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to think DH is wrong and parenting has changed a bit in 20 years?

(33 Posts)
HPonEverything Wed 10-Aug-11 11:43:47

Long story short this is my first DC, but my DH has two 20ish year old DDs from a previous marriage. He tells me that he did 'everything' when they were babies and so he knows everything already and doesn't need to do any preparation.

My view is that so much has changed in 20 years and advice is very different now - there's all the cot death and car seat safety stuff, advice about feeding is different, and even nappies have changed in that time surely?

It feels like he's being really blase about it all because he's been there done that, and I'm actually pretty concerned that he might do something that was advisable 20-years-ago but is now a big no no.

He's an exceptionally busy man and I can't get him to sit still long enough to read anything, but I don't think he would take any notice anyway as it seems like he's being pretty cocky about already knowing it all. By contrast I'm a real sponge and read everything I can find, but I worry that when it comes to actually putting it into practice it will be a real battle to get him to listen to me that what I am saying is actually the correct advice.

Any advice or shall I just chill out?

MockingbirdsNotForSale Wed 10-Aug-11 11:51:18

I don't know what exactly is different from 20 years ago apart from exclusively bfing until 6 months then wean. I think back to sleep was recommended then too, but I am not sure. However, I think I would just ignore him, do your sponge stuff (I am the same) and when your DC arrives he will feel all fingers and thumbs for a while as it has been 20 years! I'd wait until the DC arrives then tell him that there's new stuff advised by the MW or HV and he MUST comply!! Congratulations btw smile.

nocake Wed 10-Aug-11 11:51:56

I'm sure his experience will be useful when the baby arrives but you're right, advice does change and he should be aware of that. I'm not sure how you get through to him though. Maybe drop it in conversation. Tell him about something you've learned and ask him if the advice was the same when he was raising his first two.

If he really won't listen then you may need to just let it go for now and pick up any problems as they occur.

BustySinclair Wed 10-Aug-11 11:53:47

i dont think you have to read every word and absorb it and believe it about parenting

just because advice might be older than 20 years old, doesnt mean its wrong, or right. I dont think i read a parenting book in my life (shudders) i just went with my instinct or asked my mum

20+ years on, everyone is still alive and healthy

minipie Wed 10-Aug-11 11:57:08

"it will be a real battle to get him to listen to me that what I am saying is actually the correct advice"

His opinion will be valid too though. Just because you read something in a book doesn't mean it's correct.

How have his DDs turned out?

saggarmakersbottomknocker Wed 10-Aug-11 11:58:36

I have children in their 20s. Things haven't changed that much.

CMOTdibbler Wed 10-Aug-11 11:58:39

Apart from feeding when they are tiny (making up ff, and weaning) and carseats when they are older, I don't think that a lot has changed in 20 years.

Your dh does have a lot of practical experience, so unless its really safety critical, I'd not worry. One of ds's best friends dads has children in their late 30's and grandchildren when she was born, and although he does stuff differently from how her mum might like, he is a really fabulous, hands on dad - but would never read a parenting book or go to a class

Bandwithering Wed 10-Aug-11 11:59:49

I can sympathise with you. It must be weird when such a monumental FIRST for you is a 'oh-yeah-bin-there-done-that-it's-all-cool' for him. How exasperating. Sounds like his way of doing things is to fly by the seat of his pants, and he backs this up with the 'proof' (ie, his adult children are fine).

It's good that he's not phased though. When the baby is crying at 11pm and 1 am and three am and five am you can hand him over to his father and say 'parent this baby'. wink

AMumInScotland Wed 10-Aug-11 12:01:58

I don't think cot death or car safety advice has changed particularly in the past 20 years. Nappies may have changed a little, but the idea that you take the dirty one off, wipe the bum, and put the new one on is still about the same!

Feeding - breast feeding advice won't have changed any. Making up bottles may a little, but you should follow the instructions on the tin anyway, so I doubt he'd be working on remembered quantities etc.

So, I don't think there is anything that will make a massive difference to your baby's welfare.

It's normal to worry, but I think the only thing that matters is that, if you say to him "Current advice is X now" he listens to you and doesn't ignore you and think he knows better - and that's about his attitude rather than what he remembers from last time round.

HoneyPablo Wed 10-Aug-11 12:02:57

Parenting hasn't really changed in 20 years. Although DS is 22 now, I still see parenting every day as I work in a day nursery. Some things are different, such as waiting longer to wean and there is much more support for breast feeding. There is also a tendancy for people to rely much more on 'experts' instead of following your instincts and taking cues from your baby.
Twenty years is a long time, though, and he will have forgotten what it was like for the day to day things.It will be a learning experience for both of you.

BooyHoo Wed 10-Aug-11 12:03:51

i didn't read anything with my first. i read lots with my second. i was blissfully ignorant the first time round and a nervous wreck with worry the second. let your dh do this pregnancy his way. i bet he is far more relaxed than you. dont take that from him.

HPonEverything Wed 10-Aug-11 12:04:19

I'll just chill out then, I'm a natural worrier, and yes I'm very very grateful he's got the hands-on experience as I have none! I'm certain he'll be a fabulous dad but I just don't want to be arguing about things once the baby is here, I'd rather do it now I suppose.

Thanks all!

redexpat Wed 10-Aug-11 12:04:27

Darling I know you've done all of this before, and I'm so glad that you have experience to draw on, but I'd really like to make sure we're on the same page before DC arrives. I found this book/leaflet which I think is really good and I would feel much happier if you could have a look.

OR you could get something on audiobook so he can listen to it on the way to/from work.

Pandemoniaa Wed 10-Aug-11 12:04:29

I've got children in their 20s (well one is actually 30) and can confirm that nothing extraordinarily different is now recommended. The one exception is laying little babies down to sleep on their backs - in the early 1980s this was assumed to be unwise in case they were sick and choked. But to be honest, you'll soon find that babies haven't read the parenting books and there really are no hard and fast rules that apply to each and every child. So perhaps a degree of compromise might be the best approach here because your dh does have practical experience and you might find this very useful indeed.

tiddleypompom Wed 10-Aug-11 12:05:38

It sounds perhaps like it is his perceived lack of interest/excitement in this new baby that is causing you to feel hurt? Lots of expectant mothers are frustrated by DH/Ps who don't show enough enthusiasm (at least the sort that absorbs books, avidly watches OBEM and wants to know every movement felt). I'm not knocking this by the way - just a suggestion that the crux of the issue is less about your genuine concern that he may use a now-forbidden parenting technique on your newborn?

MoominsAreScary Wed 10-Aug-11 12:06:08

Things have changed alot since between having my 16 year old 8 year old and my 22 week old

Car seats
Weaning is later now and they advise weaning with finger foods
You can use grow bags now instead of blankets
Bottles are made up differently
Keep them in your room till 6 months

strictlovingmum Wed 10-Aug-11 12:07:03

I agree, very little has changed in the past 20 years, all the sensible things are still advised and in practice, exceptions of exclusive bf and weaning the babies. I am sure you two will find happy medium and middle ground when it comes to upbringing of your dc's, and in some cases I personally value "Old is Gold" theory. Your dh experience and confidence will slot into place. I am Good luck.

mumeeee Wed 10-Aug-11 12:08:48

My youngest DD is 19, Back to sleep was recommended then. Weaning was changing a little 4months was still the norm but it was only shortly after that it changed to 6months. You don't have to read all the books and absorb everything, Babies are all different and don't always conform to what the books
This is you DH's baby as well as yours. He should have an equal say so don't get him to sit down and listen to you but try and get him to discuss his views and also discuss yours.
Disposable and reusable nappies were both around when my DD's were babies.

diddl Wed 10-Aug-11 12:11:58

I don´t think that things have changed that much.

And remember that some stuff is advice-but not compulsary!

mummytotwoboys Wed 10-Aug-11 12:14:19

YABU babies are babies, chill out and be glad you have someone with experience to help you (who isnt your annoying but well meaning DM). Although its worrying when they are your first there really is nothing to worry about! so relax!

Carrotsandcelery Wed 10-Aug-11 12:15:44

I think many men are like this during pregnancy. They don't have the baby living in THEIR body, they don't have the hormones getting them ready etc. Most of them go through a period of shock and adjustment once the baby arrives and THAT is when the sudden interest in "how to do" kicks in.

They don't do it on purpose. It just isn't as pressing to them until the baby arrives.

I am sure once baby arrives you will find a road through it together and he will mix his experience and knowledge with your research and together you will be fantastic parents.


ShoutyHamster Wed 10-Aug-11 12:19:33

You could say - 'Well, advice changes all the time, but the most radical difference between your other children and this one will be that they have different parents - and so the way WE do things will doubtless also be different - don't you agree?'

I would be very hmm if I were in this situation and my DH had this attitude. Yes, he has 'experience' - but not of being the other parent along with YOU, in THIS family. You could gently remind him that he, like you, will be parenting your JOINT child for the first time... and if there's any doubt about what 'path' you both want to follow, the default setting will be talking it over as equal parents... it most certainly WON'T be deferring back to what happened twenty years ago, in another family, where the mother of this child wasn't present.

I think that it is more than the implication that you are the junior partner - though that's irritating enough - it's also a reminder that he has done it before, with other people. I'd hate that too. Realign his thinking on this one - it's not a third baby - it's the first baby in this family.

NonnoMum Wed 10-Aug-11 12:21:46

My sympathies. My DH had two late teens when we had a baby together and A LOT has changed (or maybe he ignored all the advice first time round too). Please try and enjoy it though - but you may find you lock horns from time to time but it will get easier as you grow more experienced and confident.

My DH's first two
-slept through 12 hours from 2 weeks
- slept on their fronts
- the teat widened in their bottles and the formula thickened up with baby rice
- had dummies

There are some other minor things that he hadn't picked up on, like not giving honey to under ones, and the amount of salt in stock cubes (obviously when a bit older - he didn't stick stock cubes in their bottles).
I also insisted that no one who had been smoking could hold the baby (like his now grown up DD) and a few other modern parents paranoia like that.

But it ain't all bad, I did go on to have another two with him - he was pretty good at nappy changes!

Needless to say our babies together didn't sleep though for months and months, weren't "easy" babies like his first two and eventually we found OUR way of parenting together which was different from his first round.

You're the mummy, be as bossy as you can be. NO ONE argues with a new mother.

Oh, and how much of it was true and how much was selective memory I don't know but I am sure you have developed already the second wife's "yes, dear" random nod whilst keeping your finders crossed behind your back!

niceguy2 Wed 10-Aug-11 12:24:37

Babies are still babies. Be it now, twenty years ago or a thousand years ago.

The main lessons are exactly the same. Keep them fed, safe & warm.

Yes there are some differences such as car seats but it's not something you really need to sit down and study like for an exam. Just deal with it as it goes on.

I suspect what's really happening is that this is a first for you so you want to experience the whole thing whereas to him it's "Been there, done that".

It's actually something I'm quite conscious of with my partner and my stepson. My two are significantly older and I've had two other stepchildren from a previous relationship. So I do sometimes fail to see the "wonder" cos I've been there done it several times over. But I do try to make an effort to see it through my partner's eyes for whom it's her first time.

HPonEverything Wed 10-Aug-11 12:28:06

Thanks all - a lot of you have said stuff that is spookily spot on (especially the perceived lack of interest, I can't even get him to help name the baby but that's a whole other story).

But as carrotsandcelery says I think it'll all come together once the baby is in air-breathing existence, even if it's nameless til it's 4, and I know we'll make a good parenting team.

Moomins we've already had the "needs to be in our room til 6 months" argument discussion, so that's an excellent example of what I am talking about.

And as my absolute most-digestible-and-favourite-book-so-far is the Mumsnet Guide, it would be very wrong of me to dismiss ANY of it as being advice not to be followed smile

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