baby

The secret to parenting that no one wants you to know.

It’s the secret that you won’t find published in any baby books. You won’t read it on a mummy blog and you definitely won’t hear it from your GP, midwife, Early Childhood Health nurse or any so-called parenting expert.

Nobody has any idea when it comes to parenting. Nobody knows the solution to parenting. Nobody knows the answer to any of the questions you face as a parent.

They just have their opinions.

Image via Quick Meme.

Even though my daughter is now seven-months-old, I kind of knew this secret before she was born. It only really hit me a couple of weeks ago though.

I was struggling with my baby's sleeping habits. While sleep was on her top list of favourite things to do, she had suddenly gone from a baby who slept through the night to waking at 6am, then 5am, then 4am, then 3am and 5am.

I googled. I asked every parenting friend I knew. I grabbed the baby books off the shelf and searched desperately for the answer - how do I get her back to sleeping through? Here were the answers:

Go cold turkey on the dummy. She can't go back to sleep without the dummy. It's the dummy's fault.

Keep the dummy, better than her sucking on her thumb, but let her cry it out for 10 minutes.

Go straight to her, you should never let a baby cry it out.

Maybe it's her nappy?

Drop the dreamfeed, it's making her wet her nappy which is waking her up.

She's probably too cold.

She's probably too hot.

Wake her before she wakes up to restart her sleep cycles.

As a first time mum, I felt so confused and lost. Every answer conflicted the other. That's when it clicked, no one really knows why a baby wakes up randomly in the night after being a good sleeper. Everyone is just guessing, or telling you what they tried and worked.

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It's not just sleeping though.

"It's the dummy." "It's not the dummy." Sigh. Image via iStock.

A week ago an American study released results showing that babies who are swaddled are at increased risk of SIDS. All I had read before that was swaddling decreased the risk of SIDS because it kept babies on their backs and made them feel secure.

Today, a study released results showing that we need to start solid foods at four months, not six months. Professor Katie Allen from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute admitted that parents were already giving their bubs solids at four months, but this research was informing guidelines so that professionals were giving the same advice across the board.

Over the past few weeks there have been news stories and research that recommend to give your baby eggs, cow's milk and peanuts as early as possible to avoid them developing an allergy to them. This is contradictory to the advice to wait until they are two-years-old (some even say that's too early) which has been shouted at parents for the past decade.

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The devil food? Image via iStock.

We all know the pressure to breastfeed our bubs, but for our parents, they were told that formula was far more superior to breast milk and recommended as the preferred food choice.

Two months ago I tried to find information on when to stop sterilising bottles. Between mum forums and professional medical sites the answers ranged from four months to never ever stop sterilising. Even my GP wasn't sure.

There is a clear divide between parents who follow a routine for their baby and parents who feed-on-demand. Both swear to a happy, healthy baby who sleeps through the night, every night (we know both sides are exaggerating that a little bit).

We've all been there. Image via iStock.

Moral of the story: no one knows the trick to making parenting easier. There is no formula to babies and toddlers and children and teenagers (I can't even think that far). There are only suggestions. Nine out of the 10 suggestions won't work for you and your bub.

Find the one that does. Stick with that. And above all, as a wise friend once told me, trust your mummy instincts. They're there, hidden beneath all the "you should" noise.

What's one parenting advice you would give to a new mum?

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