This funny thing happens when you’re pregnant for the first time… everyone you come into contact with takes this as a cue to give you parenting advice. And what’s amazing is that you don’t even have to ask for it (that was sarcasm by the way).
Now, don’t get me wrong, some advice is great – like someone told me to take a pair of socks with me to the hospital when I had my son because it’s always cool at night. That’s great advice. But the great advice was often overshadowed by the not so great advice.
So I thought I’d share with you some of the worst parenting advice I was ever given, some of it’s quite funny too.
1 – Sleep When The Baby Sleeps
Okay, so there are some women out there who this works for, and if you are one of them, then that is amazing. But, don’t rely on this and don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s that easy.
If you’re lucky enough to have a baby that sleeps for more than 10 minutes in one go then you’ll most likely be tempted to use this time to attempt some form of self-cleaning, washing the absolute mountain of clothes that are forming and making some pass at cleaning what once resembled your kitchen. That’s if you can move past staring into space because of the sheer sleep deprivation.
But, I’m all for self care, and if the time that your baby naps is the time that you get to nap then go for it.
However, for me, that just wasn’t the case, with either of my babies. Despite how tired I was, I always had things I wanted to get done in their nap time (including running a business) so the idea of sleep seemed like time ‘wasted’ to me. I know… I’m strange, but I’ve always been this way. Or I’d just binge-watch Netflix and eat Nutella without someone touching me – also amazing self-care.
2 – You Only Need A Handful Of Outfits For The Baby, 5 Onesies At Most
Clearly, these people never had a baby with reflux. We were lucky if we only went through 5 outfits a day!! If this is your first child then buy whatever you want – you won’t be able to justify doing it again. If you want to dress your newborn up then go for it! It’s adorable. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.
With our second baby, we tried to reign things in a little more, but honestly, we used far more than 5 onesies (someone literally told me to just buy 5 onesies and that’s all I’d need…). We used a lot of the clothes from our son, and then bought some new cute outfits too.
You don’t have to spend a fortune, but if buying cute outfits makes you happy then go for it!
3 – Don’t Nurse Your Baby To Sleep. He Will Never Learn To Go To Sleep On His Own
I’m a little ashamed at how long I believed this for… that being said, I never stopped nursing my son to sleep – I loved it. And I have done the same for my daughter.
When my son was 18 months old he started asking to go to bed on his own. When my daughter was 16 months old she asked to go to bed and pushed me off the end of her bed so she could go to sleep on her own. Clearly, I ruined them.
Nursing my babies to sleep reduced my own stress, helped my babies settle quickly and sleep longer. Nursing your baby to sleep is not a bad thing if it works for you and your babe.
4 – Don’t Pick Your Baby Up When They Cry, You’ll Cuddle Them Too Much And Spoil Them
It is impossible to cuddle your baby too much. Seriously. And spoil them?? Really?? They are babies. They need to be held close, they need to be cuddled and they need to be shown love. This is one of the worst pieces of advice that really gets under my skin.
It is so instinctual to pick our babies up when they cry and there’s a reason for it – because that is what we are supposed to do!
Crying is the only way your baby knows how to communicate. They will cry when they are hungry, need to be changed, if they are too cold, too warm, overstimulated, uncomfortable or just want to be held. If you can’t work out why your baby is crying, and you’ve eliminated all of the above reasons, it’s okay to just hold your baby. You literally cannot spoil a baby.
5 – You Have To Stop Breastfeeding As Soon As They Ask For It
This makes absolutely no sense to me. We try so hard to work out what our children are trying to communicate to us, then when they can tell us that they want to drink milk, we stop giving it to them?? What message is that reinforcing?
And that’s before I even go on a rant about extended breastfeeding and how the World Health Organisation recommends feeding until 2 years of age and beyond.
Does this mean we should stop feeding our children when they ask for it?
As soon as my children were able to tell me what they wanted it made life so much easier! And for the record, you don’t have to stop breastfeeding for any other reason than because you choose to or because it is right for you and your baby.
6 – Don’t Pick Your Child Up When He Wakes At Night – Let Him Cry It Out, It’s Good For His Lungs
This is not a debate about whether crying it out works or not, but even those who are fans of the actual cry it out method know that a child who is screaming for hours on end is not a good thing.
ALL children are different, you cannot possibly bunch them all into one category of what will and what will not work.
When my son was a baby, he would not calm himself down once he was upset, he would ramp up more and more and then throw up. This has only ever happened once and you can bet I felt like the worst mum in the world.
There is literally no evidence to suggest that crying is good for a baby’s lungs (and goes against any sort of understanding of anatomy and physiology), and being left to cry, without comfort is incredibly distressing for a baby.
How would you feel if you were crying and upset, and all you wanted was a hug from your husband, but he just totally ignored you? Babies have emotional needs just like we do.
7 – When Your Nursing Baby Bites You, Bite Them Back
Are you kidding me? You just told me to bite my child…. My child who is only biting me because they are still learning how to use their mouth properly… my child who can’t even talk, my child who still depends completely upon me. You want me to bite them? When someone said this to me I laughed, thinking they were joking. They weren’t. I walked away.
My daughter bit my nipple so hard one time she literally made it bleed. She was asleep and got a fright, biting me in the process. Why on earth would I punish her for something she didn’t even mean to do?
These are just the weird and crazy snippets of advice I received, it’s not even including all the crazy advice I’ve heard my friends tell me they were given. As with all advice, take the good bits, leave the bad and do whatever suits you in the end.