Ask the expert: How can I know what's best for my baby?
A parent coach says mums and dads are often the best judges of how to care for their baby - and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition
Q. 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?
A. 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 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. 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 what's the right advice to take.
"Start by consciously tuning in to yourself as soon as you wake up. Take three slow, deep breaths and focus on the love 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. 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 (Robinson, £9.99) Lisa Salmon