Dear baby girl,
Since before you were born, I have found myself reading just about everything I can get my hands – and eyes – on. From researching car seats to cribs to nursing, I wanted to be prepared for your arrival as much as possible. I even found myself joining local Facebook groups on a variety of topics, from babywearing to thrifty spending to cloth diapering, following other parents’ questions and tips on a variety of issues. I subscribed to emails, read blogs and Googled more random things than I ever thought I would.
Do yourself a favor if and when you have a kid someday: don’t read everything.
While some information is useful and helpful, it’s easy to get information overload via the Internet. There are so many options – and opinions – about everything. No matter what you read, you will feel like you’re not doing it right, or that you’re not doing enough. Parenting “experts” will give you advice on how to ensure your baby is sleeping through the night or how to not scar your child for life. Some parents will tell you to meet your baby’s every demand while others will tell you that your baby won’t learn independence through attachment parenting.
I’ve quickly discovered that parents are more judgmental than high school teenagers. Mommy bloggers and parenting experts galore are quick to share their opinions, stories and successes, which usually involves a rant about those who do things differently. It’s painful to read, and it’s unfortunate how guilty it makes mothers feel about their parenting choices.
Your daddy and I don’t subscribe to a certain parenting method or lifestyle. We babywear and use a stroller. We cloth diaper at home and use disposables when out and about. We let you cry to sleep sometimes, and I nurse you to sleep. We don’t have a strict schedule, but by following your lead, we tend to feed you and put you down for naps on a regular basis. We nurse and bottle feed.
We do what we feel is right. We follow our instincts. We put your needs first and shower you with more love than we ever thought we could possibly pour out to you. We aren’t consistent in our methods, but we are consistent in loving you.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my reading, it is that just because people may subscribe to a certain parenting style or opinion, doesn’t make it any better or worse than my own personal choices. People may try to tell you otherwise.
Parents know their own babies the best. It’s helpful and okay to look for advice and resources, but ultimately it is up to me and your daddy to know and trust what you need. The decisions we make to care for and raise you may not be the same decisions others would make, and that’s okay. Ultimately, we are looking out for your safety, your comfort and your health. We want you to know you are loved and cared for – more than you will ever know.