We all doubt our own parenting skills at one time or another. Unfortunately babies don't come with instructions so we have to learn on the job and by getting parenting advice along the way from family and friends, magazines, books and websites.
A good way of learning some basic parenting skills is to attend antenatal classes before the birth. This helps not only by teaching you how to cope in different situations, but also by letting you know what to expect as a new parent – if you don't have friends or relatives with young babies, it can be a real shock to suddenly find yourself at home alone with a crying newborn! The other benefit is that you will probably meet other couples in your local area who are in the same situation. This type of new friendship can prove to be the start of an ongoing support network to help you through the many ups and downs of being a parent.
Knowing someone else who is going through exactly the same as you can be very reassuring. Getting together for a coffee, chatting on the phone or just communicating by text and e-mail can be enough to help you cope in the early days. Comparing notes on feeding and sleeping patterns, venting your frustrations and sharing tips and tricks will all help you to build confidence in your own parenting skills.
Sometimes friends and particularly relatives may offer unwanted parenting advice. When you are doing your very best and feel as if you are making good progress, someone may come along and tell you that they would do things differently. Whilst you may be grateful for much needed help now and again, there may be other times when you are confident in what you are doing and you don't appreciate other people interfering.
You will soon learn to trust your instincts when it comes to doing what is best for your child. It can be difficult to let people know when their input is not wanted. Try to be tactful and sensitive to their feelings whilst demonstrating that you won't be acting on their advice in this instance. Remember that there may soon come a time when you need their help again, so it is in your interests to keep the relationship friendly.
Often, when you want an independent, unemotional opinion, online Mums forums can be a valuable source of parenting advice. They are especially useful if there is something on your mind that you don't feel comfortable discussing with friends and relatives. You can be as anonymous as you like and have the opportunity to obtain input from a widespread range of different people. You may be surprised at the variety of responses you receive and may learn some totally new tips from other parents and grandparents who have had more time and experience to develop their parenting skills.
Furthermore, if you'd like to find other mums in your area,mums forums can be a great place to start. Many new mums feel isolated and lonely in the early days of looking after a newborn and it can be very daunting going to baby groups for the first time on your own – everyone appears to have already developed friendships and you often feel like the outsider.
Whilst some people have the confidence to start conversations and throw themselves into a group in order to make new friends, many people don't feel able to do this. By finding one or two mums living in your area, you then have ready-made companions for when you visit a new baby group. It is a lot less scary when you arrive with someone else rather than on your own!Why not check out the sprogblogs forums now to get advice on that problem that has been worrying you or to find other mums in your local area?