Nothing captures the imagination more than the sight of a newborn in your arms. The gaze of those pure eyes and the soft skin of your little baby fills you with baby bliss. However, this ‘bliss’ does not prepare you for what’s coming- a bumpy ride of parenting your baby through their first year of life.
Parenting is a skill that has to be learned so that a baby and parent can develop a strong emotional bond. You should appreciate that this attachment has to be cultivated patiently so that you can pick out and interpret your baby’s cues. Even if you’ve had a baby before, each baby has their own distinct persona and preferences which you have to learn, so what is the right parenting style you should adapt?
The simple answer is. There isn’t one!
I am sure you are guilty of reading endless books and blogs on the best way to parent an infant including conscious parenting, strict timetable feeding and nap times and listened to endless friends and relatives tell what to do and not do…But have you thought about freestyle parenting? Read on to gain a broader perspective of whether parenting your little infant really needs to be as organized and forced as we are lead to believe.
Infants Have Different Personas, Learn Your Baby’s
Babies behave in their very own unique ways. One may be a very active baby who shouts out a lot whereas another could be composed and quiet, one could be very receptive while the next could be very wary of strangers. It’s up to a good parent to pick up these little cues. Watch out for facial expressions like little frowns that coincide with specific needs like hunger, wet diapers and colic discomfort. Smiles usually represent approval and joy. Familiarize yourself with baby’s cries-is it high or low pitch, is it a short cry or long cry? Babies usually let out a short cry to capture a parent’s attention whereas protracted high pitched cries mean ‘I’m hungry’. Take note of how they react to your touch and use it to generate comfort. Sometimes, a baby may cry and efforts to soothe them may be in vain. In such a scenario, shun excessive stimulation-let them cry it out. You can also check out worst advice about parenting, this covers things you definitely don’t want to be doing as parent!
As a follow-on from the above, when you become pregnant, the influx of ‘expert’ parenting advice starts and (fortunately or unfortunately), it never ends (even when your children are in their 20’s). You will always find a relative or friend that will offer you their sacred piece of advice on how they survived parenthood. Whether you are here reading this as being pregnant, have a newborn baby or a toddler, you’ll soon find out that every single baby in this world, and their parents are completely different to everyone else. Plus, just because someone has ‘parenting advise’ it doesn’t always mean its good parenting advice. What may have worked for your sister, your mom, your grandma, isn’t guaranteed to work for you. That is why I am a big advocate of freestyle parenting, hence this blog post today. Sometimes, when you become a forced parent based on a book you have read of the advice from someone, you’ll often find it may not work for you. If you are an advocate of forced parenting, that’s ok too, it’s up to you, what suits your lifestyle and your baby aswell. I know not all parents can afford to be freestyle parents due to full time work commitments. However, what I do recommend is that it’s important to stop sometimes, reflect and take some time out. What I mean by this is that you should, every once and a while, break that ‘forced parenting’ style to appreciate the moment. Much like on Jacinta’s blog, she explains in her blog post, I Didn’t Rush You to Sleep Tonight. It’s a touching blog post that explains how it’s good to stop sometimes and enjoy the moment, instead of just rushing off after you child goes to sleep to put a load of washing on, for instance.
Feeding Time is a Window for Interaction
As you feed your baby ensure it is a pleasurable experience for both of you, not just ‘feeding time’ where it’s timetabled and anything that gets in the way is a disaster. Talk to your infant by bubbling out some baby-talk, take the opportunity to teach him/her a few words, as this will improve their understanding of what you mean and vice versa. DO NOT force feed the baby, but gently encourage them to feed. This will test your patience but it is definitely going to help you better your parenting. Wear a smile when feeding your baby to nurture trust in the baby. To break the monotony, you may occasionally take a break to play peek a boo games but don’t overdo it.
Quit Pursuing Perfection
You may have promised yourself that you’ll be the best parent ever before your baby was born. Sooner or later you’ll realize that that’s easier said than done. Studies have shown that you only need to understand a third of your baby’s cues at any one time. Don’t kill yourself trying to attend to every little cry, just do your level best whenever possible and your emotional connect stays on track. One may assume that parenting is a simple task but that couldn’t be further from the truth, there are many parents out there with the same struggles, you can also follow talesfrommamaville.com for more tips and features about parenting. The important bit is to enjoy the roller-coaster ride, take it easy and ensure you enjoy spending time with your baby.
For more information, Fit-Foodie-Mom-Life is a great blog that covers adventures on motherhood and parenting, especially about what type of parenting style suits you best.