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Momma knows best

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Do you remember that moment you stepped out of the hospital with your first baby? I remember the uncertainty and a little bit of fear. Was I really expected to know how to care for this little child!? On a recent family trip, I had the privilege of spending some time with my two-month-old nephew and his mom. It was fun to reflect on my past experience as a new mother. It's been a few years since my girls were babies, so it was a good reminder of how much work it is to care for a baby.

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My sister-in-law, the new mommy, had lots of questions: Why is he upset? Is he too hot? Could he be teething yet? Why is he not napping? How come he isn't sleeping through the night? Is he getting enough to eat? When leaving the hospital with the new bundle of joy, you are not given a book of specific instructions on how to raise your child.

While there are rows upon rows of books about how to care for babies, some books are better than others. As a new parent, learning about your baby is a full-time job. There are many well-meaning people, including grandparents, who will try to tell you how to take care of your baby. Smile and nod at all this advice. Decide later if you want to take or leave the suggestions.

Grandma and grandpa, be patient and let the new mommy figure things out. Sometimes the best time to give advice is when you are asked. There is no one way to care for a baby and it it is important for mom to develop her confidence. Be reassuring and comforting and take time to share in the wonder of a new baby.

Mom, you carried that baby for nine months. It is your voice they recognize over all other people, you were the first (or possibly second) to hold them, you know how to comfort them better than anyone, you know your baby needs by the sound of his or her different cries and you and dad love them more than anyone else. Don't let well-meaning people make you doubt your parenting. However, don't be afraid to ask questions when you want to. You are free to accept or not accept the answer. You are doing a good job! Its a lot of work, but worth every sleepless moment! You know your baby best!

Deb Archer is a licensed teacher and parent educator and owner of Kickstart Preschool.

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