Put down that book

You can’t learn to parent from books or websites. Women learned to be moms from other moms throughout history, so to me, forums and twitter and blogs are more informative than any book out there.

When my first was born, she was not an easy baby. I started to read about High Needs babies from Dr. Sears. He recommended nursing on demand and babywearing. I worked outside the home, and could do neither (husband did wear her a lot, but he couldn’t nurse on demand). I put the book down, I got rid of all baby books I had, except for a first aid one, and decided then and there to not read another parenting book. I wasn’t going to be able to do everything perfectly the way they say to, so I was going to rely on instincts, my husband (who is amazing with babies and can “read” them better than anyone I’ve ever met), and other moms to guide me.

Best. Decision. Ever. I have no guilt about cosleeping, or breastfeeding for too long, or for not giving solid foods early. I nurse pretty much exclusively for the first year, but if any of the babies showed an interest in solid food, I started out small. Some yogurt. Mashed potatoes. Avocado. Soup. Bits of bread in soup or marinara sauce. Not a meal. Breastmilk is the meal. Solid food is for play, and entertains baby while we eat. Gradually, baby eats more solid food as we go. Whatever I have, no jarred food. Not because I’m against jarred food, I just don’t see the point. I have a couple in the cupboard in case he wants to eat and I haven’t cooked a baby friendly meal. World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for a year, so why do we push solids so early? It sells books. Makes women paranoid about giving the right foods at the right time in the right way. “He doesn’t want solid food, maybe I should skip a feeding at dinner so he’ll eat,” and it snowballs from there. My first child didn’t want solid food until she was a year old. Not interested in it. Still not a big eater, that one.

I co-sleep because it feels right. I am not a heavy sleeper. I don’t take medications. I nurse laying down, and baby falls asleep next to me. When the baby is a newborn and can’t nurse laying down, I nurse sitting up and when baby is done eating, I put baby up in burp position and let him or her sleep there. Only lasts a bit over a month before we can do the side lying position, and then we’re golden. I make sure the bed is safe from excessive pillows, no gaps between mattress and wall (no headboard either). I didn’t really need to be told that.

If I get concerned about something, I ask other mom’s if it’s normal. When my son wouldn’t let go of his “little guy” I asked on Twitter if that was normal. Moms said yes it is. I don’t need to buy a book to tell me it’s normal and when it will stop and how to stop it. It’s normal, let’s move on. For a control freak, which I am, I’m very laid back about parenting a baby. Babyhood should be enjoyed, not controlled and measured. Baby’s grow in their own way. Let them be themselves. If you pay attention, you’ll know when they’re ready to eat, to sleep on their own, to potty train.

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