Before Muffin was born people had a lot of parenting advice. This annoyed me. "Thanks, I've got this!" I kept thinking. I'd been reading, after all. I also thought, "billions of people do this - how hard can it be?" I have a wonderful partner, I'm not stupid and I've bought every baby thing imaginable. What more do we need?
Once Muffin arrived, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Suddenly, all my norms were off. I didn't know which way to turn, and I was sure everything I was doing was wrong. Massive sleep deprivation and a heavy dose of postpartum anxiety (depressions' sneaky and less popular sister) didn't help. My husband said "why don't you trust your instincts?" I don't know. Maybe because I didn't have any instincts left beyond fear, loving my baby without limit, and a feeling I was way in over my head.
Anyhow, I had some friends who did offer a little advice around that time and boy was I happy to receive it (in addition to some Paxil). I'll pass along the best advice to you, because it really helped me:
Do what makes you comfortable.
Yep. Seems simple, but hear me out. There is a LOT of advice out there. Books, blogs, friends, postmen, EVERYONE has a way they parent and a solid list of "musts." Listen politely because you might learn something great. But remember, the only rules are 1) love them; 2) feed them; and 3) keep them safe. The rest is just details and personal preference.
The key is this: whatever it is you do, make sure it works for you and your baby so you can enjoy your little one and feel like yourself. Cry it out? It made me and Muffin hysterical. Co-sleeping? I was sure I'd smother Muffin in his sleep. But somewhere between the extremes of Attachment Parenting and Babywise we found a very happy, comfortable method and routine that just felt right. And suddenly, parenting was fabulous and the hazing was over. In the end, I did follow my instincts and it worked.
So, just remember: If it feels right, do it. If it doesn't, don't. And if you need help, get help be it a book, a friend, a stranger or a counselor. You'll find your stride and be a wonderful parent, I just know it.