How to deal with confusing advice
Conflicting advice can undermine your ability to care for your child, says Shannon.
I am very confident in the decisions I make as a parent. I don’t doubt the choices that I have made, as I know that parenting gently and following an attachment parenting approach are the right choices. I know that I am raising confident, kind and gentle girls that will grow into strong, confident, kind and gentle women.

"Everyone had a better way, the right way, and that way was often not the same as mine"

I did not always feel this way though. When my first child was born I was in a constant battle with myself. My gut was telling me to parent in one way but the baby books, my family, friends, medical professionals and well-meaning strangers were telling me something else. I was bombarded with suggestions such as teaching her to self-soothe, sleep alone, take a bottle and start solids. I was told that I shouldn’t rock her to sleep, or let her sleep in my arms or bed, not to carry her to much or pick her up whenever she cried. Everyone had a better way, the right way, and that way was often not the same as mine. I was an absolute mess.

My heart was telling me to hold her close and to have her with me as often as possible. I hated sleeping separated by walls and doors. It didn’t make sense to me to force mush into her protesting mouth, and to not rush to pick her up every time she looked like she needed me. I fought these impulses because I was so scared of messing her up and letting someone down. I was terrified of scarring this perfect baby that I had been entrusted with. Me. No one else was responsible for her but me.

And that’s when it hit me!

I was the boss! Not the baby books or the self-proclaimed baby professionals. Not my parents or in-laws and not my kindly neighbour. My husband and I were the only ones whose opinion counted. We were in charge. We had been given this child to look after and we were going to do it our way.

With that empowering thought in my head, I threw away the books stacked high next to my bed, I ignored the advice on weaning, sleep training and starting solids and I moved my six month old baby into my bed.  She happily slept between us that night and every night since then.

Parenting is scary. You are your child’s all, you are responsible for everything she learns and for the person she will eventually grow into. It is terrifying! It is also liberating. You are in control and you are the boss. You are the one who gets to make the decisions. If you want to feed your kids chips and marshmallows for breakfast, then do it. It is your choice. Who cares if everyone does not agree with your chosen method? Everyone else is not in charge of your family- you are.

Have you ever been given unwanted advice about parenting?

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