I didn’t read the baby books [insert gasp]. I know, right? Who doesn’t read a baby book these days – I mean, there are so many out there! The more moms I’ve talked to over these past 10 months, the more I began to realize that this is somewhat of a rarity. Research and medicine have given us an infinite wealth of knowledge about babies and how they develop, which is (usually) a great blessing. We can read about sleep patterns, feeding schedules, colic, common illnesses, sleep training, and a million ways to keep your baby safe. Among a million other things. Some books have gained great popularity, such as Babywise and Happiest Baby on the Block. While I haven’t read them, I know a lot of moms swear by them as many of the methods worked for their babies. Baby books can be a savior when you’re thrown into the deep end with a newborn that you’re just not sure what to do with.
I want to be very clear that I am not passing judgment or putting down any mother that read the baby books. It shows genuine care for the well-being of your child and making sure you’re the best mom you can be. There have been many times over the past 10 months I wished I would’ve read some. Like when Tayler went through her sleep regressions. Or when I could not believe how often she wanted to nurse. And there have been many times I wondered if it made me inadequate as mom because I didn’t know the latest trends and methods. I just didn’t read them. Frankly, I was overwhelmed by the choices. Not only the choices available, but how many books contradict one another. As a mom you’ll find that every single piece of advice you read will always have an opposing viewpoint. Who is right?! I said forget it.
With hopes of adding to our family in the near future, I’ve begun to think about those books again. Should I read one for the second time around? Will it make my life easier? I’m not sure, and maybe I will read one or two – we’ll see. But reflecting back on those first few months with Tayler, I’ve come to the realization that (for me), not reading the baby books was a genuine blessing.
Not reading the baby books allowed me to truly and honestly hone in on Tayler’s needs, wants, and gentle nuances of the baby she was. I didn’t have things I was expecting to see from her. I didn’t try and put her behaviors into categories a book talked about. And I wasn’t anticipating future changes from her that she may or may not go through (which, knowing my personality, I would’ve). I learned as I went. I learned her. I learned what teething looked like for her before I thought she was able to get teeth. I learned what she needed to sleep through the night after many nights of our own trial and error. I learned her napping pattern without forcing one on her. And I learned to be flexible and adaptable because without fail, when you think you have your child figured out – they will most definitely change things up for you. Whenever I thought I was an idiot for not reading up more on this tiny beast I was responsible for, I found comfort in the fact that for thousands of years women raised perfectly healthy children – without reading books.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were many things I might have figured out faster had I read a book or two. And there were definitely nights I laid in bed in the dark googling modified CIO methods, teething remedies, and what a 4 month old’s daily schedule should look like. There is a lot to learn. But I learned as I went. And I learned her.
The point of this blog is not to say that skipping the books is the way to go or that skipping them made me any ounce better of a mom. I’m not saying that at all. Like I mentioned before, I still might read some this next time around. My point is that if you don’t, for whatever reason, you will be OK. You’ll survive together, and you’ll learn.