(side note - I've had this post written for weeks...until now, I've been too afraid to publish it due to people judging us/backlash we may receive/people thinking differently of us. But then I realized - maybe some of these tips will help a new mom or dad and so I figured I may as well put on my big girl pants and actually post it today!!!.)
In today's society there is a lot of controversy over a lot of key issues when it comes to parenting. I'm not a very vocal person. I don't like being the center of attention. And I most certainly don't like confrontation. However, I do have opinions on certain things (that I usually just keep to myself.) And in some cases, these opinions go against the grain of what is 'right' when it comes to babies. And that's OK. My baby is perfect. In fact, he's probably one of the most well-adjusted, easy-going, sweetest babies I've ever known. And I think a lot of this has to do with all the parenting things we've done 'wrong'...and yet, were so very right for us and our baby. I'm not saying these are THE 'right' things to do - I think you need to do what is best for you and your family. In my opinion, the only RIGHT thing when it comes to parenting is putting your child first, loving the heck out of him/her, and making sure he/she is happy, healthy, and growing!! Judge me if you want...but here are the things I've done 'wrong' *so far*...
1. I had my breastfed baby on a schedule from the very first day we were home.
Yup that's right - he was on an eating schedule. For the first week of his life I fed him every 3 hours. At 2 weeks old I went to every 4 hours. Does that mean if he got hungry 2 hours before his next scheduled feed I didn't feed him? OF COURSE NOT (what kind of mother do you think I am?!?!) But you're darn right I still fed him at the next scheduled time to keep him on track. Camden has thrived on this schedule. I know it's not for everyone or every baby, but it worked for us and continues to work for us.
2. I also got him on a routine very early on (by the time he was 3 weeks old we were on a very regular eat, play, sleep routine.)
I knew when he was hungry. I knew when he was tired. I knew when it was time to play. And he knew it all too. It's amazing how quickly babies pick up on things and how they thrive on consistency and routine. I think that most people don't realize that babies are learning so much in the early months that consistency and routine are sort of a 'stress relief' for babies. It sort of gives them a break from everything else they are seeing, learning, and soaking up. I truly believe routine and consistency is a huge source of comfort for babies. If there's one thing I believe in the most it'd be a routine.
3. I sleep trained (I use that term loosely as a lot of this just came naturally to Camden.)
I put him in his crib the very first night he was home. He has gone to sleep on his own from the very beginning. He has had a set nap schedule. He goes to bed early (as in he is asleep between 6:30-6:45 every night.) He has had a bedtime/nap routine since day one. I don't go pick him up the second I see he's awake (I can't tell you how many times he has put himself back to sleep or will just lay in his crib hanging out and resting.) He was sleeping a 7-8 hour stretch at about 3 weeks old - every night - and was sleeping 11+ straight hours around 7 or 8 weeks old! This kid is a FANTASTIC sleeper. And yes, I'll brag all day long about this - we put a lot of time and effort into this.
4. Once I went back to work I didn't get much when I pumped. And therefore, I had to supplement with formula. I have zero guilt about this. I also have no guilt when I choose to just give him formula when we're out and about because it's easier (Not to mention I'm not one to just whip my boob out in public.) I also have no qualms that I buy the generic brand of formula versus the way more expensive brand name one (the ingredients are the same so why pay more?!)
5. I didn't start baby cereal until he was 6 months old. Nor did I start with rice cereal (we chose oat cereal instead.)
We eased our way into the whole food journey, giving him time to adjust and giving his digestive system additional time to mature more. But once we got into it, there was no holding us back. He eats olives. He eats spinach and kale. He loves tomatoes. He digs greek yogurt. He inhales squash of all kinds. The kid can EAT!!!! We held off on dairy for quite a while but he's been eating that regularly since he was about 10 months old. Every day I keep my fingers crossed that he'll continue to love all these healthy foods. BUT with all that being said, everything I buy or make for him isn't 100% organic. There are a few things we buy that are organic but most of it isn't. Unfortunately, I just don't have the funds available to provide him 100% organic foods all the time.
6. Camden doesn't watch TV.
And we have no plans to let him any time soon. I know eventually we'll have to introduce the TV to him (I most certainly don't want him being the weird kid) but for now TV is a no-no.
7. I'm a working mom (with a very stressful, demanding, fast-paced job).
We're not able to afford for me (or Matt) to stay home. Does that make me a bad mom? Does that mean I love my son less than a mom that stays home? Does this mean someone else is raising my son? Absolutely not!! You know all those things stay at home parents do? Yeah I do all that stuff too. My child is not neglected because I work. I'm not "ruining" him by not staying at home with him. No one else is raising him. Do I wish things were differently? Of course. But they aren't, so I have to deal with the cards we've been dealt.
So with all this being said - do I think I'm the greatest parent that has ever lived? Oh hell NO. Am I saying these are the 'right' ways? NOPE.
No matter what you do, you're going to be wrong in the eyes of someone else. Do your research, figure out how you want to raise/parent your child, & always keep in mind your baby's personality and likes/dislikes. No matter what you do - no matter how you go about things - so long as you love your child fiercely you can do no wrong...no matter what anyone else thinks <3
Hey ~ I'm Renée...just your ordinary, 30-something Accountant, new mommy, wife, runner, foodie, & Pinterest addict! Welcome to my newest adventure...stay awhile...look around...and keep comin' back!