Telling new parents how to parent is a multi-billion dollar – or euro if you will – industry.
There are books and blogs and apps and experts dedicated to the cause of telling you how to be a parent.
In fact, you will probably find that the minute you announce you are expecting, you will be bombarded with advice on anything from what you should eat to how you should give birth and what you need to buy.
When I first became a mom, I would drive myself demented in the beginning, asking everyone, reading everything Google would come up with, as well as devour anyone from Gina Ford to Jools Oliver (that's right, she has a parenting book too!) in a quest to do everything right.
'How do I get her to sleep through the night' was one such questions that yielded answers like:
"Drop the dummy, it's a terrible habit she will never shake!"
Or: "Give her a dummy, better that than having her suck her thumb."
Some expert insight claimed I should let her howl herself to sleep, whilst others said I should pick her up and cuddle her at every whimper.
The same went for every other parenting query.
'When should I wean her?' Some said at four months, others claimed I should absolutely wait until she was six months before introducing solid foods, or she be obese when she grew up (Note: I started giving her baby porridge at 4/5 months and, at 6, she is, for now, really, really far from obese.)
It didn't stop there. I read somewhere that swaddling was great, then next thing you know a study would say this was actually a terrible practice. Should you do a dream feed or avoid it like the plague. Tummy time, clothing, how often I should be giving her a bath, all questions that yielded different and highly opposite answers.
The thing is, and now, two babies in, I know that when it comes to parenting, the truth is this: Nobody has a solution.
And you have no idea the revelation it was when I first realised this. Seriously; all the books, all the "experts", everyone; they just have opinions. And while these opinions might have worked for them and are rooted in a lot of things, studies, experience, whatever, they are still just that; their opinion.
Meaning; you can certainly take them on board. Try them out even. But don't feel like they are the be all and end all to how you should parent and what works for you, because they are not. There are no works-for-all tricks, no perfect formula. It comes down to this: You and your baby and your family and what works for you.
Because guess what? There is a lot to be said for that mama instinct. You just have to listen to it, trust yourself and try to tune out all the noise. That's the best parenting tool you can use.
Written by Trine Jensen