Before you become a parent, you think about what kind of family you’d like to have and how you think things might go. “Oh we’d never co-sleep”, “I hate dummies, yuck”, “I’m definitely going to stay home for the first year”. However, sometimes, for reasons outside our control, things don’t go to plan. Things don’t fit. Things don’t make sense. Things don’t happen as they ‘should’. (P.S. I hate the word should. It’s useless. “It shouldn’t happen that way…” Well, turns out it is happening that way soooooo).
This is important to remember, especially when it comes to evaluating research and evidence-based information around our parenting decisions. Researchers write their papers and describe general patterns and trends. They write about what should happen. What makes the most sense. How things usually go. As a result, guess what their research doesn’t account for? Outliers. Just because “the evidence suggests…” doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you and your family.
Sure, the research might say that ‘breast is best’ but maybe for you breastfeeding is incredibly painful/triggering/challenging. In that case, breast is NOT best and the research that says it is, isn’t particularly relevant. For you, the right choice might be formula, and that is OK – in fact, it’s great! How wonderful that there is a safe, healthy alternative that will help your baby grow and thrive.
There is no baby book that will ever perfectly lay out the right path for you and your family. That’s why there are so many damned baby books (and by the way, your baby has no intention of reading any of them). Estimates put the number of people that have ever lived at 108 billion. That means there are/have been at least 108 billion different parenting strategies. At least. Definitely more. I have changed tack at least 3 times and my child has only just turned one.
When it comes down to it, what's best for you and your family is what matters most. Parenthood is a tough gig! At the end of the day, we’re all making choices that are the best we can make in the moment. Whatever choices you’ve made, it's ok. However you’re doing it, you’re doing ok. You are enough.