*This wasn't originally supposed to be an incredibly long post, but it is. An incredibly long rant. You've been warned.*
One thing about parenting that can be incredibly frustrating, confusing, and/or disheartening is all of the opinions the entire world has about parenting.
Before having Ellie I had thought I had all of my parenting desires and plans laid out. I thought that everything I wanted to do I knew and somehow it would all just fall into place. Well, you don't really get to decide exactly when and how everything falls into place. Nor do you get to decide exactly what it is you want right away. Okay, maybe you do get a few things exactly the way you want them, but still...
So what do you do when you have questions about parenting or baby gas relief or even just packing a diaper bag? Well, you research. And yes, I did research what to pack in a diaper bag. Don't lie, you did (or will do) it too. And the place to research is: the internet.
It's amazing. It can give you the best of the best sites to find information on everything you may need to know. It can give you advice on books to read, techniques to try, the best products to buy, and so much more.
But, it can also tell you the exact opposite.
I've learned that you almost HAVE to take everything you read, and even hear, with a grain of salt.
I'm a part of a mom group on Facebook that is meant to be a place for other moms to ask questions and get support on many, many parenting things. It's been very nice to hear of other moms going through exactly what I'm going through. It's also quite comforting, and I'm going to be brutally honest here because we are all this way, to know that some moms are going through the same things you are, but much worse. It makes you take a different look on it all and realize that you really don't have it that bad.
Recently I've been doing a lot of reading and research on sleeping.
It's one of the most discussed issues of moms.
Things like: "Why won't my baby sleep through the night?" "How do I get my baby to not nurse to sleep?" "Should I let my baby cry it out?" "How do you get your baby on a schedule?"
These questions litter baby forums. It's terrible too because there are so many parents with all different experiences and opinions on what you should do because it's what they did.
You can decide you want your baby to decide his/her own schedule by following their cues, you can start a strict eat/sleep schedule for your baby so you can plan your life/outings around your baby, or you can do a combination of both. There are books, articles, forum posts, and more books on each of these.
Babywise, Happiest Baby on the Block, Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child, The Baby Sleep Book, and so much more. It's overwhelming! Many people claim that each one worked wonders for them and their little ones. But how do you even start?
I keep fighting the urge to do any of these, or finish reading any of them, and just let Ellie make her own schedule.
I would love for her to have a set schedule, but I don't want to set a strict schedule because it entails working incredibly hard and listening to her cry and cry and cry. That's not what I want to do.
I would love for her to just set her own schedule, but I know that right now, it tends to jump back and forth between a really nice and easy day to a difficult no-nap and very sleepy day.
I would love for her to be like other "perfect" babies who sleep through the night at 2 1/2 months or are able to take a bottle no problem, but I want her to be her own self. I want her to be my own child who does her own things her own way. Although this no bottle thing is going to drive me crazy.
It's frustrating. I agree with different aspects of different books/theories and yet I don't want to follow one specific idea because it tends to be in the extreme.
We don't co-sleep because our bed just isn't big enough, Nick is a really sound sleeper, and I'm just not entirely comfortable with that all the time. I'd rather just have the occasional nap together on the bed.
I also don't let her cry for more than a few minutes because I don't like listening to her scream when I know I can easily soothe her back to sleep. Plus, many people state that you can't spoil a baby and they won't get attached to the idea of screaming for you to calm down them down. But, many people will claim the exact opposite of those statements.
Do you see where it gets frustrating, confusing, and annoying?
No babies are the same, so why are we saying that they are? Why are we trying to get babies to be on the same schedule?
I don't know and I'm trying not to get carried away with everyone's opinions.
For now, all I need to know is that my daughter is happy, well-fed, and alive. Everything else will just fall into place over time, right? I'll just keep telling myself that.