From baby-led weaning to gender reveals: the top parenting trends of the decade

No more puree: baby-led weaning is all rage.
No more puree: baby-led weaning is all rage. Photo: Getty Images

As we get ready to welcome 2020, it's time to reflect on parenting over the past ten years - the good, the bad, the ridiculous and the just plain what were we thinking?

Gender reveals

What began with a cake in 2008, culminated in the death of a grandmother in 2019 when a gender reveal went very very wrong. While the beginning of the decade saw cupcakes and balloons, parents striving to come up with unique ways to announce their baby's sex lead to increasingly complex, strange and downright dangerous methods. 

In Australia, police issued warning to parents-to-be doing doughnuts, while in the US, a man was fined hundreds of thousands for sparking a wild fire. We saw lasagnes, nails and funny balloon mishaps.

In an epic twist, earlier this year, the woman who reportedly "invented" the trend spoke publicly about her regrets - and added that it was time for them to be cancelled. 

Baby-Led Weaning

For the last few decades, babies were either breast or bottle fed exclusively for the first months of their lives – just how many depended on the recommendation of the day – then were introduced to solids, which were generally given in a certain order and almost always included some kind of puree. After babies adapted to swallowing pureed food, you would progressively give them more chunky versions until finally you would introduce "finger food".

Then a couple of years ago, a new phrase was born, "baby-led weaning", which is basically the lazy person's version of introducing solids because you get to skip the first couple of time-consuming steps. The idea is that babies by six months should be able to sit upright, grab bite-sized pieces of food and place it in their own mouths, meaning more variety of food, greater control over how much they eat and more independence.

For anyone who spent hours steaming fish, cooking vegies, stewing fruit and blending ingredients which were then stored in tiny containers in the freezer, "baby-led weaning" is otherwise known as bliss.


Baby moons/Solo baby moons

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when the term "Babymoon" was first used, but the trend of heading away for a last hurrah before baby arrives has grown steadily - and isn't going anywhere. Kim and Kanye enjoyed a "Babymoon" in Paris in 2013 before welcoming their first child North, while Harry and Megs had a countryside get-away before Archie was born. 2019 also saw mothers disappearing on solo babymoons for some alone time before the chaos.


​With the ubiquity of social media came the rise of "sharenting", and the question of just how much is too much when it comes to posting our kids' lives online? There were discussions around privacy, law and and the longer-term implications of our children's digital footprint. But in 2019, another kind of discussion emerged: older children wanting control over the images their parents were posting.

When Gwyneth Paltrow posted an Instagram selfie while skiing with her 14-year-old daughter Apple, her teen bit back.

 "Mom we have discussed this," she wrote. "You may not post anything without my consent."

"We are moving into uncharted waters on the internet, and photos of their kids that parents might previously have stuck in an album or emailed to a relative, are now shared and made widely available on sites like Instagram," says Dr Wayne Warburton, Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology at Macquarie University.

"This public sharing of childhood through photos also moves many of those strange competitions that happen between parents online, and we are starting to ask: what are the consequences?"


A post shared by Gwyneth Paltrow (@gwynethpaltrow) on

Parenting labels

First it was the "helicopter" parent versus the "free-range" parent, then the "lawnmower", "snow plough" and even a "unicorn". Before this decade, the closest you would get to labelling a parent was probably "good" or "bad". Now parents are labelled based on their style of parenting, and it seems there is something to fit everyone.

Whether you are always hovering close by to your child, ready to swoop in and fix any problem they have (helicopter) or are more relaxed and eager to let them try things out for themselves, with less parental supervision (free-range), or maybe you are one step up from hovering and are actually charging forth in front of your child, removing all obstacles and challenges from their path to give them an easy ride (lawnmower or snow plough). Or perhaps you see yourself as a unicorn: imperfect, enjoy a drink and don't care what other people think of how you parent.

Push presents

Like the "babymoon", this one could easily have been around for a while, it just didn't have a name. But now it is all about the prize at the end of a hard labour, and sadly, we are not talking about the bundle of joy in your arms. No today's push present isn't a baby, or even a bunch of flowers from your other half. It is an expensive gift bestowed for pushing out that baby. Think sparkling diamond ring, earrings, watch, or other mega-expensive piece of jewellery, or maybe even a car.

And like the babymoon, we can thank the rise of Instagram and celebrities for really taking push presents to another level. Kylie Jenner reportedly received a black Ferrari from her then rapper boyfriend Travis Scott after the birth of daughter Stormi in February 2018, while her sisters Kourtney Kardashian and Kim Kardashian West each received diamonds. Rocker Pink got a custom-built motorcycle while some celebs have opted for luxury brand handbags.

Holding your child back from school

Once upon a time, people had a baby and roughly five years later they sent their child to school. But as more parents sent their four-year-olds to school while others with almost five-year-old decided to wait, and states such as NSW refused to bring in new minimum age guidelines, the result was an up to 18-month age range of students in one class.

As debate raged about the right time to send your child to school, a new term was coined: "holding your child back from school".

Suddenly sending a younger child to school because they seemed ready was akin to child abuse, as everyone from teachers, psychologists and even the postman debated whether or not "holding a child back" was best.

As a result, next decade you will be less likely to see a four year-old starting kindergarten in NSW and more likely to see an almost 19-year-old with a full beard graduating high school.

The rise of the Threenager/F***ing Fours

We have all heard of the terrible twos. That period in a parent's life when their once precious baby starts throwing tantrums because of an increasing desire for independence coupled with frustration.

Then someone noticed turning three did not mean the end of tantrums but just added in a dose of attitude and precociousness usually associated with adolescence and the term "threenager" was born. Typical "threenager" behaviour includes saying "No" 583 time in one day, crying because their sandwich was cut into squares instead of triangles, crying because their sandwich was cut into triangles instead of squares and crying because … yes that about sums it up.

F***ing Fours is largely different to the threenager period because they are taller and stronger and louder, meaning they are able to cause actual bodily harm to you and can pierce your eardrum with their screams. They also like to choose their own clothes so every time they leave the house they look like a homeless crack addict.