There are a lot of important choices new parents have to make. When it comes to the subject of how your child sleeps, what she eats, or even how you take care of her bowel movements, you can find passionate people with differing opinions - and with the Internet, it’s possible to hear every single one of them.
This information overload can cause a lot of new parents anxiety. With the passion many seem to have on every subject related to raising children, it’s easy to feel like one mistake can screw a child up forever.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case. I am a type-B mom, and I’ve learned a beautiful truth - that kids are resilient little devils, and you can afford to screw up a little.
I didn’t begin this journey of motherhood so relaxed. The first two days after my son came home from the hospital were hell on earth.
It wasn’t his fault. I was trying to breastfeed him, but my milk didn’t come in, so every time I tried to feed him, he would get frustrated and angry. He also looked weak and his breathing was heavy and labored. When I took him in for his first appointment two days after he was born, Troy’s pediatrician informed us that he had lost an entire pound, and that she was obligated to immediately feed him some formula.
He devoured it.
She then talked to my husband and I about our options – what we could do if we wanted to continue breastfeeding, and what Troy needed. But I had made up my mind before she uttered a word. This wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t interested in promoting some stupid ideal at the risk of my son’s health. He needed food. IMMEDIATELY.
So Troy went on formula. For the next two days, Chris and I fed him every two hours. He didn’t need to remind us by waking up – we woke him.
Sure enough, two days later, he had gained back most of the weight he lost, and his frustration was gone. He was happy and calm, and his color was really good. I was thrilled, and so was Troy’s pediatrician. I realized that if I didn’t need to breastfeed to have a healthy and happy son, then most of the other ideals that are considered mandatory to raise a healthy child aren’t really necessary either. And I decided from then on to do what felt right for my son and for me, and not to worry about living up to an ideal.
Today, Troy is a happy and healthy 13-month old. He’s coming into toddlerhood, and he’s a whole-milk drinking, sleep-trained sweetie-pie who catches “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” from time to time when mommy gets behind on dishes and laundry.
Do I worry that I’m screwing him up? No! I really, really don’t!
Here’s what matters – and this is all that matters – do you love your child? Are you showing your child affection everyday? Does she have a clean, safe place to sleep? Is she eating enough, and is her food appropriate for where she is developmentally? If so, then relax!
Don’t make this harder on yourself than it has to be! Parenting is hard enough. Give up perfection, and enjoy your children!
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