Before I had children, I remember looking at other parents and mentally noting the actions I would and would not do. It’s probably fair to say that I was blatantly judging the parents around me. Some might say “learning from them”, but I think judging is probably more fair! Therefore, I think it’s only fair that I come clean, and admit to already breaking many of my own rules as a parent six months in. Here they are:

My child will not have a dummy

First rule we broke. I remember in hospital the paediatrician asking if we had a dummy for our daughter if she needed it (she spent 24 hours in a humidifier crib). We did, but we didn’t want to use it. In that instance we did not as little miss was an angel. But it only took a week into being at home, and having a crying baby, to pop that wonderful little piece of rubber in her mouth and hear the sounds of silence. No regrets! And bad teeth? We’ll see – future Mumma can worry about that.

My child will self-settle

Ha! If only. Sure, for the first few weeks I could put her down and walk away (sometimes even without the aforementioned dummy). But then I couldn’t. The solution? Rocking her to sleep while singing a self-made tribal song (and sometimes hopping on one leg). It worked! Now, while getting her out of the habit is proving hard work, doing it after a few nights of consistent sleep (with a little bit of back pain, I grant you) make this faux pas worth the effort.

I will not play baby music in the car

I recall a colleague telling me about how he drove to the market sans children and found himself singing along to a Wiggles CD left over from a family car trip. I laughed, rolled my eyes and said “I will NEVER do that”. Of course, that was before I realised that grumpy-car-baby can be settled by a bit of Justine Clarke. And you know what? It’s not that bad.

I will only breastfeed for 12 weeks

Bit of a controversial one here, I know, but I could not see how I could go on breastfeeding. It may sound selfish, but after a year of surrendering my body to another I wanted it back. And being a bottle-fed baby myself I had no issues in planning to stop. Then I breastfed. It took me nearly 12 weeks to get it right – I had no idea how difficult it would be. At that point I’d done so much work making it happen there was no way I was quitting. Six months and still going … and now I’m starting to think the “burden” of breastfeeding might be kind of wonderful, and a privilege.

My child will always be clean

I’ve always hated seeing kids walking around with snot running down their face, food on their tops, mud on their trousers. “Can’t your Mum get a cloth?” I used to wonder. In fact, early parenthood, I probably still stood by this. Then we entered the world of solids. It’s really a choice between changing outfits four times a day (and doing the washing to keep up with it) or letting little miss walk around with a little bit of Weet-Bix on her collar and, if I’m going to be honest, sometimes in her hair. Hey, whatever works!

And finally, I haven’t broken this one yet, but I see it coming …

My child will only eat home-made food

I don’t want to break this, but I see it in my future. It’s so easy! And how are you expected to travel for six weeks and puree your way around Europe? Try as I might, I can’t see a future where I’m not breaking out the organic baby food pouch.

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