Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ignoring the "Shoulds"

Some of the major differences between the experiences of having your first child to your second has been quite humorous to me. With Sophia, we tried to follow everything to a "T," with following recommendations of our pediatrician to what books and articles recommended. Some examples of these things are:

"Your baby should be able to sleep through the night by 4-6 months!"
"You should let your baby fall asleep on their own so they learn how to self soothe!"
"Your baby should try solids at 4 months otherwise they will have difficulty making the transition to solid foods later!"
"Don't rock your baby to sleep!"
"Don't let your baby use you as a pacifier!"
"Don't start a bad habit and let your baby sleep with you!"

Those are just a FEW examples of the millions of things we tried to follow with Sophia and looking back, it almost makes me feel guilty because instead of listening to my mommy instinct, I followed some of these recommendations in fear of doing something wrong or "ruining" my child forever!! Sophia admittedly was a great sleeper and early on, was sleeping through the night. I do remember some difficult nights though that I wrestled with letting her cry to wanting to go in and just hold her. We used the Ferber method with Sophia and wouldn't let her cry more than 5 minutes before going in to comfort her but mommy guilt kicks in now when I know I should have listened to my instincts and just held her! With Saidey, we have completely thrown out all the books and advice we have heard along the way and we are simply doing what we feel is best and better yet, I am listening to my mommy instinct. Saidey went through a brief period shortly after she was born of sleeping through the night and I remember silently jumping for joy and thinking, "Could we really be this lucky to have TWO children sleeping through the night?!" But as quickly as she began to sleep through the night, she quickly began waking up through the night, sometimes once, twice, three times. Even today as she still wakes up at least once a night, I have the inner conflict of what I feel she SHOULD be doing (sleeping through the night) and what I want to do: pick her up and rock her back to sleep. I get caught up in "should be" and let her cry for a bit which results in not getting any sleep and feeling worse at each cry she makes. Then, I remember, what I have been saying all along, and go pick my baby up, feed her and place her back in her crib where she peacefully falls back asleep.

Sometimes I still get caught up in other "shoulds" and in today's world, there are so many researchers who back up these "shoulds" that it sometimes makes it hard to sort these all out and make the best decisions for your family. I recently had a great conversation with someone who again, helped shake me out of what I felt I "should" be doing to trust my own instinct and do what I believe is right for us. Sometimes we get so caught up with what the RIGHT thing is that we end up doing the exact opposite.

Our little sweeties, shortly after their births.