Breast vs bottle. Co-sleeping: yes or no? Cry it out or rock them to sleep? How the heck do I know? I am not a psychologist. Nor do I hold anything even closely resembling a medical degree. This post will not answer any of those questions for you. Because here is what I do know: the only person who knows what the f&#k is best… is you.
Still with me? Good. I apologize for the swearing. But I really wanted to make the point. And the point is that there isn’t any one way that’s best. There are just a lot of ways and some will happen to work best for you.
I say this a lot, but there are certain things that I think are really great about social media. The internet in general. And you should use the interwebs to research a topic only after you have figured out your method of choice for given topic. AKA: cry it out or not. Again, not going to give you my opinion there.
When I became a step-mom I researched the shit out of it. And by researched the shit out of it, I looked up some stuff on Facebook became really intimidated and stopped researching. Then I got pregnant. Holy. Good. F&#k! I literally spent hours wondering whether or not I should get a bottle warmer. Also, apparently plastic is bad now? Who knew?!
Here is my advice. It’s groundbreaking. Love Your Kid! Love them so much it hurts. Love them so much that sometimes you want to punch them in the face. And then walk around feeling guilty all day because you seriously considered punching them in the face. Love them so much you lose sleep sometimes worrying about them. Worrying that you’re doing it right. Love them like this and I promise you, all else will work out.
Think about it. Were you breast or bottle fed? Look to your left and right. Were those people breast or bottle fed? You don’t know? Shocking. That doesn’t matter. Did you sleep in your parent’s bed? That answer is now irrelevant. Think about it, how often does that answer shape your day to day now? I’m going to go out on a limb and say, never. Oh, wait, maybe when deciding if your kids will sleep in your bed. Otherwise, pretty sure this isn’t a thought.
What do you remember about your parents? Me, I remember that my Dad played Wiffle ball with us nearly every weekend. That my mother never missed one of my many sports games. I remember that my Dad never ever, ever allowed me to speak badly about others. That my mother was so good at taking care of me when I was sick; I swear there was something really exceptional about the toast she made. And mostly I remember that no matter their marital problems, and eventual divorce and all the crazy that came with it, they always always put me [and my brothers] first. Seriously, my goals… they killed themselves to try to give me the opportunity to take hold of them.
What I don’t remember is, whether I was breast or bottle fed, or if I co-slept, or if they let me cry it out. Because from my perspective as a kid those things weren’t important. They were important, but to my parents not to me. And the reason they were important was that all of these things affected their mental and emotional wellness.
So here is the thing, even though we put our kids first. We absolutely need to honor ourselves first. Because we cannot be the best version of ourselves for our kids if we are not honoring ourselves. One of my friends said to me, “I knew I needed my space, so I started sleep training as soon as possible.” She has twin girls and her husband was deployed when they were very young. She is also, and I am not exaggerating this, the most selfless human I have ever met. A fantastic f&#king mom. She knew to be her best self, she needed space in her own bed to sleep. This made her a better mom. Which in turn made her kid’s lives better.
There are so many things that we can f&#k up. Seriously, so many things. And being human is hard enough. Kids, though, they’re resilient. And while we shouldn’t take that for granted. We should also forgive ourselves a bit and honor our needs.
If you’ve decided you’re going to breastfeed. Then f&#king do it. And when you have a question because your nipple looks funny, Google that. But don’t open up Google searching for validation of your decision to breastfeed or not. I promise you, you are not going to get your validation there.