I’ve always been a rule follower. As a young child I was called the teacher’s pet simply because I was well-behaved and followed the rules. And even as a teenager starting to go to parties and actively partaking in the fun, I still seemed to constantly look over my shoulder worrying that I was going to get caught. After a few years of being naughty and partying with my friends, I gave up on all that and decided that this rule follower wasn’t good at being “bad”. So of course when I first became a parent I was all about parenting rules – what to do, what not to do, blah, blah, blah. And quite frankly, because I knew nothing about babies when I had my first, following rules was probably beneficial many times. But now after having my second baby I’m able to look back on my first and realize what I could have loosened up on. Isn’t that such a subsequent child cliche? But it’s true. Now don’t get me wrong. Once a rule follower, always a rule follower. So I’m still rather structured and continue to read what “experts” or other parents have to say. I like to educate myself and explore things through fellow parents sometimes. It’s a good thing, in my opinion. But overall I worry less and less about parenting rules and more and more about my family’s feelings and well being.
Here are my Top 5 Parenting Rules New Parents Should Break:
- Don’t Let Baby Suck His Thumb – First of all, an infant will start sucking their thumb whether you want them to or not. My son started when he was brand new. He had reflux really bad, and I assume that sucking his thumb helped him feel better. Sure, there could be obstacles down the line associated with thumb-sucking, but there will be obstacles no matter what. Instead of stalking your baby and pulling their thumb out of their mouth every 5 minutes (which is obviously very impractical anyway) move on to something more productive.
- Don’t Let Baby Fall Asleep In Your Arms – Some super strict sleep trainers are against babies sleeping in the parents’ arms in fear of the baby getting spoiled thus having a harder time sleeping in their own bed. And sure, there are times when it would be a problem or inconvenient to have a sleeping baby in your arms. But when your baby is still little and napping multiple times per day, for the love of God, hold them when you can. It’s one of life’s most precious moments. Trust me.
- Sleep When The Baby Sleeps – It’s not that I disagree with this simple theory. I just know that it’s actually not so simple in real life. Most new parents have a home to take care of, pets to take out, errands to run and jobs to do. And if you already have a child when this new one arrives, then you obviously have to take care of the big one too. It’s just not feasible to always sleep when the baby sleeps. If you can manage to do it some, then cool. But otherwise you’ll just be super tired for a while like most other parents of babies on this planet. You’ll survive.
- Never Feed Baby Off Schedule – When my first was an infant I was obsessed with his feeding schedule. It was so ridiculous that there were times when he was most likely crying due to hunger, but I was scared to feed him because it wasn’t time yet. I’m still into schedules, but I now know that sometimes babies truly do get hungry off schedule. They are growing and developing and eventually moving – all things that can cause hunger to vary. So if your baby is crying and nothing else has helped, try a little feeding, even if it’s not time yet.
- Go Faster, Push Forward, Get Ahead – We’ve all witnessed a fellow parent in a moment of glory bragging about how advanced their child is at something. Hell, you’ve probably done that yourself. Most parents have. And some of these early and advanced accomplishments are genuinely exciting and worth talking about. But when it comes to little ones, being ahead of the game isn’t always the best. Trying to push our kiddos to move on to the next stage, the next trick, the next capability, at a faster-than-normal pace not only may cause you and your child unnecessary stress, but it may also cause you to lose sight of what’s right in front of you. Babyhood and childhood are both fleeting phases of life. Instead of worrying about getting ahead, find your baby’s perfect balance of skill set and fun. And then cherish every moment you possibly can.I am not a medical professional. These are simply my personal opinions.