Ask an expert: How can I know what’s best for my baby?

23rd Aug 19 | Lifestyle

A parent coach says parents are often the best judge of how to care for their baby – and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition.

Portrait loving mother kissing her baby on a white background

I’ve just had my first baby and I’m confused by the often contradictory advice I hear about looking after her. How can I know what’s best for my baby?

Parent coach and counsellor Jennifer Day, author of Intuitive Parenting , says: “You’re not alone in feeling confused! The plethora of advice available is enough to overwhelm even the most confident of parents, and the frequent contradictions will only serve to confuse.

“Even though as a new mum you’ll naturally feel the need to seek advice, all the advice in the world can’t replace your connection to your child and the intuitive capacity you have to tune into her and her innate needs. That also includes the capacity to know, intuitively, which advice to take if you do need to seek guidance, so if something feels wrong to you, it probably is wrong for you.

“Tuning into and paying attention to that inner voice, or what feels right, isn’t something most of us are raised to do, nor is it generally encouraged by society or deemed compatible with our evidence-based information-age.

“Add the loss of the ‘village’ or ‘tribe’ (increasingly fewer of us have extended family support close by), constant distraction and over-stimulation by devices and social media, plus increasing levels of stress, and we can easily lose confidence in our own innate ‘knowing’, relying instead on Google and other external sources.

“But with a few regular practices, you can strengthen that part of you that does know, intuitively, what’s best for your baby and, when necessary, what’s the right advice to take.

(iStock/PA)

“Start by consciously tuning in to yourself as soon as you wake up. Take three slow, deep breaths and focus on the love and appreciation you have for your child. Throughout your day, take a moment to slow your breathing and reconnect with that morning appreciation.

“Eliminate screens and devices when you’re interacting with your child – while feeding especially, but also when you’re playing with her (and as she gets older at mealtimes, when reading to her, when picking her up from childcare, etc.). Give her your full presence, eye-to-eye. This will help strengthen your connection.

“When you feel something’s not right, take a moment to check-in with yourself: Do you have any tension in your body? Let it go, with a long exhale. Reconnect with that centred feeling and listen to your internal voice – what feels right? If appropriate, act on it. The more you do this, the more you’ll experience validating feedback and the more confident you’ll become in parenting according to what you know, intuitively, is best for your baby.”

Intuitive Parenting: How to tune in to your innate wisdom, by Jennifer Day is published by Robinson, £9.99. Available now.

© Press Association 2019

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