On intuition vs. experience

I thought I was ahead of the curve when I opted to read less how-to parenting advice and use my maternal instincts more. But for things like newborn sleep, toddler tantrums, my instincts have failed me royally. Turns out that in situations like these, nothing replaces the sage advice of a skilled expert.

Resources I mentioned
For baby sleep:
The Weissbluth sleep book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
Our post-partum doula, Denise Macko
For toddler tantrums:
Happiest Toddler on the Block DVD (rent it at a local video store or Netflix)

5 thoughts on “On intuition vs. experience

  1. I do look forward to Pt.2!! Thank you for showing us that trusting our instincts also means knowing when to seek experienced help-or written expertise. I always feel strong and validated when I find or turn to good written sources that I can take in at my own pace…Your honesty and insight is brilliant here, and very reassuring to new mothers.

  2. Hey Steph, Good wisdom here. I tend to prioritize my intuition and instincts, and what you remind me of is that this is a good start, but sometimes falls short of what’s needed. Being “teachable,” benefiting from hundreds (thousands) of years of trial and error about motherhood and, well, lots of things, is truly being in community. This also involves trusting that I can sift through what comes (use my instincts) as to which learnings I want to take in and implement. Thanks, you digital-mama, you!

  3. I think your pediatrician’s take on discipline for a toddler is very interesting and makes sense to me. Not to compare toddler behaviour with dog behaviour, but here I go. Current research in animal behaviour (dogs), shows that they also interpret negative attention and positive attention similarly. When they are behaving “badly” (and “badly” can mean different things to different people), ignoring them for a time or preventing them from even having access to the “bad” behaviour works very well. In fact, other research has shown that negative attention for dogs, especially when it involves yelling or physical punishment, is associated with higher rates of aggressive behaviour in the future. For a long time, dog behaviourists were not aware of this, and it has changed how dog training occurs. I even used negative attention with my dog, before I knew better, and I have had to ‘undo” some of her conditioning. It makes me wonder how negative attention might affect children.

    Yay for having the wisdom of others to navigate parenting difficulties. I highly recommend the Weissbluth book. Thanks to Steph, we started out our parenting adventure with the advice in that book, and we feel fortunate every day.

  4. ::Grabbing copy of Weissbluth book::
    I agree with the idea that we can benefit from the wisdom of experience–everything in a book was initially passed down within a community. Instinct definitely plays a role though!

    1. I think there’s a Weissbluth book specifically for twins, so keep an eye out! And I totally agree with you…instinct plays a huge role AND since we live more independently and less village-style these days, we need to find that knowledge more deliberately, in books, videos, paying for lactation consultants, doulas, childcare.

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