One of the scariest things about parenting is making a decision about your baby and implementing it.
Whether it is the type of mattress, over-the-counter medications, or the kind of food you want to feed your baby — as a first time parent, these decisions are nerve wracking. What if the medicine you gave caused some allergic reaction. Or the baby detergent brand you bought for your baby gave some sort of rashes. Or soothing your baby with an iPad app or some TV time raises an eyebrow among your peers?
For instance, I recently got my 6-month old boy a pacifier and a teether, since he has started chewing every object in contact. This move led to myriad number of reactions from parents (both mine and spouse’s), friends and later even I started to reconsider the move. As a result, I ended up in knots about my own decision.
Then on a trip to a mall, I saw at least 5-7 couples with lil babies in prams, all latched on to pacifiers! Their parents didn’t look guilty at all. So, I researched until I hit bullseye. “Not only are infants soothed by the act of sucking,” says Harvey Karp, M.D., author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, “but pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) when used during naps and at bedtime. And contrary to popular belief, pacifiers do not cause nipple confusion and probably won’t lead to orthodontia woes.” Some relief.
The tricky bit does not end here. You have to make a choice about what activities your child will undertake, what kind of learning or form of education he/she would be subjected to, the kind of toys he/she will have early on in life etc. Some other parenting decisions that I grappled with included whether to co-sleep or get a crib, nurse or bottle-feed after 6 months? and some that you have to fight it out with your partner about because you think your child’s future depends on what the two of you choose. Phew. The anxieties parents face as they try to figure out what is best for their child may well be the reason for increasing cardiac troubles in dad’s and blood pressure problems in mothers.
It’s slowly dawning upon me — as my son grows up month by month — that it’s a big deal to be responsible for the safety and life of a tiny being who cannot speak for himself. I could take a wrong approach in parenting and my child would suffer the consequences. Not a good feeling to live with.