As parents, which sources should we really be listening to?

Photographer:Hannah Webb Photography

By Hayley Bukhamsin

One of the biggest challenges we parents face, throughout our journey, is working out whose advice we can trust, and whose to take with a pinch of salt.  

We’re surrounded by advice: the contradictions and mixed messages between sources can result in confusion, frustration, misunderstanding and a feeling of failure as a parent.  

You’ve read in a book that your baby should be going to bed drowsy but awake, your mother in law has warned you that holding him to sleep is a bad habit, your best friend swears by feeding to sleep instead (which your mother in law also doesn’t approve of), your baby screams if you do anything other than hold him, and your anxiety levels are through the roof.

Who is right and who is wrong?

Your GP supports your mother in law’s view, and your local sleep trainer says with ‘just a little crying’ you can get him to fall asleep on his own, reassuring you that ‘it’s gruelling but you just have to push through’. None of it feels right. You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.

So here I am, ready to give you a definitive answer as to who we parents really can listen to and trust. A not-so-secret (but nowadays generally forgotten) formula that gives you confidence in your parenting decisions and a filter through which all future parenting advice can pass, to avoid any more upset or uncertainty.

It sounds too good to be true, but really it’s just about returning the balance in parenthood: empowering you, as a mama, to find your own rhythm, priorities and voice.  

There are only two sources to listen to and trust as a parent: your intuition and your baby.  

LISTEN to your intuition – that gut feeling you have, the voice making you hesitate before taking a peer’s advice, or following a book’s regime. Sit quietly with any big parenting decision before taking action, and notice how it feels in your heart. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. ⠀ 

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