Navigating Through The Baby Information Ocean

Congratulations! You are going to have a baby. As you  get close to the time of having your child, after going  through nine months of pregnancy you face a new life and a  new world of information. The amount of baby information  is astounding. Just trying to buy the appropriate car seat  may require hundreds of pages of reading. The American  Academy of Pediatrics car seat pamphlet alone is six  pages long! Then there are thousands of newborn books,  magazines, websites, videos and tapes on all the other  aspects of care. By the end of your baby’s first month,  you can find yourself afloat on a virtual ocean of baby  information.

As a Pediatrician who for twenty-two years has enjoyed  counseling new parents, I have a set of guidelines to help  keep you from being overwhelmed by all the baby information  that surrounds us. Here is a guide for new parents to use  to go from novice to good parent.

1. There is not one expert that you must listen to.  Even when I advise parents in my practice, I tell  them that what I offer is only advice. Advice can  be used or discarded depending on how it suits you.  With your baby you are the parent and only you will  become the expert on your baby.

2. There is nothing more valuable than a few good  friends. Your friends who have seen through  child rearing may have valuable things to offer to  you. Support from a trusted source such as your  mother or an intimate friend, is as time tested as  pregnancy itself. Unfortunately with our mobile  society, this part of child rearing has become harder  to maintain. Nevertheless, finding the right people  to support you can be critical to your success  especially in the early days of your parenting  career.

3. Trust yourself. Though you will need support as a  new parent, you also need to have faith in yourself.  Most of baby care is using common sense. And I must  say that through all my experience I have mostly  witnessed good use of sense from parents. We all  have to grow into our parenting roles. This takes  time. None of us have parented before and none of us  go through a training program. This gives us plenty  of room for self doubt. But have faith. Many people  have gone before us and learned on the job as we  will. You will do well. Take your time. This is an  overwhelming experience with an overwhelming amount  to learn. Stay committed to learning and you will be  a great parent.

4. Take in a little at a time. We already established  that there is a huge amount of baby care and child  rearing information. But nobody uses all that  information all the time. Having resources at your  disposal when you need it may be a more functional  approach to the information. Have your friends or  your pediatrician suggest some books to have at your  disposal. A few key books, a good local library, and  perhaps a parenting magazine subscription (a good  baby shower gift) may be all you need. Magazines  are good to keep since you’ll never know when that  back issue will be just the answer for the current  problem you’re having with your child. Getting the  information when you need it is practical and less  stressful than trying to know everything there is to  know about babies all at one time.

5. Choose what works for you. When you are facing a  problem with your child you will face a time when  your pediatrician says one thing, your mother another  and your favorite magazine a third. No two people  raise their babies the same way. Likewise, nobody  always has the exact advice you need for your baby.  You are allowed to make a decision for yourself on  what to do with your baby. There is no right or  wrong way to raise a child. Do what your heart says  is right. You have to be the one comfortable with  your own parenting.

6. Finally, the most important thing is to love your  child. Sometimes we can be so worried about whether  we are doing things right that we forget the most  important things. No decision we make will break  our baby’s childhood. Relax. Smile, play with your  baby. With enough support and resources available  we should feel empowered to feel good about being a  parent. We should relieve ourselves of the pressure  we feel. And recognize that the most important  parenting rule is that our children should feel loved  and cared for. So love your child and everything  will be ok. You’ll feel like you are surfing above  that information ocean.