Parenthood – there is no guidebook

Parenthood – there is no guidebook

Diana Du Plessis on behalf of Philips Mother and Child Division (Avent)

You have survived 9 months of pregnancy, gone through labour and finally it’s time to head home and be a parent. Some might get help from family and grandparents but others might not. While the birth of a new baby brings happiness to the family, it also naturally comes with some fears that can be daunting to new parents. Reading magazines, previous articles about parenthood or even a simple google search may provide some insight, but it shouldn’t determine how you take care of your children. Pregnancies and births are never alike; everyone has a unique experience and the same can be said for parenthood – where no parenting style is the same. You just need to find your own and one that works for your family.

Fortunately, children and their parents learn together. As your child grows older, your parenting skills will also change and adapt. You are your own guidebook and what works for you and your bundle of joy should be what you practice daily. It is fun to be a parent, but also a big job to raise a child so here are a few myths about parenthood that we can debunk to help you be the best parent for your child.

Myth: Childbirth is a nightmare

Truth: This is not true – for everyone there will be a different experience. For some it is easy and for some it will be more difficult. Planning for the birth however is the important part. Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different so it’s important to chat to your partner and doctor about what you want and what options works best for you.

Myth: A mom should know everything (Supermom)

Truth: Accept help and support where possible. You are not a superwoman and you need the help to give you enough time to rest. For a lot of parents the trick is learning as you go as things will get easier by the day. For first time moms, you can read books or blogs to get help on what to do should you feel you are going through a roller coast ride. And remember if you need help – never be ashamed to ask for it.

Myth: There is a guidebook on parenthood

Truth: Every mother will have a different experience as each baby’s needs are different. Create your own guidebook that works for you and your family. Speaking to other parents is an idea for those who might feel like they are not copying and may want some advice. They might have gone through a similar experience and by chatting to them who knows you might get answers to questions you have. But give parenthood time because you will get in tune with what you baby requires and needs – and you will be great!

Myth: Parenting comes naturally

Truth: Parenthood needs adjusting to the new way of life and it can be challenge for everyone. It might take time, but just be patient. You will also need your partner often and do ask for help when you need it. Often postpartum depression affects the family relationships and the dynamics with your partner will likely change – so ensure the lines of communication stay open, you share the responsibilities and that you work through the adjustment together.

Myth: Babies should sleep through the night when they are two to three months old.

Truth: Some parents are lucky as it depends on your baby as it is easier for some to sleep than others. Establishing good sleep habit for your young one might be hard. As a result, a regular bedtime and a sequence at night are key things to consider when developing a sleep routine. Follow the old trick that you should nap when your baby naps – this will help with exhaustion.

It can take a bit of time to learn and understand your baby’s needs, but persevere and you will soon see the results. Ask for help from family and friends when you are not managing as parenthood can be exhausting. Parenting does not come naturally as some might say the most important thing is to not compare yourself to your neighbour or friend, you will surely be the best parent for your child.

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