Every mom would love to be the “perfect mom.” But being a mom, especially a new mommy, can be so overwhelming especially if, like me, you have had little experience with babies. There are so many questions to ask, so many books and websites to read and so many decisions to make.
As you prepare for your new baby, you are probably pondering a long list of questions:
- Where will your baby sleep?
- Will you breastfeed or use formula?
- Will you vaccinate?
- Will you circumcise?
- How will you handle baby’s sleep?
The list goes on, and on.
What makes this more difficult, and overwhelming, is the amount of information available to “help” you answer all of these questions. The problem is, the information you find will be all over the place in terms of parenting philosophies. This conflicting information can be confusing, and stressful. To further add to this frustration, everyone you encounter will have their own “expert” advice for you, as well. Here is what you can expect (prepare yourself):
What is the best way to feed your baby?
Breastfeed. Breastfeed until two. Breastfeed in public. Definitely don’t breastfeed in public, you pervert. Formula feed.
When and how should you introduce solids?
Four months. Six months. Eight months. Do baby led weaning. Definitely don’t do baby led weaning. Make your own baby food. Don’t give that baby junk food. Don’t ever introduce solids. Organic only! No GMOs!
Where should your baby sleep?
Bed-sharing is best. Co-sleeping is best. Bed sharing is too dangerous. Use a bassinet. Use a Rock n’ Play. Rock N’ Plays are dangerous. Actually put baby in their crib, in their room, the very first night.
How should you get baby to sleep?
Put baby down drowsy, but awake. Rock your baby to sleep. Nurse your baby to sleep. Don’t create bad sleep habits. Use a swing. Use an exercise ball. Put your baby down and don’t come back until morning, no matter what.
Circumcise your son. He’ll be mortified if your don’t. Don’t circumcise. It’s his body, let it be his choice. Vaccinate! Diseases are scary! Don’t vaccinate! Autism! Pierce your daughter’s ears! No wait, don’t! Baby wear! Don’t baby wear! Don’t cut your baby’s hair…
You get my point. As new mommies (and daddies), we face so many decisions. There are so many conflicting opinions, and so much confusing “expert advice” available. So what is a mommy to do?
There are three steps you must take to be a perfect mom:
- Educate yourself, but don’t go too crazy. Know your options, and the pros and cons of each.
- Determine what you, your partner, your baby and your family needs.
- Make choices that will work best for your family’s lifestyle, and be flexible, knowing that when you hold your baby in your arms, you might feel differently. You might initially feel like bed sharing is too dangerous, but then find that you love it! Or vice versa.
- Be the perfect mom you are for your baby, and do it unapologetically. You are doing the right thing.
As a new mommy, I have experienced this all first hand. It becomes unnecessarily stressful. Being a mommy is hard enough. People are going to have their opinions about how you raise your baby, and they will make those opinions clear. Just be strong. For more about my own experience navigating the waters of motherhood, and my recommendations for surviving your first year, check out my book, Motherhood: Surviving the First Year: A guide to coping with unsolicited advice and endless criticisms in the Amazon store!