I spent the first 4 months of baby #1s life terrified. From stressing that the soother that put him to sleep in 10 seconds was going to give us orthodontist bills for years to come, to switching to formula was going to leave my baby wanting for affection. From worrying that rocking my baby to sleep was making him dependent on me for soothing and would result in tears later, to whether taking him out of his swaddle too early would make him feel less secure. I felt that every single decision I made would have a lasting negative effect on him. (Note to readers: sleep deprived first time mothers never think their decisions will have a lasting positive effect on their children.) I was exhausted, stressed out and convinced that I was doing it all wrong.
One afternoon my spouse put it all into perspective for me.
Close your eyes for a minute, and think about your friends, the people you admire and love the most. Got them? Now which of them were formula or bottle fed? (I didn’t know.) Who went to daycare, a day home, had a nanny or had a stay at home mom? (I didn’t know that one either.) Who had a soother? (Nope, didn’t know.) Who was potty trained earlier or later? (Nadda – but could you imagine that after-work drinks conversation?) The point is I had no idea. I can’t think of one person whom after meeting I have thought to myself, “Clearly he was a formula, soother baby”. In gym class, the breast feeders don’t play the formula feeders and I have never actually met anyone whose dental woes are to be blamed on a soother. As much as we think these are major decisions in our childrens’ lives; they are not. Making your decisions with love, meeting your child’s needs and focusing your energies on caring and supporting them – these are the things that will have a lasting effect on them.
A recent Psychology Today article says something along similar lines: Got Good Parenting? It’s Not Just about Breast Milk or Extracurricular Schedules