By Jen Mearns
You’ve brought home your new baby and realized they forgot to include the instruction manual. How does this whole baby thing work anyway? Why would they let just anybody leave the hospital with a helpless new human and expect everything to go smoothly?
New motherhood is fraught with new normals, indecision, and over-thinking. Doctor Google is consulted almost daily. You have your veteran moms on speed dial. Your own mother is consulted hourly. Facebook parent groups and mom pages become your new virtual hangout place. You question yourself. What if? How long? When does?
Chances are, you’re doing fine. Better than fine, actually. You’re doing great! Remember that.
What if my baby won’t settle? It’s OK.
What if I can’t breastfeed? It’s OK.
What if I don’t want to breastfeed? It’s OK.
What if I don’t bond with her right away? It’s OK.
What if he won’t take a pacifier? It’s OK.
What if my baby gets sick? It’s OK.
What if I have to go back to work? It’s OK.
What if I hate breastfeeding? It’s OK. I did too.
What if people judge me? It’s OK. They will, but they don’t matter.
What if she never sleeps through the night? It’s OK. She will.
What if he doesn’t sit up/crawl/walk on time? It’s OK.
What if I don’t do everything right? It’s OK. You won’t.
So many questions. So many different, often contradicting answers. You should rock your baby to sleep, but not every night and definitely not until she falls asleep. Put them asleep awake but drowsy unless they are already asleep. You should absolutely breastfeed except for when you don’t and then formula is great. Never give a pacifier. Always offer a pacifier if your baby won’t settle. Definitely don’t take your baby out in public. You can take your baby out in public. Don’t swaddle. Do swaddle if your baby is left handed.
It is impossible to assimilate all of this information. It is impossible to do everything right. There is no right way to do any of it. The right way is the way that works for you, your baby and your family. That is the only right way. It’s OK.
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