Do You Make This Surprisingly Common Parenting Mistake?

Do You Make This Surprisingly Common Parenting Mistake?

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Are you alarmed by all the dire warnings about the mistakes parents make? Do you end up reading over dozens of contradictory articles and feeling miserable? Click though and find out how to cut through the noise and parent in the way that works for you.

My son’s angry screams filled the air. I wiped the sleep from my eyes for the thousandth time and wearily made my way to his crib to feed him. AGAIN.

It had only been an hour and he was still hungry. I had been up and down all night. Just as I got to sleep the crying would begin again.

It had been going on for several weeks

I was beyond exhausted. I was desperate and I was lonely. My Mom was thousands of miles away and I had no support. So I was on my own with a baby who was always crying.

Something was wrong

I wasn’t producing enough milk.

But “breast was best.” EVERYONE knew that. It had been drummed into me.

So I soldiered on. Even though deep down inside I knew my baby wasn’t getting enough food. In my desire to give my child the very best I had made one of the most common mistakes parents make.

The Lie That Good Mothers Should

My baby was always hungry, always crying, and we were both miserable. But I couldn’t possibly move to bottle-feeding. Good mothers should only breast-feed. Only bad mothers gave up and used bottles. Do you see where I am going with this? I bought into the lie that good mothers should?

Tired mother holding baby: the mistakes parents make.

One evening in utter desperation I did the unthinkable. I went out to buy a bottle and some formula. Once he got used to the bottle my hungry child practically inhaled that formula. Then we both slept for hours.

Finally!

They tell you that if you suddenly stop breastfeeding it will quickly become very painful. But that wasn’t the case with me. I felt no discomfort and no pain. Then it hit me. I simply wasn’t producing any milk.

No wonder my son had been so hungry.

This is why he’d cried incessantly.

Now we were both exhausted.

Baby feeding from bottle

The I Made The Mistake of Listening To The Wrong Voices

Looking back I realize I was so caught up in the shoulds and the oughts of being a good mother that I had been ignoring the most important tool a parent has.

My intuition.

I knew something was wrong. My baby was hungry, but instead of listening to that small quiet voice deep down inside I listened to others. The

  • Authoritative voices of the parenting experts.
  • Shrill voices of other mothers.
  • Loud insistence of the parenting books.

Instead of trusting my gut I turned over the decision making power to those voices. And that is one of the most common mistakes that parents make.

How Do You Fix Parenting Mistakes?

You change of course! We turned to bottle-feeding even though it WENT AGAINST everything I had learned or heard. Suddenly I had a completely different child. My angry, squalling, fussy son transformed into a content baby who gifted me with beaming smiles and happy gurgles.

I really regret is that I didn’t make the change sooner. Both of us SUFFERED because I didn’t want to go against the shoulds and oughts of others.

Parenting isn’t a precise art. You can’t simply follow the books or advice of the so-called ‘experts’ or other parents.

There is no one size fits all method with handy checklists to cross off (if only).

The Surprisingly Common Mistake Parents Make

One of the most surprisingly common mistakes parents make is to listen to all those voices telling us what we should and ought to do with our children. These voices come from all kinds of places

  • Social media
  • Parenting articles
  • Other parents (Let’s face it we can be a horribly opinionated bunch at times)
  • Our own parents/grandparents
  • Parenting books
Mother with content baby- Mistakes parent make

Embrace An Easier Way to Parent

You know your child better than anyone else. And you are uniquely qualified to decide what is best for him or her. Learn to trust your gut. Trust yourself.

Every child is different and every child will need a different approach. Learn to choose relationship, listen to your heart, your instincts, and your child. When we learn how respond to children in the way that works the best for them (and us), then we can feel confident we are doing our very best at this parenting thing.

Related: Choose Relationship and Transform Your Family

Even if it means

  • Bottle-feeding
  • Or using disposable diapers
  • Letting your child suck their thumb
  • Weaning early

Please don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t let the shoulds and oughts suck the joy out of parenting. Don’t short-change your child by following the path set out by others. Find your own way forward even if it means going against the conventional wisdom of the day. You will make mistakes. Join the club! Life will go on regardless.

Do You Make This Surprisingly Common Parenting Mistake?

Do you Have Reliable Instincts?

This last section is specifically for those people who had a difficult childhood. Sometimes the wounds suffered as a child are carried with us into adulthood. We may find that our instinctive responses to difficult moments with our children are not helpful. Rebecca talks about this and gives some helpful tips for dealing with this as parents.

To Sum Up

So what does all this mean? In a nutshell do what works for you and your family. Enjoy the precious moments of childhood and and find your own way. It’s your decision. But don’t just take my word for it. If something is not working for you, trust your intuition and change your approach. Don’t worry if it goes against the conventional wisdom of the day. Trust me. You’ll be glad you did!

6 thoughts on “Do You Make This Surprisingly Common Parenting Mistake?”

  1. I absolutely agree that you should follow your own way as a parent. It isn’t easy though is it? From the moment you give birth somebody has an opinion on what you are doing or should be doing. You know your child best and are best equipped to tend to their needs. #letkidsbekids

  2. I agree. I had huge trouble breast feeding my son because I was ill and readmitted to hospital, so had to give up. So when my twins came along and they took to the breast ok, I had to seriously trust my instincts to turn to the bottle with them, because I had to think about my whole family and the length of time it would take to breast feed 2 babies whilst looking after a toddler. I needed to bottle feed for the sake of the whole family, but it goes against everything you hear. However, I still believe it was right for all of us, including the twins. We really should trust our own instincts more, but it is so hard to switch off from hearing all the advice you get.
    Thanks for sharing with #LetKidsBeKids

  3. I agree. Whatever works for the baby and family. My first took bottle 2/3 of the day and breast 1/3. Then didn’t want anything but bottle by 4 months. My 2nd latched as she was put on my chest and would not let go till 18 months. 3rd threw up anything but formula, so I bottle fead him from 3 weeks on. 4th took my finger with a tube hooked to it with a mix of mostly formula and a little breast milk until she turned 2 weeks and then my milk came in full force and she nursed fully after that. She now nurses about every 4-10 hours at almost 16 months. Whatever works for the family and baby. I babywear, so breastfeeding is fine, even while doing the dishes 😉

    1. It looks as if you have been able to figure out worked for each of your children. It’s amazing how different they all are. what works for one doesn’t always work for the others.

  4. 44 years ago when my son was born , I knew I would breastfeed. However, he never got enough to satisfy his hunger and was on an every 2-hour schedule. At 3 months, he had strep. My goodness, my breast milk was supposed to protect him from infections for at least a year.

    That day we switched to bottle feedings. No more infections and no problems drying up. Now he’s 6’2″.

    When my daughter was born, breast feeding wasn’t an option due to a birth defect. She did great and her corrective surgery was done three months earlier than standard practice then since she was so sturdy.

    Breastfeeding is great but it’s not the only way to go. Listen to your baby and your own instincts. They count for a lot!

    1. I totally agree. Sometimes what the “experts” tell us is best doesn’t actually work for our child. We need to be able to give ourselves permission to do something different.

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