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From tummy time to “smart” pumps, it’s an understatement to say a lot has changed since millennials were babies themselves. And while everyone can get on board with safe sleep guidelines that have changed over 30-plus years (buh-bye bumpers; hello, swaddles), there are some things that have boomers scratching their heads. Here, four millennial baby trends that are confusing the hell out their own parents.
1. Baby-Led Weaning
Why is that 6-month-old banging a chicken drumstick on their head? The answer, more likely than not, is baby-led weaning, a solid foods introduction method that throws all those precious spoon-fed purees to the wind in favor of self-feeding. It’s messy, it’s counterintuitive (see: chicken drumstick), and, no, to Grammy’s horror, we’re not keeping it to just pees and carrots. Millennial parents see the holistic benefits of putting the control in baby’s hands, offering a 360-degree sensory experience that—in theory—opens their palates to more flavors and textures, builds a healthier relationship to food and even promotes better hand-eye coordination. Again, this is based on anecdotal evidence. So, to Grammy’s point, is the fear of choking, and the mess—my God the mess!—really worth getting on the trend-wagon? To new parents? Absolutely.
2. The Sleep Obsession
We dare you to get in the way of a sleep-training parent and their schedule and make it out alive. Millennial parents don’t just see sleep training as a stage; it’s a lifestyle, and it requires full-body and full-mind commitment. From wake windows and white noise machines to investing in $500 monitors and 4 billion different swaddles and sleep sacks, the business of sleep is serious. (We know one Boomer who, with a raised eyebrow, refers to the Snoo as “the robot that’s allowed to rock my grandson to sleep.”) Take your pick from the libraries of methodologies and countless sleep influencers guiding new parents to (fingers crossed) a restful night’s sleep with their special tricks. Bottom line: think twice before you ask a millennial parent, “Why in heaven’s sake are you waking that baby from her nap?” because said parent might just release the kraken on you. (But please forgive her because she’s sleep-deprived.)
3. The Scandi Earth Tone Minimalist Aesthetic
Nana and Papa are totally on board with gender neutral clothing—there will be no “Ladies Love Me” onesies gifted at this shower (phew). But what boomers can’t wrap their heads around is the boring color palette all over Instagram and Pinterest. Fine, the walls of the nursery can be “Eucalyptus,” but must every single outfit he wears be styled for the Hamptons? And let’s talk about the toys. Millennials can’t get enough of “interior design-friendly” Scandi wooden toys in all their restrained glory. Maybe these paired-back Montessori toys really do prepare children for “a life of learning,” but you were playing with Fischer Price light-up whack-a-moles all damn day and you turned out fine!
4. They Check Everything with Emily Oster
The grandparents may have raised four kids on their own who grew up to become well-adjusted, resilient and kind neurosurgeons, but if their “lived experience” advice isn’t thoroughly researched and data-backed by an Ivy League economist, can it really be that helpful? For millennial parents, that answer is no. (Sorry, Mom.) Emily Oster’s data-driven approach to parenting has made decision-making through the pandemic doable for so many parents. From her newsletters answering specific questions on COVID, school, travel and risk assessment to her AMA Instagram stories (and of course, her three books), Oster has become the all-you-can-eat information buffet for scared parents, whether she’s talking about vaccines or breastfeeding. That said, if Grandma does want to offer her babysitting skills, any new parent would happily say yes.