Leona O'Neill: Babies in a cage? Parenting trends and predictions for 2018

From bathing babies in lard to putting tots in cages hung outside apartment windows so they get enough fresh air, odd-sounding child-rearing trends are nothing new. So what's predicted to be 'hot' in the parenting world this year? Liver soup? A diet of tripe? Leona O'Neill finds out

Forget birthdays – half-birthdays are predicted to become a thing this year

WITH the new year well under way a whole host of fresh parenting trends are surfacing for 2018. From fancy teething jewellery to celebrating half birthdays, we have it all ahead of us this year.

Parenting trends have been ‘a thing’ since the turn of the last century. In 1910 mothers were told not to think ugly thoughts to prevent them from having ugly babies, they began bathing babies in lard, they were informed that left handedness was wrong – and painful brace correction began to trend – and that holding your baby too much was a bad thing.

In the 1920s the trends were to keep your baby outside all day, choose ‘tougher’ names and to toilet train newborns. In the 1930s pregnant women were discouraged from travelling at all and to use ‘cages’ – placed outside windows sometimes three and four stories up – to help baby get the recommended amount of fresh air and sunshine during the day.

In 1940s liver soup for babies was trending, as was toxic and vile-tasting nail varnish to prevent thumb sucking. In the 1950s the act of non-baby-proofing was all the rage, with experts warning parents not to make areas safe in the home, but instead encourage children to learn what was safe and what was not from Mum yelling at them. This was the era that saw mums leave babies to cry – with doctors advising that it was good exercise for their offspring – and also feed them tripe.

The 1960s saw giving black coffee to babies trend, as well as pregnant women "smoking up to half a packet of cigarettes safely". Babies sucking their thumbs became trendy again and experts discouraged parents from holding their babies because it would make them future socialists. Liver for pregnant women was trending in the 1970s.

In the 1980s trends were for pregnant women to gain 30lbs, as experts advised. The 1990s saw pregnant women play classical music to their bumps and in the 2000s pregnant women not cutting their hair trended since experts said they "couldn’t be trusted to make big decisions".

So what of 2018? What will we be doing this year in parentsville?

This year will see parents move away from more baby-ish furniture in their little one’s bedrooms and move towards more ‘mature’ and ‘modern’ nurseries. Throw out the cute teddies and baby rabbits, think monochrome-themed furniture, boho chic bedrooms and contemporary designs.

Wooden toys will also trend this year, with parents shelving the mountain of plastic toys that would normally accompany a baby in favour of more natural materials. Wooden toys will fit right into the sleek, modern nurseries of 2018.

Baby prep will be a big thing in 2018. Take note: this is not packing your bag and getting your other half to memorise the route to the hospital in preparation for the big day. This is a whole new level. Pre-baby bucket lists and vision boards are the new big trend. Preparing charts that detail the babies age and milestones, having comment cards made to garner advice from other parents, designing check lists for each trimester and each milestone is order of the day. And cooking and freezing a month’s worth of dinners is also included in said prep.

Weighted blankets will trend this year. Known for the their calming, sleep-inducing super powers, these blankets are said to be among the most effective tools for helping difficult-to-calm, high-energy sensory children get to sleep.

Remember when you were a child and you’d build forts in your living room using blankets and bedsheets? Permanent forts – as in ones made by a fancy trading company not out of your ma's stripy bedsheets – will trend this year. All manner of lavish designs will be available online including those created underneath raised beds, ones covered in twinkling fairy lights, teepee-style designs and see-through creations.

‘Mum jewellery’ will trend this year also. It’s not sparkly diamonds or shimmering gold, but large chunky jewellery that can also double up as a teething aid for your little one as their gnashers come through. With all the appearances of contemporary jewellery, these pieces made from wood or silicone are safe for bub to chew.

According to one Australian brand, Bubba Chew – – "silicone jewellery is the perfect accessory for mums, by combining style and safety".

And when we’re on the subject of jewellery, an American trend making it’s way to our shores for 2018 is the ‘push present’ – a gift bestowed upon the new mother by the father for, well, giving him the gift of a child.

And one of the stranger trends for 2018 is celebrating half birthdays, so prepare yourself for the expense of throwing a party for little Jonny turning five and a half.

There you have it. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 for the first month to get full access

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: