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There are many new decisions that new parents need to make when bringing baby home for the first time. Hopefully, you will have already decided on a name, so at least that is out of the way. However, there are many other things that need to be considered when planning how to raise your child in those early weeks and months of their life.
There are many, many different resources on the best way to raise your child online and so it can be overwhelming to look at a whole host of contradicting ideas. Luckily for you, the way you raise your child is entirely up to you. All babies are different, and while some methods may work for one child, they may not work for others.
Finding the right balance and understanding your child’s needs takes time, especially when they can’t speak or express themselves any other way than crying or laughing. There will be a teething period for you, as much as there will be for them later on in life, and so it is essential that you are not afraid to make mistakes, you are as new to this as anyone else, after all.
BREAST MILK OR FORMULA?
There is so much discussion about what is best for the baby when it comes to breast or bottle. In the early weeks and months of your child’s life, it is essential that they are provided with the proper nutrients to help them grow and be happy.
Some people will swear by the breast milk method as something that promotes a bond between mother and baby (as if there isn’t one already). However, different mothers have different sensitivities to things like this, and it could be uncomfortable for them for the baby to suckle.
Should this be what you or your partner experiences, then trying out the healthiest baby formula will give your child the nutrients it needs and save any discomfort on the mother’s part, meaning everybody wins.
OWN ROOM OR YOUR ROOM?
You might feel that you want and need to be around your child at all times to ensure they are happy. This is, of course, a perfectly natural response when having a baby and wanting to protect it.
However, babies cry a lot. While there isn’t that much you can do about it, the interruptions can affect your sleep and make you less productive during the day, and this can lead to stress and further problems later on.
While you might believe that you the child should be with you at all times, you are going to be tired enough as it is. It is not a selfish act to have the baby in another room and a baby monitor by your bedside to ensure you can be there at the first signs of pain or discomfort. As long as you are there when the baby needs you, you can rest assured everything will be alright.
CRY IT OUT OR SOOTHE AND ROCK?
Speaking of babies crying a lot, there is always the consideration of whether or not to let the child cry it out or approach its every whim by soothing them until they calm down. However, too much of this for too long will inspire a dependency in the child that will have repercussions later on.
The sound of a child crying is something that can break any parent’s heart. You want your child to be happy, and so the natural response is to run and rock and soothe until they fall to sleep. This is a good idea in the early months, but eventually should be reduced as you give your child the opportunity to learn to get to sleep by itself.
PACIFY OR SPIT IT OUT?
The pacifier is a great way of soothing your child when they are crying, but much like rocking them to sleep, too much of this can lead to a reliance that will only affect them later on. Some children enjoy the pacifier and will use it to their heart’s content. But others may not be so keen, and that is fine, also.
Furthermore, too much use of the pacifier can cause dental issues. Much like too much sucking of the thumb, it can affect the alignment of gums and teeth and lead to their baby teeth coming in crooked or at an angle. Finding the opportunity to wean your child off the pacifier after a couple of months, typically once the crying has subsided, will avoid any of these problems later in their lives.
FEEDING TIME OR THEIR CHOICE?
Very young children will need to be fed up to nine times a day, and in between, they will sleep. As they grow, they will not need to feed as much, but might still crave meals at different times. It can be challenging to understand when and where to feed your child, and sometimes an inconvenient feeding is necessary.
It is a complicated system to figure out. You don’t want your child to starve (okay, not starve but we all know what being really hungry is like), but you also don’t want to promote an idea that they can get what they want whenever. Really, it is what works best for your baby at first, but with the parent starting to develop a system slowly over time. After a while, the child will naturally learn this system and fall into it, making life easier for you and the child eventually.
UP TO YOU (AND YOUR PARTNER)
Having a child involves a massive learning curve for you and your partner. However, any issues that do arise can and will be dealt with through discussion and communication and will allow the both of you to come to a conclusion that suits you as well as your child.
Ensuring that you are always doing the best for your baby is essential. Giving them the opportunity to grow up and learn in a healthy and happy home is the most crucial of things, and so you don’t need to listen to anyone else’s advice, you need to adapt to your baby’s needs and do what works for them.