Keep doing What Works!

If what you are doing is working for you, your partner, and your baby, great! Keep doing it!

This is the third Guiding Principle of Our Baby Class, and something that I think all parents need to internalize.

So many times we mention something we are doing as a parent, or something our baby is doing, and what gets reflected back to us is a solution to situation that we, as the parent, never defined as a problem. This seems to happen most often around sleep and feeding patterns, but can happen in any area. 

If you mention that your baby is waking during the night, you are likely to get advice on sleep training. 
If you say that baby likes to comfort nurse, you will probably hear something about giving them a pacifier. 
If you comment how much baby likes to sleep in your arms, someone is bound to start talking about how important it is to get baby sleeping independently as soon as possible.

Cute Baby looking downward

Whether or not you actually feel these behaviors are a problem, if the person you are talking with feels they are, or would be for them, then all of a sudden your simple comment gets turned into a problem that someone else can fix for you. Many people love to give parenting advice, and sometimes it can be hard for well-meaning people to step outside their own experience to really hear what new parents are saying, rather than what they would say on an issue. 

With the exception of a few serious safety things, most of parenting is finding out what works for your family and going with it until things change and it’s no longer working. Letting other people create problems out of situations that are working for you can cause doubt, stress, and generally drive you crazy. If it’s working, then there’s no need to change it, regardless of what your best friend, mother-in-law, or neighbor says. 

Mother kissing her baby on the cheek

My son has never been an easy sleeper. He needed to be held, or laid-down with, to sleep for a very long time. He didn’t sleep through the night until well into toddlerhood. We didn’t always love this, but were well prepared based on the sleeping habits as babies of me, my husband, and our siblings. We found ways that worked for us, and while there were certainly days I wished for a baby that I could put down sleepy and get stuff done, mostly I enjoyed the sleepy snuggles and relaxing time with my son. But when other people got a glimpse of our routines around naps and bedtime, we got lots of unhelpful “I can’t believe you are doing this” and “why aren’t you doing this” type comments. We tried to ignore them, my husband being much better at this than I was, and keep doing what was working for us. I refused to feel guilty for doing things that my son needed and worked for our family.

Cute black and white photo mother, father, and crawling baby smiling at the camera

So, if it works for you, keep doing it! Babies change so much in their first few years that we are constantly having to adapt our routines to their new needs. Giving up a tool that works, because someone else thinks we should adds needless stress. You know your baby and your family best, so follow your instincts and do what works!

And when it no longer works, that is the time to change things!