I had so much fun reading through all of the responses! To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I know I was surprised by the answers. Like several of you commented, it is a weird phenomenon that we moms love to read about each other's experiences. Hearing the wide range of experiences must help us learn, and at the same time reinforce what we already know but sometimes forget, there is no normal.
But before I give you the results, here are my answers!
1. Do I stick to a strict feeding schedule? I guess if you take out the word "strict" I might say yes. As long as it was within 30 minutes of my target of three hours, then I was okay with it. Most of the time, both girls would eat every 3 hours on the dot, but if either seemed hungry a little before, that was okay. I also didn't ever wake either of them to eat, so if they slept through a feeding, I'd just start the three hours over once they woke up. And with Adrienne, if I ever felt like I could get her to take a little extra, that was fantastic! She didn't eat well at all right at first, sometimes taking two hours off and on to finish three ounces. That made the schedule a little harder to keep, but after about 2 months, she came to grips with formula and we haven't looked back since.
2. At what age do I put my kids in the nursery? I'll answer both church and home options. Church: Neither one of my girls ever did good in a service at church, and I ended up spending the whole time concentrating on making every effort to keep them quiet with the result that anything going on in the service was virtually lost to me. Because of that, I believe I put Marianna in the nursery at 4 weeks and Adrienne at 5. I know that's young, but trust me, the nursery workers couldn't wait to get their hands on such a tiny little one. Home: Both of the girls' rooms are upstairs, and since I didn't want to get my stair-master credits at 3 in the morning, I kept them both in a bassinet until it was time to sleep through the night. For Marianna that was at two months, and for Adrienne, it was a few weeks earlier.
3. Philosophy on germs? I believe the circumstances around Marianna's birth dictated much of what I do regarding this topic. My grandfather died 12 hours after Marianna was born, surrounding her birth with more emotions than I could have ever dreamed. When we were discharged from the hospital, we went straight to the funeral home, and for that entire week, we were hardly home. Any ideas I might have had of keeping her in an isolated, germ free world, went right out the window, and with everything going on, I wasn't going to let that bother me. Instead, I let anyone who wanted to hold her, hold her. She was kind of symbolic that first week to many people, the promise of life and hope in the middle of the sadness. So, I couldn't put a n exact number on it, but I would guess it would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 people who held her that first week. After that, it seemed just silly to do anything other than continue to be laid back.
4. I've gotten most of my advice, not from books, but from people. I've tried to take advice from people who I trust, and then I go with those God-given instincts from there. When Marianna was born, my best friend, Julie, was the only person I knew with a baby. She was so laid back, taking things as they came without getting uptight if something didn't happen like she expected. I saw that she and Maggie were both doing great, so I adopted much of her philosophy and I haven't ever regretted that for a second!
5. Laid back or uptight? I guess I just answered that. I am laid back, except, like many of you mentioned, about discipline. I believe that is an area that I've got to be strict in in order to be laid back about everything else!
6. Did I change from Marianna to Adrienne? Hard to say. I don't really think so. Both kids were very, very different, and so I've adapted to meet those needs that were different, but I think my perspective was largely the same.
7. One word: miraculous.
Now to the analysis. I was surprised to see an almost down the middle split on the first question. It seems that feed on demand vs feeding schedule is a toss up! Just goes to show that different things most definitely work for different people and kids.
The nursery question, was also a question where there was not much consensus. It sounded like those with babies that did well in church stayed out of the nursery much longer than those who didn't. That makes sense. And for at home, there was a wide range from straight from the hospital, all the way to a year! Very interesting.
The question about germs was one of my favorites, and I was quite surprised to find that the majority of you treated germs more or less as an unavoidable part of life that wasn't to be fought against. Not everyone, but many stated that beyond normal carefulness (staying away from sick people, etc) there wasn't a reason to treat germs as the enemy. I really expected the response to be the opposite, with just a few for being proponents of building the early immune system. Again, I found that enlightening.
The fourth question was by far the most stream-lined. Almost everyone replied that they went primarily by instincts. I think that is really great, but it caught me off guard. With all of the books and ideas floating around out there, I just assumed that most people would have gravitated to some philosophy or system. There is certainly not anything wrong with that, but I did enjoy seeing that most people trusted the God-given mothering instincts rather than what a book told them was "normal."
Question five came back with many more responses of laid back than uptight. Again, I was expecting, especially in regard to the first baby, an opposite reaction. But, I'm seeing that I'm being proved wrong on a number of areas, and that doesn't bother me one bit!
Question six was a mixed bag. Many stated they didn't change, some changed because of the personalities of different children, and some just plain changed.
Thanks to each of you who participated! It was fun and it reminded me again that there is no right and there is no wrong. It's fun to learn from each other, accept differences, and admire different style.