Guest Post by Chelsy Theriault
This probably happens to the majority of women who become mothers for the first time: they feel as if they really know nothing about taking care of a baby. Feeding, crying, sleeping – it's all a frightening mystery. Of course, older relatives and friends with children immediately appear as parenting experts and everyone is competing to give you the best advice. The amount of advice is huge and some sources may contradict others.
As time passes you start feeling you are on some kind of roller-coaster of parenting advice and you don't know who you should listen to first – it seems that everybody has nothing better to do than overload you with advice. Even mothers on the street will share their opinions regarding your baby.
The truth is, no matter how many books have been written or however many “experts” bless you with their advice, being a parent is a science forever growing and changing – sometimes in a trembling way. What was acceptable two or three years ago could be outdated and not recommended today. Recommendations about sleep positions, sippy-cups, introducing solids – it all changes. Those who have not raised children for a long time may imbue you with outdated advice.
At some point, you may lose your cool, but try to keep your patience. Those self-appointed advisers only mean well and want what is best for you and baby. In the meantime, you must claim your point-of-view and always stay in touch with your pediatrician. They are the trained and educated experts in the health of babies and children. Keep an open line of communication with health professionals and always ask questions; never feel embarrassed to clarify any confusion you may have about mothering and care for your child.
All of this can become extremely annoying. The “I've-raised-a-child-already-and-you-haven't!” attitude is tiring but there is one thing you have that these advice-givers do not – a deep, seeded bond with your little one. You have the instinct connected with your child, who is different and unique from everybody else's child. Once you give birth your mind immediately kicks into mother-mode and these instincts will seem to appear out of nowhere. You may not be an expert when it comes to babies – but you are the expert in everything related to your baby! You know and feel best what your child wants and needs.
Don't let the advice of others cause you to question your abilities as a mother. Trust those instincts – you are doing much better than you know!