What I've found is that there are generally two camps in child-rearing - some people in the more traditional/mainstream camp (associated practices include parent-led schedules, baby sleeps independently, cry-it-out sleep training, traditional authoritative discipline, vaccinating on schedule etc.), and others in the attachment parenting camp (associated practices include babywearing, cosleeping, gentle & positive discipline, baby-led schedules, delayed/no vaccinating etc.). Thomas calls the latter "hippie parenting"... haha.
And so I was faced with many more questions than answers as I began my research - how was I supposed to know what was the "right way" to do things? Should I vaccinate him or not? Co-sleep or put baby in his crib? Breastfeed exclusively or bottle feed occasionally? Let him cry it out or not? What kind of toys should I let him play with? Should he watch TV?
I have realized that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to raise your baby. You do what works for you and your baby. What YOU feel is right for your family. It might even be different for each baby in your family. And what is right for your family won't necessarily be right for another family. And that is perfectly fine. My personality resonates with more of the attachment parenting principles, but Thomas tends to think more traditionally. If you were to put us in a "camp" (a mere 4 and 1/2 months into this parenting journey), we've settled on some middle ground, slightly more on the attachment parenting side of things. We've found that works best for us and for Judah so far. We also keep our minds very open to the fact that we may change our thinking/methodology as Judah gets older and as we have more children. If there is one thing I have learned about babies, it's that they're constantly changing and that you have to adapt as you go along. What works one week may not work the next week!
The way I learned the most while I was researching was by real peoples' experiences. I loved to hear what other mommas/parents did and how they came to their decisions. So, I'm starting a little blog post series entitled "What Works For Us" - partly for my own clarity (I clarify my jumbled thought processes when I write) and also hopefully to be helpful to anyone out there who likes to read and learn from peoples' experiences, like I do. I don't have any special knowledge, I just have what works for us.
And truly, going back to the basics... all a healthy baby really needs is a roof over his head, food in his tummy, and loving arms to hold him. Everything else is an add-on... sure, it may make life easier, but you really don't NEED anymore than that! We try to keep things simple, but there are some pretty useful gadgets out there... so, coming soon - What works for us: helpful baby products (0-3 months).
And what's a blog post without some eye candy?