When it comes to babies there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
As new parents we struggle with so many worries about whether we are doing it right and how on earth can we get the hang of breastfeeding and sleep routines, that we look for the right solution everywhere.
There are so many books and blogs (guilty!) out there, telling you THIS is definitely going to solve all your problems.
With the plethora of information and advice out there, I think we often lose sight of the fact that babies are human beings.
They all have little quirks, personalities and, let’s face it, issues that make them individuals.
Babies won’t necessarily follow the instructions in the manual. But we’re constantly told our babies should be like this, or should be doing that, or that we should do this.
Here’s the truth of the matter:
Some babies thrive on a routine. They love to know that their nap comes at precisely 9am every morning and drop off by 9.01am.
Other babies cannot be pushed into a routine, no matter how hard a parent might try. They prefer to wake at a different time every single day, take their naps when they’re supposed to be enjoying a walk and snack constantly rather than wait for lunch.
Some babies sleep through the night from an early age. They fall into a deep and blissful sleep for 12 hours.
Other babies do not sleep for more than two hours a time. Their parents blame themselves, worry about whether it’s something they are doing wrong, Google articles about colic and ask the GP for advice on dairy allergies. The truth is, some little ones just don’t settle back to sleep as easily as others.
Some babies scream and scream for hours on end because they have colic.
Other babies cry for hours on end simply because they are babies. We often look for reason behind the crying, but when it comes to newborns it’s often a simple case of crying for no real reason at all.
Some babies love being handed round a room full of relatives. In fact they sleep through the entire thing.
Other babies do not want to leave their mother’s arms even for a second. This isn’t weird, or abnormal or anything to worry about. It’s just a phase, and more than that it’s a healthy one because babies should want to be near their mums.
Some babies hate the bath. They scream from the moment they enter the water, and scream even louder when you take them out again.
Other babies cannot get enough of it. It’s nothing to do with what you are doing.
Some babies will be breastfed. They latch on to the boob with little to no fussing. They feed well and gain weight, and carry on doing so for the first year and beyond.
Other babies might be breastfed, or bottle fed, or a mixture of both. They try to latch, but it’s not quite going well. Us mums may try and try, and sometimes breastfeeding may just click. Other times it won’t. And formula is OK, more than that it’s brilliant, because fed is best.
Some babies get eczema. Their beautiful skin is marred by angry, raised rashes that can sometimes be tamed by creams, and sometimes can’t.
Other babies do not. This has nothing to do with any choices or actions the parents have taken. It’s just luck of the draw.
Babies used to be given whisky in a bottle. Unsurprisingly, getting the little tykes a bit pissed would cause them to pass out and sleep through the night.
Today it is illegal to give your baby whisky in a bottle. Thank Christ for that, more for us.
Some babies stuff their first meal of solids down and then cry for seconds.
Other babies hardly manage half a bite at every meal for the first few months of weaning. The fact is, all babies will eat in the end. Some just take to solids easier than others.
The point I’m trying to make is, you need to try to see through all of the bullshit. You need to tune it out, and simply see your baby for who they are. You know them best.
When it comes to unsolicited, barking mad and unhelpful advice or remarks on what your baby is doing, remind yourself: “I am a fucking awesome mother.”
Then nod, smile and change the subject.