For thousands of years (c’mon, don’t quote me, I’m not an historian) parents have been raising children. For thousands of years this has happened. It’s been without books, blogs, the “interweb” and diapers.com and, frankly, I think the world, mostly, has seemed to do just fine. Babies have grown up, for the most part, into happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults. The tiny humans have, mostly, grown into larger humans that have thrived enough to, shocking, procreate and create more tiny humans!
Why then, as a new parent do I fall into the trap that I feel many new parents fall prey to: feeling the need to read, research and stress out over every single step of our new parenthood. What happened to instinct? What happened to just raising your baby?
Things that there is, in my opinion, simply too much information out there on include: diaper rash, nursing to sleep, colds, toys, teething, immunizations, starting babies on food, sleep training, and so on and so on and so on. I know that there is a lot of GOOD information on all these topics but there is just as much bad information and honestly, my brain is starting to hurt from trying to sort through the piles of malarkey to find those gems of advice. Admittedly, I find myself going to a few sources for information on the regular (Semi Crunchy Mama, Badass Breastfeeders of San Diego, San Diego Breastfeeding Center, KellyMom, just to name a few…) and I try, somewhat unsuccessfully I might add, to avoid all the other “crap”.
But, what if it’s not crap? I wonder to myself (literally, because the only other person in my house right now with the baby-daddy/husband off on deployment is my 5 1/2 month old…). What if someone has a new idea that would work better? I find myself scrolling through “just to see”. And don’t even get me started on Google searching. Talk about a Can o’ Worms!
Here’s the thing. I want to rely on instinct. I think my instincts are, generally, pretty good. Solid, I’d say, for a mom who is new to this whole mom thing. I’ve taken a gander around at other moms long enough to know what I want to do and what I’d like to try** and avoid. When I find myself unsure, I reach out to other mamas whom I know, from my interactions with them, have similar desires for raising their kiddos and similar beliefs. Will we all always agree? Probably not. For example, I had our daughter immunized (separate post on immunizations to follow). Not everyone does that. Everyone DOES have their opinions about this and I respect that my opinion differs from some of these same mothers whom I adore and respect. It does not bother me one iota that they have chosen, because of their instincts, to not immunize their child. And I suspect, because they still interact with me, that it does not bother them that I have chosen to immunize our daughter.
That all being said, if as an older, well-educated, relatively self-assured woman, I am overwhelmed with the amount of information that is thrown at new parents, I can only begin to imagine how other parents – younger and/or older than me – are feeling. I think being a parent is hard enough without having to sort through all this information and to “know” what is right and what is wrong – or to be made to feel guilty when you don’t know. My advice to new parents: trust your instincts. Every baby is different, and you will learn to know what your kiddo is telling you in their cries, their smiles, their looks and you will learn to know what they need – until they can tell you and then, well…you still have to trust your instincts, I think. 🙂
**Notice here that I don’t say “what I don’t want to do” — and I’m purposeful about this. I have learned to “never say never” because you never do know what this life called “being a mom” is going to throw at you, and when, and how you are going to handle it…so, just take notes.