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Top parenting trends of 2013

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

From home birth to techy tots

Some parenting trends really began to take off in 2013, while others saw a decline. Which trends do you think made the list?

Boy using a tablet computer

From having your baby at home to natural parenting trends to tablets for your tot, 2013 saw many parenting trends really gain steam — and others, like routine male infant circumcision, begin to lose their appeal.

1

Home birth on the rise

More and more moms-to-be are moving away from the hospital to welcome the births of their babies in the privacy and warmth of their own homes. Facebook pages like Birth Without Fear chronicle birth with an emphasis on home birth to help women become empowered during a time in their lives when their medical care has been traditionally given over to the medical community — this is appreciated by many, but others wish to have more control over this pivotal life experience. While natural childbirth is still a goal of many, having a baby at home is becoming more appealing to even celebrity moms.

2

Natural parenting

While it has yet to take hold of the majority of parents, a more natural-based approach to parenting continues to trend upwards. While breastfeeding is now initiated at birth by moms over 70 percent of the time, other natural parenting trends like cloth diapering and co-sleeping are a little slower to catch on. Overall, however, the drive to practice less mainstream parenting techniques is increasing. While our parents — and their parents — enjoyed the trappings of “modern” parenting and the gear that became popular in decades past, such as strollers and disposable diapers, some of today’s parents are relying on instinctive parenting and moving away from all of the must-have items that have become staples on baby registries.

3

Tech-savvy tots

As parents enjoy — depend on — their handheld gadgets, kids are getting in on the action, too. Cell phones are being gifted to younger and younger children, and even toddlers have their own tablets and apps on their parents’ devices. While some gear is being frowned upon (such as the iPad potty or Fisher-Price’s iPad bouncy seat), gadget use in youngsters is on the rise and will likely continue to be as technology cruises ahead at a rapid pace. Hand a preschooler a Little Scholar tablet (School Zone, $200) or a Kindle Fire (Amazon, $139) and they’ll have it up and running in no time — but make sure that their use is moderated, of course. With proper supervision and ensuring that they don’t have access to inappropriate use (the Little Scholar gets a +1 for this, as it is extremely secure for little ones), your child can not only have fun but they can learn a lot too.

4

Leaving boys intact

Circumcision is becoming less common, even as the American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed its policy to state that the benefits outweigh the risks. But many parents do not agree that removing healthy, normal tissue is a good idea. Even in families where other family members are circumcised, parents are choosing to leave their boys intact — and in other countries, the practice of circumcision has never really caught on. Will circumcision continue to trend downward? It will be interesting to see.

Writer’s note: School Zone provided a Little Scholar tablet for review. All opinions are my own.

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