My Sister was the first in our family to have children and I remember her first pregnancy so well. I was so excited to learn alongside her about what it really takes to raise a baby. At first we did a lot of reading both in books and on credible websites. We watched TV shows which featured parenting segments. Then it happened…the advice started to come!
“Oh you definitely have to breastfeed, it’s the best thing for your baby.”
“You need to bottle feed your baby. That way others can help during feedings and it will give you more time to take care of yourself.”
“Do you plan on co-sleeping? It’s a great way to develop a bond with baby and get some extra sleep.”
“Make sure you never co-sleep with the baby. It’s dangerous and you may smother him/her.”
By the time my Niece was ready to be born, the only thing I could think of was – I’m sure glad it’s my Sister having the baby! Holy moly!! So many choices, so many things to think of! How on earth do you decide what’s right?
There is a question that I’m sure the majority of us ask ourselves, and perhaps others, several times a week – “Am I doing the right thing?” It’s a question we keep asking ourselves until well after our children are grown. Make no wonder we are second guessing ourselves! There are mountains upon mountains of information out there which seem to dictate how we should raise our little ones. We read one article and then another pops up which contradicts the first. Then there’s all of the free advice we receive from the people in our lives. Mothers, Fathers, Siblings, Aunts, Cousins, Co-Workers, Friends, Strangers…and the list goes on and on! It seems that everyone has something to say about how we are raising our kids. So which way is the right way? Well come closer, I have a secret to tell you!
There is NO one way to raise a child! There are countless parenting styles out there. If there was one “right” way to parent, then someone would have written a book about it and that one person would be very rich! The fact is, there are so many ways to parent our children.
The key to our journey is to find the way which works for us and to be comfortable with that “style”. People are going to question your methods. They will share their own experiences and stories. They will make suggestions. Please, try to not let things like that bother you nor make you second guess yourself. You have to do what works for you, not what other people think is best.
You also have to remember that just because something works for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for someone else. Not only that, but the parenting style you use for your first little one may not work with your second or third. That’s the reason there are countless books out there on the many different aspects of parenting. They all present different solutions for different problems. Take discipline for example, a child from one family may respond very well to time outs while another from the same family may respond to having a toy taken away. Every child is different.
So take a deep breath and relax! As long as you are doing your best to help your child grow, learn and thrive, then I’m sure you are doing just fine.