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The Best Baby Advice I Ever Received

New and expecting parents receive a lot of advice, whether solicited or not. When I was expecting my daughter, well intentioned friends, family and strangers all seemed to have something to say to me and my husband. The most common advice was to sleep ? because, as they said, we would never sleep again. While, sadly, in some aspects that advice actually is true ? I can?t remember the last time either my husband or I got a good night?s sleep ? it was not the best advice we received.

The best advice was: your baby is not you.

It might not have even been advice we received directly; it might have been something that I read somewhere. Either way, I thought it was excellent advice then, and still do now. Our baby indeed is not us. As much as we do see ourselves in her personality, or her tantrums, or just when she looks at us and makes a certain face, she is not us. She is herself, an individual person with her own individual needs and desires and reactions to various stimuli in her environment. She does not respond the way that I might under certain circumstances, or react in a way that is similar to my husband?s responses. She is her own person, and our job is to get to know who she is and what she needs so that we can respond to her in a way that suits her. She might not need the afternoon nap we think she does; nor does she like something that we like. She doesn?t necessarily laugh when we think we are doing something funny, but she will crack up at something that leaves us shaking our heads in wonder.

It all boils down to this: our daughter is her own individual person ? and we love her all the more because of it.

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