Friday, August 05, 2011

Parenting by Instinct

Our grandparents did it, our parents did it, I am doing it. I was given the book, What to Expect When You are Expecting ... did I read it? Nope. I was given some other books that I didn't read. I did not read Consumer Reports or the Baby Guide on the Bajillion Things Your Baby Might Need. And, you know what? I survived my pregnancy. I gave birth. And now that my baby is here, I have not read a single book. Not one on sleep training, not one on feeding, nothing, not a single one. But, I think I will write one that's titled "Parenting by Instinct." It'll be a page long. This is what it'll say.

Prologue & disclaimer: This book, in no way, shape or form, attempts to be the guide to parenting and the writer, in no way, shape or form, attempts to be an expert on parenting. The writer is a novice parent of a 9 month old, stumbling through the obstacle course that is parenting along with her infant.

The book:

Go with your instinct.

If you think your baby is hungry, feed him.

If you think your baby needs changing, change him.

If you think your baby is hurt, cuddle him and give him lots of kisses.

If you think your baby is bored, put on some music and dance with him.

If you think it's none of the above and your baby just needs to cry, let him cry.

If you think your baby needs a pacifier, give him one. If you think he needs to be weaned, take it away.

If you want somebody's advice, ask for it but remember no two babies are alike.

If you like somebody's advice, follow it.

If you don't like somebody's advice, don't follow it.

If you don't want somebody's advice and they give it anyways, grin if you want to or scowl if you want to. Or throw your coffee in their face and tell them to mind their own business. But, you could get charged for assault for that behavior so don't blame me.

If you want bazillions of pieces of advice that are irrelevant, you can ask Dr. Google.

In the end, listen to your heart. you know your baby and his moods the best. Nobody else can step in and tell you what's better for your child than what your instincts tell you.

Epilogue: I am not saying all books are bad. But, one book cannot prescribe to every child. We are all individuals. Just like we shouldn't group adults and apply stereotypes to them, we shouldn't be doing that to our children. That's what these websites and books that say, "oh by 6 months, your baby should be applying to Harvard," do. They are stereotyping babies and causing unneeded anxiety in many new parents.

So, read the books, if you want, listen to people, go to the Internet, but in the end, parent by your instinct. Your mental health will thank you for it!

Back jacket of book:

What did the book say I should be doing now?

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