Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Learn to Trust Your Mother's Intuition

The more people have studied the different methods of bringing up children, the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all.--Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1946


First-time mommies usually have a thousand questions about what is right when caring for their infants. When do they start solid foods? How long should they be sleeping? When will they start crawling? New mothers may read every book and magazine they can find that tells them the "right" time for reaching each milestone. Even experienced mommies might seek the latest advice about raising their new children.

Other mommies are more than eager to give advice, too. "I started my baby on solid foods at 3 months." Or "You have to use diaper cream on their delicate little bottoms," they'll say. Even worse, some moms play the competition game. "My Sarah was walking at 9 months," one says, as she glares at your little one still sitting on the floor at 11 months. "My Justin was speaking in complete sentences when he was 1 year old," another proclaims, while your little one is still babbling "da-da" and "boo-boo." It's enough to make any mother feel insecure.

But you've been given a wonderful gift called mother's instinct — the ability to know what's best for your child — if you know when to heed the call. When my oldest son was a baby, the pediatrician told me that the latest research said that under no circumstances were babies supposed to start cereal until they were 6 months old. My son was born at a hefty 9 lb., 13 oz., and was already the size of most 6-month-olds at 3 months. He wasn't sleeping, and he was begging for food between feedings. Although I trusted my doctor and knew he had my child's best interests at heart, I realized that nobody knew my son better than I did.

Finally, I put my guilty feelings aside and started gradually giving him some rice cereal. The change was miraculous. My son was much happier because I listened to my instincts and gave him what he needed. I've learned to have faith in my own abilities as a mother and not let others make me feel unworthy or incapable. Yes, I still listen to advice from others — including my doctor and friends — but then I apply it to my particular child and listen to my heart. A mother's instinct is a powerful tool.

Originally appeared on the ClubMom Web site.

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