When it comes to parenting there are no right or wrongs. There maybe many baby books but there are no real rules. Everyone does things slightly differently and parents find what works for them and their babies through trial and error. Hattie and I are so similar in so many ways but we have taken really different approaches to many aspects of parenting. Neither of our parenting styles are better or worse, she does plenty of things I wouldn’t and vice versa but it works for us and thats all that really matters.
Breast Vs Bottle
The old breast Vs bottle debate is one that causes quite a stir amongst the parenting community when in reality we should all be supporting each other in what works for us. I breastfed Blythe until she was around 21 months old. Hattie chose to bottle feed Otis from around 2 days old. Does that make either of us bad parents? No. both our babies are healthy, happy and content. Both of us had various struggles from nipple pain and over active let down to colic and reflux. Both of us feel happy with our choices, neither of us have any regrets and yet both of us have experienced negative comments, Hattie for bottle feeding and me for extended breastfeeding. Support other mums in their feeding which ever way they happen to be doing it.
Holding vs putting down
I hardly ever let Blythe cry. I couldn’t bare the sound of it. I held her almost all day long and hardly ever put her down. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat or drink or even go to the toilet until Joe got home from training. This may sound a little extreme but I really don’t regret it. I enjoyed holding my baby and I know I probably won’t be able to do this with a second child. Hattie having observed this was adamant she needed to get more done, she didn’t want her house to be a mess and wanted her life to continue as normally as possible. Of course she held Otis lots but she also put him down often and as a result he was happy with that!
Self soothe Vs parent soothe
I really struggled with letting Blythe self soothe. As I said I never really let her cry. She had a really sensitive gag reflex and If she was left to cry for more then a couple of minutes it wold usually result in her being sick. I breastfed her to sleep for a long time and now I generally rock and sing her to sleep. This does mean she sometimes wakes in the night and needs soothing but I don’t mind I prefer that to her being upset. Of course sometimes I get frustrated and wish she didn’t need my help when I am tired and it is 3 in the morning but when I am cuddling her in my arms I know I wouldn’t have it any other way! Hattie has taken a slightly different approach and does let otis cry a little bit if he wakes, he is pretty good at self soothing back to sleep. Of course this doesn’t always work and if he is really not settling she will go and settle him back down with rocking and cuddles. They are both so different when it comes to sleep, I am not sure if this is purely down to the way we have chosen to do things.
Gymboree Vs water babies
There are so many classes available for babies and toddlers it is really worth checking out what is available in your area. There really is something for everyone and all though some of them can be a bit cringey they are a lot of fun and your baby and toddler will love being in a stimulating environment with others their age. It is also a great way to make friends and get chatting to other parents. I took Blythe to Gymboree classes from a young age when we lived in London and she really loved them we have recently started attending them again and they have been a massive success! They are a great way to burn off energy and help your tot to develop great physical skills as well as listening skills. With a Gymboree membership you can also attend the weekly free play which is also great fun to explore the equipment freely and develop imagination. Hattie chose to take Otis to water babies from the age of 6 months. It was a great way to bond with him and meet other mums. They both had lots of fun and although it took a bit of persuading at first, Hattie is so glad she went and would really recommend it.
These are just a few of the things we have done differently but the list is probably never ending! The point is there is no right way to do things, what works for me may not work for you and your baby. Every baby is so different and so is every mummy! Do what works for you and don’t compare your self to others who may seem to have a perfect sleeper, eater, walker or talker. They will all catch up in the end!
Love M xx