The world (and the internet) is full of parenting advice. Some of it is crazy, but a lot of it is good. I read books and articles before my boys were born and even more as we started navigating those early hard days and weeks. I struggled with everything most new moms do - breastfeeding, getting baby (babies!) to sleep, you name it. And I found a lot of advice about all of it, but here's the one thing nobody told me...
There's no right way to do it. The best advice only works half the time. And mom, it's not your fault.
This started to dawn on me when it came to feeding my newborns. I was adamant that I would breast feed, but we had struggles. I did everything I could but after weeks of work, one of my twins would not latch. The other nursed like a champ. Despite the fact that I did all the same things, followed all the same advice, they just responded differently. They are different people and that's OK. It took a lot to let go of the mom guilt, and the "what am I doing wrong?" feeling. Finally I figured out that I needed to do what worked for each of them as individuals and once I did, and let go of the guilt, we were all much happier.
If I thought feeding was hard, it was nothing compared to what we've been through (and still go through) with sleep. I beat myself up so much over my babies' sleep until it truly hit me that the best advice doesn't always work. And it's not my fault.
I did everything the books and articles say to do - swaddled, put to sleep drowsy, dream feeds... all of it. One of my twins started sleeping through the night at about 9 weeks. The other didn't sleep through the night until he was 18 MONTHS old. I did the same routine for each of them, followed all of the same advice, and it worked for one and not the other. I can't even tell you how many nights I sobbed thinking my baby would never sleep... and what was I doing wrong?? Nothing. He was just being who he was, and I was doing the best that I could.
My twins have taught me that every child needs something different, and what is "best" for one will not work for the other.
This is the only piece of parenting advice that I think works 100% of the time. Getting to know your child and finding the solutions that work for both of you is the only way to get it right.
When you're struggling as a mom, and all moms do, definitely do your research. Read as much as you can and try what feels right to you. Ask your friends or your own mom for advice. But no matter what, don't let yourself get wrapped up with guilt or feeling like you're doing something wrong when what worked for someone else is not working for you. Be patient, trust your instincts, and you will figure out what works for your family. And never ever forget...
You're doing a great job.
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