It has only taking us 10 months to really learn what parenting style fit our family. We read so many great books and took many helpful tips from them. We've also been very interested in reading about other cultures and how they raise their infants as well. Other cultures do things so differently, it has been fascinating to see the differences. We have learned one big concept through this whole journey- there is no right answer that is going to work for everyone. Each family has to find what works for them and each individual child.
The hardest thing about being a new parent for me is filtering all the advice that is constantly coming in from caring family or friends. And sometimes even strangers in the grocery store. A friend warned me of this when I was pregnant. She said, "you are going to have to just filter it all out and find what works for you. Learn to ignore" This turned out to be very good advice but was a lot harder then I thought! There are so many unknowns and SO much advice. It's hard for a people pleaser like me to weed it all out. I felt guilty when I didn't do exactly what the books said, especially when it came to schedules.
I am not an organized scheduled person. I am more of a last minute oh crap I have to be out the door in five minutes and am still in my sweats kinda person. I tried over and over again to get Ela on a schedule because I thought that was the only way. It was a consent battle. Ela would fight it and we would give up. I felt guilty all the time, like I was a failure. It made bedtime a nightmare. Jered and I would end up yelling at each other over a screaming baby. It finally hit me that this isnt working for my child. We went on more relaxed approach and made bedtime more flexible. It made for a much happier family. God gave us mommas an intuition and I am finally learning how to listen to mine. There was an article I would recommend called "Baby Led Schedules". This pretty much summed up our parenting style we have learned to embrace. You can read it http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-led-baby-schedules-sears-spock-and-others_3658355.bc?page=1 and take away what you will from it. I took away was for parents wanting to implement this style of parenting, it is all about the baby. It's picking up cues from Ela on how to meet her needs. If she is tired, we lay her down for a nap, it's not at the same time each day though. I have learned for her, if I force her to go take a nap at the same time every day it's a battle. And I battle I dont want to fight. If I just wait one hour, she's now tired and will go right to sleep. If she's hungry, she is nursed or given food. If she isnt tired and it's 9 pm at night, we play even harder until she is tried. I am not tired at the same time every night, why would Ela be? It's not the easiest brand of parenting but what brand is?
One of the biggest positives of the Baby Scheduled Parenting is I dont have to plan everything around her naps and bedtime. When we were in NYC she took her naps in stroller. She would feel asleep when she was tired in the middle of one of the noisiest cities and sleep for hours. One night she went to bed in her stroller on top of the Empire State Building. When we got back to the hotel, I just laid her down in her pack and play and she slept the night away. This works for our on the go lifestyle. That's another reason I LOVE breastfeeding and encourage everyone mom to do it if they can. We can just plop down on a bench and nurse. We dont have to mess around with warming up a bottle. It's so fast and easy! And the bonding time we get together is so special.
I hope each new parents finds their voices and parenting styles quickly. I have learned through this process not to be judgmental of others parenting styles because each child and family is so different. I do hate Ela was our test subject but I think more so then that, I hate I didn't embrace what I felt was right for her because of others options.. Being a new parent is hard! I am no expert, I learn something new every single day. And it's a little scary, because it is kinda a big deal to raise another human. It takes a lot of prayers, grace and learning. There's no mulligans in parenting.