When you decide to have a baby (or you find out one is on the way) you start to set plans in motion. If it is your first, like mine, you become consumed with the latest baby products, the new "rules" of car seat positions, to use crib bumpers or not, or to delay cord cutting. It can be overwhelming and exciting all in the same breath. You will have veteran moms trying to give you advice, since every mom is an expert (or so they think). Being a soon-to-be new mother, you'll surely soak it up!
As those months fly by and your due date is right around the corner, you shift into overdrive. Just a few months ago my husband and I sat down and really talked about how we were going to raise our son. I had done all the research and I knew what I wanted. I would never co-sleep, he wouldn't even lay his eyes on the television until he was in pre-school (and then it would be PBS only), and everyone was to wash their hands before touching him (just to name a few).
Well it is 3 1/2 months after the delivery of my son Reece and let me tell you, I co-slept for the first 3 weeks since he wouldn't sleep anywhere else. I plop my son in front of the television every morning for 10 minutes so I can get myself breakfast and make coffee. And as for washing hands....I tried to implement that rule, I did. But seriously, after the first 2 weeks I gave up. Just don't wipe your nose on your hands then touch my baby and you'll be fine. I figure it's strengthening his immune system, right?
Looking back at my pregnancy, I did everything I could to plan, but until your little bundle of joy is here you don't truly know what you will do. I co-slept, which I was highly against, because he would scream if he wasn't by my side. It broke my heart. I made sure I did my research and talked to my midwife on how to do it safely, but I did it. Now that he is sleeping in his crib every night all night, I truly miss co-sleeping.
I realized that you have to let go of all expectations. Nothing will go as planned. I got my first glimpse of that during delivery. Reece came on his due date, something no one expected, and I didn't get my water birth. I had planned from day one to have a water birth but that all changed the moment I got into the tub. I jumped out of that tub faster than a cat would when thrown in water. That was the beginning of letting go of everything I had planned for.
There are no hard and fast rules to parenting. Things change from minute to minute. To be a parent means to be flexible and ever adapting. The only thing that I am adamant on is safety. When the car seat rules change, change with them. They set those rules in place for your child's safety. Place your babe on their back for sleeping, it's for their safety. And use breathable mesh bumpers, again for their safety. People will disagree, stating that their child's needs are different, and they switched them to front facing in the car early or placed them on their belly to sleep since they won't sleep on their back. My thought is, if it's for their safety, do everything you can to insure that. Your child doesn't have a say in their wellbeing. Okay I'm climbing down off my soap box now...
Being a new parent is such a learning experience, not only for you and baby, but for you and your spouse. I have learned so much about my husband since our boy was born. It has been amazing to watch them grow together and hear his opinions on Pampers vs. Huggies (Huggies winning every time).
As my midwife told me right before my delivery, "Always have a preference, never a plan. Plans are written in stone and preferences are open for change." She was one smart lady!