6 Ways to to Be a Better Parent with Technology
When we were expecting our daughter, we knew we were likely to have breastfeeding challenges. I'd had a breast reduction many years before, back in the day when the surgery almost inevitably compromised a mom's future ability to nurse. Thanks to the Web, I discovered Breast Feeding After Reduction (BFAR), a Yahoo group for moms who'd been in the same position. Reading through the group's archives introduced us to a book with practical tips and guidance, let us read up on the pros and cons of different supplementation approaches and helped us know the signs if our baby wasn't getting enough milk. But with all that preparation, I was still devastated when a lactation consultant told me that no, my daughter wasn't getting enough milk, and I had to start giving her extra milk or formula. I cried for an hour and then posted my heartbreak to the BFAR group. Within minutes, I had consoling messages from other moms who'd been there, sympathizing with my pain and cheering me on for my efforts to deal with the situation. They got me past the tears and ready to embrace feeding my baby in whatever way she needed.
Shortly after our son was born, we had a chat with some friends who told us how they avoided using any plastic food storage, strictly for health reasons. Sounded crazy to me, but I Googled to see what scientific evidence was available for or against plastic. And I came across an extensive campaign, dating back to 1999—years before we became parents—drawing attention to the lack of scientific evidence about the safety of BPA, the plastic used in many baby bottles, including the Avent bottles we used. There was enough cause for worry that we decided to switch bottles, and I wrote an extensive blog post on about BPA and the alternative bottles we'd discovered. A year later, the BPA issue got in the headlines once again, and there was suddenly a mass exodus of parents from Avent bottles and the like. But I didn't panic: My blog post had gotten me up-to-speed on the issue in time to get my son off the questionable bottles.
As astonishing as this may sound, we had trouble getting each of our kids to sleep through the night. We read lots of sleep books and even hired a sleep consultant, but each stage of development brought a fresh batch of sleep problems. And each time, we'd find fresh inspiration on the Web. These days, the chief tool in our bedtime arsenal comes from a great idea we found online: Give your kid a "pass" at bedtime, good for one glass of water, trip to the bathroom or whatever the latest request might be. With this tip we were able to go from 90 minutes of bedtime drama to just 10 or 15—giving us back our evenings!
Find babysitters and parenting coaches online