This is inspired by a blog I saw recently, and the backlash of parents for and against Ms Ford.
So I actually DID try Gina Ford with my first, 13yrs ago (shock horror, what a bitch)…I have to be honest parenting was a whole heap easier then than it is now! There really wasn’t the judgemental crap around then, and to be fair most of the crap today is spouted by so called “experts”.
There has been an explosion in the “baby business” in the time I have had children, now I fully accept I am part of that! When I first started teaching 10yrs ago there were very few classes, now the market is saturated!
The likes of Sarah Ockwell Smith and her followers can be as damaging as Gina Ford, why? Because they divide parents!
There GENUINELY isn’t a RIGHT way to parent a child!! The quicker we learn this the quicker we will be able to help other parents!! Some of us are on the more gentle spectrum, others of us are not, I like to think I fall (as most of us do) in the middle. I sometimes feel the need to explain all to my children, in a calm, gentle manner, and sometimes I feel the need to just say no, because I said so, and I am the parent!
We ALL have it in us to parent a child, it is the oldest profession in the world, its the one thing we, as a species have been doing since time began. Now that doesn’t mean we have always done it right, and we have to change with the times, but we have got it so very wrong now, and we are making it so much harder for new parents!
My first daughter was Gina Ford child, yes she probably just was anyway, but I NEEDED that structure, it worked for us, in fact she slept way more than what Gina said, and even now at the age of nearly 13 would literally sleep all day if given the chance! When she was 3m we had an early morning photo shoot booked, we didn’t set an alarm, we had a 3m old! We woke up at 9am! She was laying in her cot, swaddled, watching the world go by, we walked in she beamed! Now she wasn’t laying their because I had ignored her previous days/weeks of screaming, laying their with her needs unmet, a cold mother who didn’t care, she was laying their because she was quite happy to, and even now prefers her own space and company sometimes.
My second daughter, my spirited one, escaped out of a miracle blanket (literally a straight jacket) at 6wks old, she never needed to be swaddled. She would never sleep more than a 40min sleep cycle and was a DIFFERENT baby, she is now a different child! My eldest NEEDS routine, even now, she is not keen on decision making, she likes to be told what to do, she likes to know what she is doing. My middle one, free spirit, will forge her own path. If anyone fancies challenging me to tell me that they are different because of the way they were treated in the first 6m of their life, off you go…
My boy came along, he is my happiest of accidents, I was working pretty much full time, having recently set up a Mummas…there was an 8 & 5yr age gap, he was my boy after my girls, I had learnt that all babies were different. I did a total mix of baby led (he lived in a sling, he slept in my bed), he was bf exclusively for the longest, but he had to have a routine. I went back to work evenings when he was 4m, and I was determined he would only ever have breastmilk (I managed that and he has never had cows milk to drink, but that is a whole other blog). He had to learn pretty quick that 6pm the boobs went, and they didn’t arrive back till 10pm. Is he damaged by that? Of course he isn't, he has gone through phases of being an amazing sleeper, and phases where I wanted to eat my own head through tiredness…why?? Because that is who he is! NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT I DID!!!
So this blog is for new parents AND for "experts"...
New Parents - Trust your Instincts - If you feel the need to read books, do, but accept that all babies are different, some will fall into the categories of those books, others won’t! How many of us read books on how to make our marriage work? Or how to make our relationship with our mum better, I know some do, but I also know that you wouldn’t judge another woman for reading one in the same way you would judge her for a parenting style? Your baby hasn’t read the book you are reading…if it feels right and it works, go for it, if it doesn’t don’t! If you don’t want to read books, DON’T! You WILL know what to do…
To the “experts” and fellow colleagues in the baby business - STOP pedalling crap about crying damaging babies! There has been one Facebook post shared recently, it’s opening line “Ignoring babies crying can lead to serious problems”….the video is a series of clips showing tiny (I mean tiny) babies crying….sad music is laced throughout the video, it talks about how leaving a baby to cry will affect its development, It shows a young child standing melancholically by a lake!! No, No and NO!!! Yes, we know that babies in Romanian Orphanages are damaged by being left for prolonged periods with no human interaction or even touch. I remember a training course with someone who had worked in one of these orphanages, all of us were in tears by the stories she told, these poor souls were starved of every element of human touch and love. This is VERY different to what we, as mums in the western modernised world would do. Putting your baby down to have a wee or shower and it cry’s, putting your baby down as you don’t know what else to do and it cry’s, letting your baby cry for a period of time to see if it will sleep is so, so, different.! We have got our knickers in a huge twist over parenting and crying and we really shouldn’t! There is enough stuff to stress about being a Mum, without that added guilt!
None of us start out the parenting journey by saying, I know I am going to really try and mess up this child! Whatever we are doing, we are doing it because it feels right, lets stop muddying the water, lets let mums find their instinct. Mums believe in yourselves, trust that WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING, that is working for you, you carry on doing it!
I don't care if you choose to breastfeed until your child is 10, sleep in a bed for the same amount of time and let them lead your life, I also don't care if you decide at 4wk you want to stop breastfeeding, you want a routine and you want them in their own room at 3m! Or anything in between!! YOU ARE IN CHARGE! YOU KNOW BEST!! YOU FORGE YOUR OWN PATH!!