5 Controversial Parenting Topics (#29 Small Talk 2018)

Parenting is hard

I think that we all know that parenting isn’t for the faint hearted and mistakes can be made. And there will always be someone, somewhere who will point out to you that whatever you are doing is wrong!! For instance, you may choose to let your little one run around barefooted even though it’s the middle of winter. Someone out there is bound to point out to you how bad that choice is, for whatever reason they may have!!!!

Controversial issues about the different parenting styles go far beyond the issue of bare feet in winter, of course. As parents one has to decide what sort of parenting style suits both partners and it is important to discuss some issues before starting a family.

Here are just 5 controversial issues to think about before you take the plunge into parenthood!

1: Bottle versus breastfeeding

Bottle feeding vs breastfeeding

This topic has always generated a lot of conflict! It was long thought that breastfed children had an edge over those who were bottle fed. One of the advantages of breastmilk is that newborns do get a healthy boost to their immature immune systems from it which formula fed babies miss out on. It was thought that being breastfed gave a child better problem-solving skills and a greater vocabulary by the time they were 5 years old, it is now believed that this may have more to do with the mom’s educational level than the breastmilk factor! When it comes to feeding your baby, discuss the choices and benefits of breastfed vs formula with your paediatrician and then make the choice which is the best fit for you and your partner

2: Circumcision

If you choose not to be told the sex of your baby when pregnant, you should still need to make a decision about whether or not to circumcise your baby before it is born. After all, you have a 50-50 chance of your baby being a boy! The American Academy of Paediatrics have found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks, but the benefits are not great enough to recommend newborn circumcision. So it might be best to discuss the pros and cons with your partner and your paediatrician.

3: Birds & Bees talk

This always seems to be such an awkward topic to bring up and discuss with one’s child! While some parents want to put off teaching about sex for as long as possible, others want to start conversations early in order to make the topic as natural as possible. Probably the best option might be to take a deep breath and answer all questions as and when they occur. This way your child knows he or she can come to you as the go-to source for information about sexuality. You don’t have to have an entire seminar planned, rather give short answers to specific questions when they are asked. So when your curious 2 or 3 year old asks “ how did my brother/sister get in your tummy”, tell them in simple but accurate language. But keep it short, age appropriate and to the point. Your child needs to learn that there is nothing shameful about bodies.

4: Co-sleeping


Oh my, this topic is fraught with different opinions! Which makes it an important one to consider before your baby arrives! When it comes to co-sleeping, making the wrong choice could lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, infants should sleep in the same bedroom as the parents, but in a crib or Moses basket, and never be left on a couch, armchair or soft surface in order to decrease the risk of a sleep related death. If your tiny baby is in the bed with you, he or she could easily suffocate, either with a pillow accidently moving onto her face or even just with the soft mattress obscuring her airway. Your baby’s crib is her safe haven and because you have place it next to your bed, you are right there to check that all is well and to pick him or her up for a feed.

5: Sharing photos online

The new term for parents who choose to share their children’s photos on line is “sharenter”. As a photographer of newborns and toddlers, I always leave the choice of sharing photos to the parents of the children I photograph. And whilst I do post some images from photosessions (with parent’s permission), I never identify either the baby/child or give the parent’s name or even tag the parent in the image. I understand that sharing the highs and lows of parenthood can create friendship and be a great support, but one should always consider whether one is potentially compromising on the safety of one’s child, or even embarrassing them in later years.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, we are all parents who are just doing our best for our child/children. So take some time to think and discuss the above topics with your partner and agree on a plan of action together. Parents often judge one another rather than supporting one another. Rather use a situation which may occur as a discussion point and amiably reach a joint decision.

If you would like to share your thoughts on any other controversial topic which you have perhaps encountered, I’d love to hear about it – either leave a comment below or email me, lydia@gofotolifestylenewbornphotography.co.za

Yours in lifestyle newborn photography


photo credits: GoFoto Lifestyle Newborn Photography

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