But Mommm: The Manual

by guest blogger, Deanna Cogdon Miller

It started on day one. Our first daughter experienced some reflux right away in the hospital and over the 48+ hours we were there, we had three nurses tell us to do three different things. One told us to leave her flat on her back and keep an eye on her.  One told us to prop her up on her side. Another one told us to put her bassinet on an angle.

Then she wouldn’t sleep on her back and we were told we should swaddle her. We tried and tried and tried and tried. She didn’t like it, she broke the swaddle and we got extra stressed trying to make what we thought was right happen.

Then feeding time came. Is it four months or six months? Is it cereal, fruit, veg, meat? Or is it cereal, meat, veg, fruit? Is it peanut butter at a year or two years? What about strawberries? The books say a year but it comes in the jars mixed in with the other fruit for six month olds. Should we give the baby organic even if we don’t eat organic regularly at home? 

What about soothers? Good or bad? And toys? Should they be wooden or plastic? My cousin in Toronto was told by a doctor that exersaucers and jolly jumpers are bad for development. No one here has ever mentioned that.

Of course nowadays everything that goes near their mouths must be BPA free. Speaking of mouths, did you choose to breastfeed or bottlefeed?

 My best friend’s Mom once told us that if there were as many rules about raising kids when she was having them, people would have thought twice before having more than one.

Adding to the problem is that there seems to be more than one rule for every situation. And the worst thing is that people often (secretly) judge each other for choosing a different rule or following different advice than that which they have been told is best. As parents we’re always making decisions and then questioning whether we’ve made the right one. When it comes right down to it though, the majority of us are just trucking along and doing what we think is in the absolute best interest of our kids and our family (and what’s best for us may not be what’s best for our neighbor).

My 88 year old grandmother told me that she believes every person is given the gift of ‘instinct’ when they become a parent and every child comes with their own unique manual written specifically for them.

And as I think about my two soother-takers and one thumb-sucker, my one swaddle lover and two swaddle haters, my five month eater and my six month eater and my one belly sleeper (yes I’m admitting it) and two back sleepers, I’m with her.


Deanna lives in Dartmouth with her husband and three children. When she's not reading stories, dancing to ABBA or burping a baby, she works in communications for Bell Aliant.