Ok, so some of this might not feel like small stuff, but I promise you it is. If little Jemima finds your secret stash of Jaffa Cakes and eats them all, aged 14 months, it doesn't condemn her to a life of obesity. If all the other newborns from your NCT class sleep in their cots from day one, and yours doesn't, it doesn't mean they'll still be sleeping in your bed aged 19. I couldn't care less whether the pureed broccoli you are feeding your baby is organic or not, so long as they are warm and clean(ish) and cuddled a lot.
Here's the stuff nobody gives a shit about in the long term.
1. How you gave birth. And this comes from a fully-signed-up-hypnobirther, who refused induction. It mattered SO much to me that I had a "natural" birth. And now, having had a vaginal birth with no drugs, and 20 months later a planned and morphine-fuelled C section (and let me add, you can still hypnobirth a C section), I can honestly say it makes not a shred of difference (although morphine is excellent. Stockpile it if you can.) You can't tell at the school gates which kids came out which way. If it's getting you down, stop it. If you had a bad experience, speak to the hospital and get a debrief. And if someone is judging your choices, they shouldn't (especially if they don't own a vagina).
2. Breast vs bottle. *Yawn.* Honestly. The boob PR machine is very strong, and yes, it's free and it's convenient. But the pressure to succeed when your boobs or baby won't cooperate is more than unnecessary when you have a sore undercarriage, a plunge in happy hormones and are sleep-deprived. Do what works for you, and your baby, and your family. And if someone asks how you are feeding darling Jemima, the correct answer is "through her mouth".
3. You can talk to your mum-mates about sleep deprivation, because parents get it. But nobody at work cares that you've been up since 4am. The intern is just as knackered as she was clubbing 'til dawn, and her story is cooler than yours. And to all the knackered parents out there, repeat after me: "This is just a phase." You have my hugest sympathies though. It's shit, it really is.
4. Professional opinions. So what if Supernanny says that's how it's done. Maybe your baby hasn't read the Gina Ford routine. The books are great, but you can discard the bits that aren't relevant to you. And if you really need help, speak to your GP or health worker. Every time I tried to make my kids fit a certain mould, it didn't work. When I left it to them, on their schedule, soon enough they slept longer / ate their greens / used the loo. Don't compare your kids to others - some walk early, some potty-train late and some grow up to run multinational corporations. I haven't yet seen any research to join the dots between these achievements.
5. And to the woman on the bus earlier, I couldn't care less how amazing your organic lentil casseroles are. I don't care about the Suzuki music lessons. I'm managing my way and my kids are very loved, occasionally indulged and frequently cuddled. They watch a bit too much telly, their food is often beige and they can't control their volume to my specifications, but they are happy. And so am I.
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