4 Ways to Avoid Gender Stereotypes for Your Baby

Before a baby is born, parents often daydream about who their little one will be when they grow up. While it can be fun to daydream, it’s important for parents to remember that they have absolutely no idea who their little person will be. One way parents sometimes try to ground themselves as they think about their baby, is by finding out their sex. Parents sometimes feel like knowing whether their baby is a boy or girl will give them some clues about their personality or what their interests in life will be. In reality, the parts that show up on the ultrasound don’t tell us how a baby will identify and don’t tell us anything about their future personalities and interests.

If you’re committed to keeping an open mind about your baby, it can be important to keep gender stereotypes out of your nursery. Check out the tips below help give your baby the freedom to explore who they are without the pressure of gender stereotypes from birth.

gender stereotypes
Image via Pixabay

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Avoid needlessly gendered items

Tiny onesies and impossibly small socks are some of the cutest items in the world. Something that makes them not-so-cute though: sayings and images that are needlessly gendered and serve only to perpetuate stereotypes. When babies are born we don’t know anything about who they’ll grow to be and outfits that say things like “Daddy’s Tough Guy” or “Mommy’s Sassy Princess” serve only to push outdated stereotypes on tiny babies.

Let others know you don’t want needlessly gendered items

While not buying needlessly gendered items is one way to keep them out of your nursery, making sure others know you don’t want them will ensure you don’t end up with all kinds of gifts you’ll never use.

Avoid the ‘gender reveal’ party

Gender reveal parties can be fun. They also push stereotypes and contribute to the understanding of gender that perpetuates patriarchal violence and missed opportunities for girls and women. Instead of hosting a “gender reveal” (which actually reveals the sex anyway) host a nice dinner with friends and family and simply talk about all you’ll do to celebrate and support your baby, no matter who they are) as they grow.

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Be mindful of how others talk about baby

Often, gendered language is used to discuss babies before they’re even born. It’s not uncommon for people to say things like, “well, he’s a boy, so I’m sure he’s kicking up a storm” or “what a sassy girl with all those kicks, you better watch her when she’s a teenager.” When people make comments like this, be sure to let them know that your baby’s personality isn't defined by their sex and that you can’t wait to see who they are as they grow!

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4 Ways to Avoid Gender Stereotypes for Your Baby

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at JuliaPelly.com ... More

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1 comment

  1. Sherry says:

    Personally I find articles like this “Avoid Gender Stereotypes for your baby” to be what is pushing babies to grow up confused. Like everything else we teach our babies it’s important to teach them about their REAL gender and how to be that. Perhaps I sound old fashioned or whatever you want to call me, but I don’t find it ok to raise a child telling them they can be either sex they want to be. I raised my 3 sons to be boys, I didn’t offer them the option to wear my clothes if they felt more comfortable blah blah blah. They grew up as they should have being MEN! I will do the same with my new Granddaughter help raise her to be what she was born as “A Girl”! I buy her beautiful girly clothes and girly toys. Stop putting these ridiculous thoughts into new Parent’s minds and go back to the original way of raising babies, raise them as the gender they were born!

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