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It has been such a joy to contribute to Mobile Bay Parents for the last several years. I began writing these articles quite early in my career, so in many ways they have traced along with my own journey as a pediatrician and, eventually, as a parent. This month’s article will be my last as a regular contributor, but I’m excited to announce that my partner, Dr. Savan-nah Browning, will be taking the reigns. Dr. Browning is a brilliant pediatrician and a wonderful colleague, and she’ll begin sharing her fresh perspective starting next month!
Since this is my last article, I thought it might be appropriate to take a step back– and give some general advice for parents, from a pediatrician. From the moment your baby is born, you as parents are the most important thing in their life. For moms, there are so many hormones and feelings after childbirth that it can be overwhelming to process. Just remem-ber that the most important thing for babies is your bonding. They need your cuddles and love. It’s so fulfilling to breast-feed, but babies can also be happy and healthy if they need formula. No matter the circumstance– try to create an envi-ronment with as little stress as possible. This helps facilitate the special bond between baby and family.
Each stage of a child’s life brings new adventures and obstacles. I often say once you get used to one routine or stage of life, they switch it up on you! Being there for you children is so important for confidence, growth, and health– both men-tally and physically. As pediatricians, we want to be here for you along the way. We know kids look to parents for support and guidance, and we want to be a soundboard. In many ways we’re a team, and we’re here to help you “troubleshoot” problems. One of the biggest joys of being a pediatrician is the opportunity to be a child’s– and family’s– biggest cheer-leader.
Your child will always be your baby, but how quickly they grow! The best thing you can do is to relish each and every moment while you’re living it. Sure, things will get stressful, but take a deep breath and turn a stressful situation into a teaching moment.
Finally, ask for help. I often say that parenting is an “on-the-job” learning experience. Countless others have been through the same highs and lows, joys and struggles. No matter what you are going through– as a child, parent, grandpar-ent– someone has been through a similar experience and wants to be there for you. We are not meant to live this life alone. Above all: Remember to be kind, love each other, and enjoy the little moments.