When I was pregnant with my first baby I really had no idea what I was doing. By the time she was born, I had been an Aunt for 13 years and had 11 nieces and nephews. But that second hand knowledge was nothing compared to what I needed to know for my child.
Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how to raise my baby. Should I vaccinate or not? Should I have a drug-free and medicinal birth? Should I breastfeed or formula feed? When should I start solid foods? What kinds of baby shampoo should I use? What is the best carseat/stroller combo? The list went on and on (and on…).
We decided on natural childbirth in a hospital with a midwife. This was the best choice for us. However, I heard constantly from those I worked with that it was not a great choice. That there were drugs, I should use them. That I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain. That I shouldn’t try to be a hero.
When my baby was found to be footling breech, again I got advice from everyone about how to turn her, how a c-section wasn’t “that bad”, and whether I should try to turn her or not.
I remember in our childbirth classes the teacher telling us this. When you are pregnant and a new parent you will get a lot of advice. You will hear a lot of things that have worked for others and they will be really passionate about what they believe in. Listen to everything. Mull it over and like a great buffet table set with lots of different foods, choose the ones that seem best for you.
In my 9 years of parenting, this is what has worked. As I come upon challenges with my children, I look for advice and I get a lot of unsolicited advice. I ask other parents, read blogs and websites, take what I want and leave the rest.
There are so many opinions out there about everything. There is no way I could implement every single thing that every person tells me to do. I rely on my gut and do what is best for my family. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and I have to try something different. But that is kind of what parenting is all about isn’t it?