THREE WORDS @sassdotxo
Thanks for your constant advice for how I should raise my children, said no parent ever.
As soon as you announce to your loved ones, extended family, friends, work colleagues, shop assistant in the maternity shop you are pregnant, the advice starts flooding in. Most of it not asked for, mostly from well-intentioned people giving you their tips and tricks for a smooth pregnancy, what you can and cannot eat, sharing their birth plan with you and what you should factor in to yours, what gadgets you need for a newborn, bringing baby home and finding a routine. It doesn't stop. And when you've brought home baby number one, the next question is when you will be having baby number two. Hey, I'm guilty of dishing out some of this advice but I'm learning to reign it in.
I'm a mum of two kids. I've experienced two different pregnancies, two same-same but different labours, had an excellent fertility specialist and obstetrician who were supportive and offered great advice. Both kids have visited the children's hospital at various times during their infant lives. I've trialled every formula and drink bottle known to woman, and read a few what to expect books to give me answers. Dr Google is also a friend of mine. I feel I could write a thesis on my mothering experiences in the short three and a half years I have had my daughter BUT then I remember that gazillions of women all around the world have had babies and that everyone's experience is different. So rather than write a top 100 tips for bringing up baby, I will just say these three words… DO WHAT WORKS.
Breast milk. What is that? I didn't get much. Couldn't pump more than 10mls. So stressful, anxiety producing when the midwives, nurses, lactation consultants, maternal health nurse all tell you to relax, keep trying, it will come through eventually (despite the fact that I told all of them I had huge hormonal issues prior to falling pregnant and that it was unlikely to happen). So stressful. In tears at the hospital very early one morning a midwife said to me "no one will know that Mr C was formula fed as a baby when he gets to primary school". We had a chuckle and she was right. Formula is the next best thing and the right decision for me and my baby. Who has the right to challenge that?
If Mr C who is 18 months old still has a bottle to go to sleep with in the afternoon and again at night time, that works for me. Some people would gasp in horror that I'm letting him have 400ml of milk to drink during the day let alone letting him drink it out of a bottle. But I'm ok with that. Master C is also happy and content and I know at some point in the near future he will give it up.
I tried to train Miss M in the art of toileting as soon as the books and experts say you should and she just wasn't ready. And that's ok. She worked it out just before her third birthday and we both did happy dances around the bathroom.
Being a first time and even a second time mum can be tough, challenging, tiring and downright exhausting so when I have friends struggling with lack of sleep, or not sure when their child's routine is going to kick in, or deciding when to wean their child from their dummy, cheering them on is the best. It will get better, it does get better. Sometimes it gets better in a couple of months, sometimes it takes a lot longer. There's no one size fits all model for kids. Sometimes I wish there was but then I wouldn't have two kids with their own unique personalities.
Let's support one another.
Encourage and empower knowing that no one way of raising a child is the best way.