I first thought that reading books before Emerson arrived would help better equip me in parenthood. Knowledge equals power, right? Well, not so much in this case, especially when you read too many different theories.
The following (including a brief synopsis) is a list of books that I have read front to cover and certain sections twice:
- What to Expect When you are Expecting - a general overview of questions you may have when pregnant including some postpartum and baby stuff.
- Baby Wise- a book that focuses on how to get your baby on a scheduling system so your baby learns to be a part of your family and not the only family member. It follows a strict eat, active, sleep routine about every 3 hours. It encourages waking the baby if you reach that 3 hour mark to eat if necessary. The pay off is a baby that work with your controlled schedule (parent directed), ultimately working towards sleeping through the night at an earlier age (8 weeks instead of 12).
- Secrets of the Baby Whisperer- written by a British nanny, this book focuses on learning to read your baby and understanding what they need and respecting them as a person. This book also agrees with the eat, active, sleep routine, but doesn't focus on the clock like Baby Wise. It is more about establishing a consistent routine so your baby learns what is/should happen next.
- The Nursing Mothers Companion- this book covers all things about breast feeding and of course promotes the importance and benefits of breast feeding. The most important information I took from is book was the importance of establishing a good latch and not creating nipple confusion, meaning no sugar water, pacifier or bottle/formula while in the hospital or for the first two weeks until a good feeding has been established...haha, all of that went out the window when he was born. In the hosiptal, the nurses gave him all of that, sugar water, pacifer and bottle...but I did finally consent to it due to certain circumstances (i.e. Emerson had jaundice).
- The Happiest Baby on the Block - this focuses on calming a fussy baby and follows a simple formula, the 5 S's: swaddle, side, swing, shhh and suck (pacifier or feeding).
All were great books and made good points that made perfect sense, unfortunately, besides their general statements, their main points contradicted each other. So who is right?
Can you spoil or not spoil a newborn by holding them to much? Does a pacifier really create bad habits and nipple confusion? Is letting them "cry it out" a bad thing?
Every book takes one side or the other and the conclusion I finally came to was no one really knows, so do whatever works best for you and your baby!
Obviously there are good practices to be learned and for that, I am glad I read all those books, but now that he is here, I am learning there is no simple formula or plan to follow, which is frustrating for someone like me. I like plans, check lists and seeing things in black and white, but obviously babies don't come with a manual.
It has been tough, but I am working hard on just going with the flow the best I can and enjoy this time with my newborn. It won't be long before I look down and see a little boy instead of my baby.
To sum it all up, a friend shared this article that is pretty funny and makes me realize I am not alone in all of this confusion. If you don't want to read the whole thing, you will get the point within the first few statements, so please read, you will get a good laugh :)