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5 Parenting "rules" to ditch in 2013

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Leave these parenting methods behind

Tired parenting methods are so last year! Start the new year fresh by ditching those parenting rules that you (and your children!) just don't need to live by.
Woman breastfeeding baby

1

Keeping Baby on a strict feeding schedule

Instead of trying to form an eating schedule for your baby, let her set the tone for her eating needs in her infancy. Your newborn's tummy is so tiny — roughly the size of a walnut — so she may only take in a little bit of milk at a time and digest it rather quickly. Though it may seem that she's eating (and you are nursing) constantly, avoid the urge to put Baby on a strict timed feeding schedule and continue to feed Baby on cue.

There is a caveat to this "non-rule," however. In his very infant stage, a newborn may need to be woken for his nighttime feedings every three to four hours if he has not yet gained back his birth weight, is premature or jaundiced, or has other complications that may make him too weak to wake himself for a much-needed nighttime feeding.

Beyond special circumstances and those first few weeks of life, however, you can let Baby sleep through the night as long as he's continuing to gain weight.

Avoid these top 10 breastfeeding mistakes >>

2

Letting Baby cry it out

While many a parent may tout the benefits of letting Baby cry it out to get him to sleep, this method can actually have negative repercussions. Yes, there has been success in getting Baby to sleep with the cry-it-out method, but this controversial method can also lead Baby to distrust you. After all, without the ability to talk yet, crying is one of Baby's most useful forms of expressions. Do you really want to ignore that?

3

Giving Baby rice cereal before 6 months

While you may have heard that giving Baby a bit of rice cereal in her bottle can help her sleep longer, avoid the temptation to introduce rice cereal until at least 6 or 7 months. Studies show that babies who were given cereal grains like rice or oats at 3 months of age were at higher risk for celiac disease triggered by an allergy to wheat gluten than those who were not given grains until 7 months of age.

Learn more about celiac disease >>

4

Letting the kids rule the roost

Sure you want to be your kids' friend, but permissive parenting can lead to spoiled kids who have no idea about proper behavior and realistic life expectations. You can still be a laid-back parent without letting your kids walk all over you. Kids need their parents for guidance.

Are you friends with your kids? Find out how close is too close >>

5

Suffering with self-induced mom guilt

Give up the guilt in 2013 and don’t look back. Beating yourself up over the fact that you have to work a day job will only stress you out.

Your child needs you to be there for the important stuff — and those are the memories he’ll hold dear throughout his life. So make it a point to be at your child’s first holiday performance and his soccer games, and forgive yourself for not being able to walk him to the school bus stop. Trust us, he won’t want you to in a few years anyway!

More on parenting styles

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