Even though a pregnancy is a fairly lengthy amount of time, some women feel that it is simply not long enough for them to physically and mentally prepare themselves for their baby’s arrival. I enjoyed preparing my home for my first son and reading everything that I could about caring for babies before he was born. That said, I later came to realize that no amount of preparation or reading could have made me fully prepared for my role as the mother of a newborn baby.
Information is a good thing, much of the time. I am glad that I spent time thinking about and researching what I would need to have at home to take care of the baby because it helped me to create a baby registry that contained only items that were compatible with what I anticipated would be my style of parenting. I am also glad that I read about baby care and about parenting, because I wanted to have some idea about what I would be doing on a daily basis.
As wonderful as all of that information was, I was never able to get my hands on an advance copy of the one thing which would have been most helpful – an instruction manual specifically created just for my little boy. Fortunately, parents have built – in instincts that help them to become attuned to their babies, and babies naturally act in ways that communicate their needs to their parents. No instruction manual is needed.
Even though you do not need an instruction manual to tell you how to care for your baby, you do need to actually trust your parental instincts. It seems like trusting your parental instinct is something that should just come naturally, but unfortunately it is not. All kinds of people, books, and other media communicate (sometimes accidentally) messages to parents that can undermine those parents’ abilities to trust their parental instincts. One example of this is the parents who find themselves in tears as they try to teach their little ones to fall asleep by “crying it out”. They have been told that that is the thing to do, and when they go to actually do it, they realize that it does not feel right.
Babies do not come with instruction manuals, but do not worry. You and your baby are biologically equipped with the tools that you need for understanding each other. You will come to know your baby and to develop a sense of what is right or wrong for her. Tune in to your baby and trust your parental instincts, even when you find it hard to do so because you have received conflicting information from other sources.