With the arrival of a new baby Ridler in 2015, it got me thinking about what kind of parent I am. I guess with our first child we decide before they are born how we think we will parent them, the choices we might make, and then when they actually arrive our whole worlds are thrown into disarray and sometimes those decisions go completely out the window!!
When Sam was born, I was determined to breastfeed – we had no money so this was more an economic decision than anything else. But a high pallet and extremely strong suck left my nipples sore and bleeding and I gave up after a week in tears. I managed to pump for 6 weeks until I went back to work, which was fantastic, but then we moved onto formula and never looked back.
Again, with nappies we were generously given some money before Sam was born so decided to invest it in reusable nappies that would cut down our weekly bills. These are absolutely fab, and I would highly recommend them. But after nights of Sam drenching through the nappy and waking up in puddles of wee, we decided that disposables would have to do for the night time and when we were out and about (as I wasn’t really a fan of carrying around dirty nappies with me everywhere!).
When it came to weaning, I took a very random approach – some purees, some whole foods for him to grasp, and then eventually he just had a smaller version of what we had for tea (with the occasional fish fingers and beans when I had run out of everything else).
With sleeping I was determined to crack it and borrowed an excellent book from our local library (which I then bought!) called “Good Night, Sleep Tight“. I wanted to be firm with Sam but also loving, so the strategies provided in this book were understandable but also doable for any sane parent. It sits nicely in the middle of “cry it out” and “cuddle them to sleep forever”.
So I guess in summary I am what I would call a “mix and match” parent – I think there is value in all the different choices, and for me I have used different things for a season when it has been appropriate. How you parent should always fit your lifestyle, and so as mine has changed and evolved I have changed my parenting with it. With new baby I am hoping to breastfeed again (I live in a crazy part of the country where they will actually pay me to do that!) and as I am planning to have 6 months off this time instead of 6 weeks this will hopefully fit my lifestyle well too. But when I go back to work after those 6 months I know that will change, and if baby doesn’t take to it then I will make the right decision for us then.
I know the reusable nappies will come in handy again (if I have managed to overcome the potty training hurdle with Sam…) and sleep will definitely be a priority for me with the new one as it makes everything so much better when your child sleeps well. So that is me in a nutshell! I love that we can all parent differently, so how do you “mix and match” your parenting styles??