When I was pregnant with my first baby I really had no idea what I was doing. By the time she was born, I had been an Aunt for 13 years and had 11 nieces and nephews. But that second hand knowledge was nothing compared to what I needed to know for my child.
Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how to raise my baby. Should I vaccinate or not? Should I have a drug-free and medicinal birth? Should I breastfeed or formula feed? When should I start solid foods? What kinds of baby shampoo should I use? What is the best carseat/stroller combo? The list went on and on (and on…).
We decided on natural childbirth in a hospital with a midwife. This was the best choice for us. However, I heard constantly from those I worked with that it was not a great choice. That there were drugs, I should use them. That I wouldn't be able to handle the pain. That I shouldn't try to be a hero.
When my baby was found to be footling breech, again I got advice from everyone about how to turn her, how a c-section wasn't "that bad", and whether I should try to turn her or not.
I remember in our childbirth classes the teacher telling us this. When you are pregnant and a new parent you will get a lot of advice. You will hear a lot of things that have worked for others and they will be really passionate about what they believe in. Listen to everything. Mull it over and like a great buffet table set with lots of different foods, choose the ones that seem best for you.
In my 9 years of parenting, this is what has worked. As I come upon challenges with my children, I look for advice and I get a lot of unsolicited advice. I ask other parents, read blogs and websites, take what I want and leave the rest.
There are so many opinions out there about everything. There is no way I could implement every single thing that every person tells me to do. I rely on my gut and do what is best for my family. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and I have to try something different. But that is kind of what parenting is all about isn't it?
Children's health is at the top of every mother's mind. What's your favorite tip for raising a healthy baby? By replying, you will be entered to win an exclusive Million Moms Challenge Gift Pack, which includes an iPad2, a custom-made Million Moms Challenge pendant and a $50 donation in your name to Global Giving.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Million Moms Challenge. The opinions and text are all mine. Contest runs November 14 to December 18, 2011. A random winner will be announced by December 20, 2011.