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Here’s How to Raise a Baby

Here’s How to Raise a Baby

Parenting, especially with your first born, is a learning experience. From the moment you find out you’re expecting you’re under a lot of pressure to get everything right. After all, this little life depends on you and the last thing you want to do is put your child at risk. Like, even though I consider myself kind of a natural at this, I’ve still questioned my parenting skills at least a dozen times already. I think it’s a natural part of learning the job. Others realize this, too. Which is why, I think, there’s always a steady stream of people who are so eager to share their advice out of love and experience.

But, as I’ve learned, not all advice is good advice – and not all advice is wanted advice.

Let me start out with this: I appreciate advice from all sources. Young mothers like myself, mommy blogs, even my mother-in-law ;). Each person brings a new perspective and comes from a place of wanting me to succeed at parenting. However, sometimes people confuse “well meaning suggestions for the care and maintenance of baby” with “the only 100% scientifically proven way to keep your baby alive ever.”

One bit of advice that I’d get quite often is to just let the baby cry; eventually he’ll fall asleep. I know there have been millions of mothers who’ve raised happy, healthy babies following this method, but it’s just not my style. I’m more of a scoop him up and cuddle him until he feels better kind of mum. In fact, one of the most amazing things so far has been getting to know him – his mannerisms, his cries, his facial expressions. I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out the difference between “I’m gassy and it’s making me uncomfortable” and “I left you a surprise in my diaper” or “I’m hungry, bring on the boobies.” As a parent, you have the right and responsibility to pick and choose what advice works for you and your baby.

So, what has worked for me? Well, weeding out the weird and just plain bad advice I’ve received so far, here are some bits of wisdom that I’ve taken to heart:

  • Remember to look after yourself, too. If you aren’t healthy, your baby won’t be healthy either.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, take care of your breasts and nipples. They’re keeping your baby alive. Show some respect.
  • It’s amazing how little babies can actually do for themselves. Like regulating body temperature; if you have to put on two layers of clothing to keep warm, your baby should be wearing three.
  • Find time to spend with your partner. Even if it’s just leaving baby with grandma to go grab a cup of coffee. With a newborn, any alone time feels romantic.
  • These first few weeks are the hardest but the most precious. Cherish every moment – from every hungry boy cry to every mommy-baby snuggle.

Are these pretty basic tips? Absolutely. At the end of the day, you determine your parenting style. Not me. Not someone of the Internet. Not your mother-in-law. If you and your baby are happy and healthy, the rest is just the details.

Photo Credit: Stefania Orru

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  1. Congrats to you and your beautiful family. My son just turned 3 weeks and I am also a 1st time mom. It is a lot of pressure to feel like your doing everything right. All through my pregnancy people were telling me all this stuff and honestly it went in one ear and out the other. Truthfully the best advice I got though was your baby will teach you how to parent. He will let you know what needs to be done. And that has helped me so much. So just breathe and enjoy your baby boy. Xoxo

    Posted by: jess on March 5, 2017 at 10:52 am
  2. Congratulations on your new born son Shai. I took both my Children’s names from the Bible. Nathaniel and Naomi. I am so happy you guys got to stay home with him that is a wonderful gift. I served 27 years in the military so at the time I only got 30 days. Time flys and cherish every second. I was like you, I am a cuddled and didn’t like hearing them cry. I nursed them till they were six months and then back to regular duty. I love you guys are taking time to be with each other even if it is for a cup of coffee. Be blessed and enjoy.

    Posted by: Valentina AguilarGarcia on February 25, 2017 at 10:37 pm
  3. HI Peta & Maks
    There is a lot to be said about not letting baby Shai cry. One it is completely impossible to spoil a baby in the first 6 months. So pick him up and cuddle him all you want. Enjoy every second, it goes by so quick! Second.. I think it is especially important NOT to let him cry because he needs to know you are there for him. He crys, you fix it. Simple as that. Be aware that sometimes he might just cry no matter what you do. Don’t take it personal, just be there for him. You are doing great! I wish your family the very best. Thanks for the blog!

    Posted by: Cynthia on February 25, 2017 at 8:41 am
  4. Wow. You’re going back to DWTS in March. Like so many new moms, that precious time with a newborn sadly has to be cut short because of work. The best of luck to you. Juggling career and a new baby has its challenges.

    Posted by: Maria on February 21, 2017 at 8:54 pm
  5. Congratulations on your new addition. One thing I’d like to add to your advice column is something that took me a few years and two kids to learn and only after a brief bout with post partum depression did I really embrace it, and that is yes, to try to be thankful for every moment, but it’s okay to not enjoy every moment. It’s okay to feel upset and overwhelmed when dealing with a colicky baby who won’t stop crying and to think that you just want that moment to be over with. And it’s even more okay to talk to others about that those feelings. In parenting, there will be amazing moments (like the baby snuggles) and the not so great moments and it’s okay to just want to get through the not so great ones to appreciate the amazing ones even more.

    Posted by: Stacey on February 21, 2017 at 1:43 pm
  6. I disagree with the thought that the first few weeks are the hardest. Being a first time parent the first few weeks are hard: running on lack of sleep, learning how to take care of this incredible new life, learning the new family dynamic ect. For me, I look back at the first few weeks and months as the easiest. My kids are now 9 and 7 and it just seems to get harder and harder with each year that goes by. The only advice I would give would be to trust your instincts.

    Posted by: Jennah on February 19, 2017 at 2:10 am
  7. Peta- Congratulations! So glad you’ve realized that holding that precious baby is the way to go. Babies establish trust when their every need is attended to- and a happy, trusting baby is one that doesn’t have to cry very long! The bond you are creating right now is the physical, mental and spiritual foundation for Shai’s entire life. Blessings to you all!

    Posted by: Darla on February 18, 2017 at 12:05 pm
  8. Happy for you and your family. And your site is easy and uncomplicated. Great for new mothers. I also enjoy your site and I’m not a new mother but always enjoy something good and interesting from people I admire.
    Warmest regards,

    Posted by: Sherrie Pellini on February 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm