Before I gave birth to my first child I read every book I could get my hands on: books on pregnancy, childbirth, the first year, the toddler years, what to do with a naughty teenager, and on and on. I read myself in circles, trying to get a handle on what to do once this little girl showed up and I was the boss. Even though I spent my youth babysitting for friends and nannying for a family in the neighborhood, there was really only so much I could do to prepare for my own baby. At about 35 weeks I finally told my husband, “All the books say different things! One says to let your baby cry to sleep, the other says to let them snuggle in with you, and the third says to hire a sleep nurse. How do I know which one is right?!”
As it turns out, when it comes to parenting, my own instincts were right. I read all the books, I did all my research, and in the end I knew in my gut when something was right for my child and when something wasn’t.
My daughter turned out to have crazy allergies, so when I followed all the books and fed her solids at 6 months, she nearly went into anaphylactic shock eating bananas. I had known I shouldn’t have started her on solids, I’d known she was just fine breastfeeding, but I didn’t heed my own instincts, I listened to the “pros” instead.
The scary banana allergy was just the beginning of a huge realization for me that as the mom, there’s an instinctual knowledge about what works for you and the health of your baby that no doctor or professional can understand. I learned a critical lesson that day, to listen to myself, to trust my own instincts, the knowledge that as the mother of this new little girl, there was no advice better than my own.
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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.