Parenting Isn’t One-Size Fits All

Before my daughter was actually born, I had all sorts of ideas about what parenting choices I *thought* we would make. During my last month of pregnancy, I spent lots of time reading articles and blogs on Pinterest to prepare for our impending arrival. What I discovered is that there is a lot of information out there, and a lot of people with very strong opinions who feel there is only one right way to do things.

If you feed your baby purées, they’re going to develop bad eating habits. If you don’t breastfeed for at least a year, your child is doomed. If you co-sleep, you’re endangering your child. If you use disposable diapers, you’re destroying the environment. If you let your baby watch TV, you’re rotting their brain. If you let your baby nap in your arms, you’re spoiling them. The list goes on and on!

As I read up on all these things during those last few weeks of pregnancy, I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Like any new mom, I just wanted to give my sweet girl the best possible start! So I set my mind to a hundred different parenting choices. I would breastfeed for a year. We would try baby-led weaning and cloth diapers. We wouldn’t let our daughter set eyes on a TV or device. We would do all the “right” things. But then a funny thing happened. Our daughter was born and we tried all those things, and I quickly found that while some of them were right for us, some of them just didn’t fit for our family.

My daughter still naps in my arms all the time. I know that some people would say that I’ve spoiled her by always letting her nap in my arms. And I probably have, because now she doesn’t nap well if she’s not being held. But I wouldn’t trade those lazy Saturday morning naps for anything! For our family, this is what works!

We tried baby-led weaning, and it just didn’t work for my daughter. She would try to stuff too much food in her mouth when we gave her things that were stick-shaped, and she was always gagging and coughing, which obviously terrified me! If we gave her tiny little pieces of things, she couldn’t get them in her mouth, and would end up crying and frustrated. So we fed her purées for the first few months of her solid-food eating experience. Now that she can handle finger foods, she’s mostly self-feeding, but we used a combo of purées and self-feeding, because that’s what worked for our family.

Our daughter still sleeps in our bedroom, even at 9 months old. She transitioned out of her bassinet around 4 months, but I wasn’t at all ready to send my baby to sleep alone in her nursery across the hall. So my sweet husband disassembled the crib, moved it into our room, and re-assembled it. I love having our daughter in our room at night, especially through a rough sleep regression that saw us up 3-4 times a night for almost 2 months straight. It was nice to be able to grab her from the crib right beside me, nurse her back to sleep, and then put her back down without having to leave our room. Even my husband admits that he likes having us all hunkered down for the night together in our room. It’s a warm and fuzzy feeling having the whole family all snuggled into our room together. I know rooming-in for this long isn’t what’s right for everyone, but it’s what works for us!

I’ve learned that parenthood isn’t about doing what’s trendy, or what other people think is best. Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!) seems to have an opinion about your parenting choices, but at the end of the day, it’s really just about finding what works for your family!

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