There is an overwhelming amount of info out there on parenting your new baby…(on parenting in general!) Unfortunately not all of it is good. Case in point, one of the most popular series of books out there, the “What to Expect” series, has some misinformation about breastfeeding (which may possibly lead to difficulties in the breastfeeding relationship and supply issues if followed) and also other things here and there I personally disagree with vehemently.
Side note: I also would recommend to anyone to stay FAR FAR AWAY from anything by Gary Ezzo (“On Becoming Babywise”/Childwise/etc, and the “Growing Kids Gods Way” Christian “Parenting” classes) … Ezzo’s approach has actually led to an alarming number of “failure to thrive” babies and so much of his information on infant care and feeding goes against medical advice (not to mention the fact that the man is NOT qualified to be making the claims he does…he has no medical degree or child development background at all.) There is huge controversy surrounding this man and the methods he teaches, so PLEASE read my Ezzo page before ever considering reading anything by Gary Ezzo!
As a new parent, or the parent of a new baby (first or fifth)…YOU have to decide what is right for you and your family. So I won’t go into a whole lot of my personal thoughts on raising babies because I have some very non-mainstream beliefs and this could go on for pages! I’ll just give you references to check out that I personally recommend.
So, as always, I highly recommend educating yourself! But hand-in-hand with education must be following your heart. If you read in a book or website that you should do such and such with your baby, but it just doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it! If someone has told you you should do such and such with your baby (and you’ll get this a lot! Most new parents do!) but your heart tells you otherwise, don’t do it! YOU have to do what’s best for YOUR baby! And no one but you and your child’s father can decide what “best” is.
I give my opinions all over this site, because, well, it’s my site!! LOL! (laugh out loud) But I will quote Dr. Phil here: “I don’t expect you to substitute my judgement for your own.” (By the way, I love Dr. Phil, but I don’t agree with a large percentage of his parenting advice…I much prefer his relationship advice…but that’s my opinion.)
If you want to know about my own parenting style, check out my attachment parenting (AP) pages here…there’s a lot of info there! We also have a VERY large, very active local AP mommy group, so email me if you are at all interested in checking us out. Many a new mom has joined us in relief that there are others here locally that share a similar parenting philosophy to her own…we all need this. Mommies need mommies. But we need to surround ourselves with like-minded mommies. So if the AP philosophy does not click with yours, check out my Playgroups/Mommies’ groups page for a big selection of local groups where one of them is bound to be a fit for you.
One of my biggest tips for new moms: I highly recommend to all moms, of all parenting styles and lifestyles…Find local mommies or a local mommy group that you can feel at home with. One which enriches your parenting style by surrounding you with like-minded, supportive mommies whom you can learn from and can learn from you…and where you can develop deep friendships, which we all need. Do not allow yourself to be sucked in by negative comments and judgemental attitudes that do not make you feel 100% supported and cared for! This is all too common among us women, judging each other. If you find yourself in a group which does not give you a “safe place to fall”, and make you feel loved and cared for and SUPPORTED…move on!
You may find that you may have to completely switch friends! That’s ok! As we become parents, our priorities change…we often find that the people in our lives that were our closest friends before we had children become the people that are the most critical and judgemental of us afterwards…If you find this to be true in your life, the answer is simple: DROP those people from your life! (or at least limit your exposure to them)…Parenthood is hard enough, you don’t need toxic people making your life a living hell.
We’re all learning this as we go…One of the best ways to learn is by being around others! Read the books and websites, but also get out there and make some mommy friends! Your baby will also benefit from the social life, but more importantly it fulfills that need for a community that most of us women have. I can’t emphasize enough how crucial this is to your parenting. Build your community around you of people that you enjoy being around and enrich you and your baby’s life. You won’t regret it.
And what about dads? Of course dads need support as well…and here’s a local class that might be a good idea to get involved in…its called “Boot Camp for Dads.” Read all about it here.
Another tip for you: Always remember that babies are babies for such a short time in the scheme of things. I know it doesn’t seem like it when you are up for your 6th time in the middle of the nite to change a diaper and nurse a crying baby…but it really does fly by…so cherish this time as much as possible, don’t rush it! Unfortunately we live in a culture that is all about convenience and rush rush rush…sadly, this extends into our cultural trends in parenting. Independence has become this all-important thing to strive for in our babies and children…often long before they are able to handle it or even should!
Books About Babies & What to DO when Baby is Here!:
The Breastfeeding Book, by Dr. William Sears
The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, by Dr. William Sears
Nighttime Parenting: How to Get Your Baby & Child to Sleep, by Dr. William Sears
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, by Elizabeth Pantley
Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent, by Meredith F. Small