The Stuff You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About: Baby’s First Year

We live in a judgmental world. There’s a whole competition on the social media, parents trying to prove to the people they don’t even know that they’re the best. That their methods are the most effective in producing the “perfect child”.

The truth is, there are no perfect methods and there isn’t a perfect child.

There’s just us, moms and dads with our little ones, all of us imperfect, but trying our best to survive every day. To enjoy the small victories and give ourselves some praise when we deserve it (even though every one of us, realistically, deserves it every day!).

It’s okay to try to make the right decisions. We’re all human, though. Take a breath and don’t worry too much about what you’re doing wrong if you’re trying to make your day a bit easier.

I used to worry about many of these things. I was stressed, overwhelmed, convinced that if I do too many of the “wrong things”, eventually, the scale is going to tip and I’ll be more of a bad mom than a good mom.

It was exhausting to constantly remind myself of all the mistakes I’m making.

I decided to change my perception and let some things go.

If you’re feeling like you’re doing everything wrong, like your child is “behind” because your bad parenting, your mental attitude is the only thing that’s wrong with the picture. It took me a while to realize that.

Some things are just okay to do, or not to do.

Giving your child time to explore on their own

Yes, they love us more than we could possibly imagine. We are the most important people in their little world.

Do they need us sitting next to them the whole time, though? Not really.

It’s even super beneficial to let kids explore the world on their own (as long as they’re within reach/eyesight and the area is safe). It is crucial for a small child to learn that they can entertain themselves on their own – especially if they’re firstborn, like mine!

He likes to explore on his own a lot. That’s his toy corner, and I don’t really go there!

Telling others not to touch baby’s hands and not to kiss the baby

This has been a tough one, especially in my country, where people disregard the germs quite a lot and family members (whoever they may be) feel entitled to kiss even the tiniest of newborns, to demonstrate their love.

I’ve been lectured on it, frowned upon, accused of being controlling.

But this is the hill I’ll die on.

Newborns are not to be kissed, especially not on their face. Sometimes, parents are discouraged from doing that, too, if they’ve been sick. It’s common sense.

I’ve been told things like “my hands are clean, I wash the dishes 50 times a day”, “nothing is going to happen, we’re family” many, many times.

My child has also been very sick at 4 months old. He was in a hospital and had a surgery due to a severe bacterial infection, right after one of these encounters.

I will beat myself over it forever. I didn’t protect him the way I should have, because I had no guts to stand up to people.

I’m a different person now.

I will never let that happen again.

Feeding your baby purée past the 8-month mark

If you don’t feel comfortable enough with giving your little one tiny pieces of chicken or chunks of fruit, and you’re not sure if they’re following your “chew” commands, take your time. Each baby is wired in their own, special way.

My boy doesn’t even have his top teeth yet. Even though babies are incredible chewers even without teeth, he just doesn’t want to take a bite of anything (although he will chew on it once it’s inside his mouth).

I’ve never seen a child past the age of 3 who is unable to chew, swallow or feed themselves. So I’m not too worried. Yes, we still do mashed meat and veggies for lunch. (I’ve gotten better at feeding him actual solids for dinner and breakfast.) We’ll get there, and so will you!

A baby complaining from time to time

I’ve been lectured a lot on this one, by many people who – in my honest opinion – haven’t really done a good job in raising independent adults.

According to their (rather uncalled for) advice, I should not be letting my baby complain about anything. Ever. If he’s frowning, something is wrong. My job is to let go of everything I’m doing and fix all my child’s problems. Try one thing to make him smile. If that doesn’t work, try something else… on and on it goes.

See, I don’t do that.

I love him more than the life itself. We have plenty of laughs together. We spend some good, quality time together.

But he’s a human, too.

If he’s upset about a toy not working the way he’d like it to, I don’t offer him other toys to make him happier. I let him find his own way to play.

If he is yelling because something is in his way, I don’t pick him up and jump over the obstacle for him. I will let him yell for a bit, and find his way around. I feel no guilt for (not) doing that.

Pacifier during night time and nap time

Am I secretly worried that he’ll never, ever want to get rid of paci? Absolutely.

Do I dwell on it and burden myself with what the future has in store for us? Not anymore.

As with food, I’ve never seen a grown child with a paci. (Well, almost never, but let’s not go there right now.) We’ve gotten better at taking it away and he now only gets his pacifier during night time.

For now, I let him sleep with it and try to take the best care of his teeth that I can, in all the other ways.

What are some things that you do, or don’t do, that you’ve stopped feeling guilty about?

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