Here is my No. 1 piece of advice to pregnant women: Put down
that pregnancy book. Step away from the parenting books. Toss the sleep
books directly into the trash. And for the love of God, stop Googling! You can drive yourself crazy reading through all of the things you "should" and
"shouldn't" be doing in regards to your child. You can find any answer you
want, no matter what it is. These books contradict each other, and
they even contradict themselves. So just stop reading them.
Here's the truth: There is no manual for a baby. They do not
come with on and off switches or a list of rules to follow. There is no one way
to do something in regards to parenting. Just because it works for one baby
doesn't mean it will work for another. And you can read books until you're blue
in the face, but they won't get you anywhere but frustrated, causing you to
question whether your child is broken because he doesn't cooperate while you
try to dream feed, or because he still doesn't sleep through the night at 10
Above all, trust your instincts. Because chances are, they are far more reliable than any book ever could be.
Being a parent is hard. No, that belittles it, doesn't it? Being a parent is terrifying and the most challenging thing I've been through.
It means always second-guessing your decisions. It means comparing yourself to
others. It means comparing your baby to others. It means long nights, emotions
running high, little sleep and endless worries. And reading tips from these
so-called "experts" can be an endless black hole that doesn't in fact help anything,
and in the end only makes you feel worse than you did before.
Because when you read these great tips, and put them into
action, only to realize they did not work with your child? It leaves you
feeling like the biggest failure as a parent. If you see that it works for
someone else's child and not for your own, you're left wondering what is
wrong with you or your child. That is not something you should feel, ever. That
is a lie.
I want you to know that you are a success. The fact that you
put your all into raising these tiny humans of yours makes you a superhero. It
makes you strong and selfless and worthy of praise. And you should never feel
So please, put down the book and look at what you have
created. Rock your baby to sleep. Sing her lullabies. Let him sleep in your
bed. Do what makes you happy, and ultimately, what makes your baby happy. Above all, trust your instincts. Because chances are, they are far more reliable than any book ever could be.
I guarantee your child will not still need to sleep in a swing when
she's 18 and headed off to college. She won't be sucking her thumb either.
So for now, I know it's hard, but just take it one day at a
time. Do what works in the moment. The thing about babies is, what works today
will probably not work tomorrow, so try to go with the flow. Know that babies
are human, too, and are ever-changing. Try your best. And above all, enjoy that
squishy baby. He won't be this way for long.