have an opinion on how you parent your child. The truth: your parenting choices are totally and completely NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS. You do not have to explain your choices to anybody. Do the right thing for your child. And if you need to, lie and tell the advice-givers that I told you to do it. I'm good with that.