“Make sure to massage his hands with lots of nice smelling oils,” a woman at the ferry terminal tells me, “it will make your baby more sensual.”
Sensual baby – riiiiight.
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A midwife scolds me for rocking my six week old child to sleep. This age old practice is a bad habit, apparently. I’m sure she never did it with her own children.
They say babies don’t come with instruction manuals. I beg to differ. There are tons of books out there! But way too many schools of thought on what’s best for baby for this new mother to handle.
I am drowning in a sea of advice, rules and best practices. I have read that if you do not teach your child to self settle by letting them cry while they fall asleep from almost the beginning you will end up with a clingy thirty two year old who won’t move out of home. On the other hand, if you’re not ‘attachment parenting’ – holding your child close at all times and catering to his needs the second he starts to cry then you will end up with a detached juvenile delinquent.
I guess the decision is mine – which kind of dysfunction would I prefer from my offspring? (I’m leaning towards juvenile delinquent… that way I can have a sewing room sooner rather than later).
My least favourite phrase when I’m reading parenting guides is ‘studies have shown’. These words often pre-empt some research conducted on a tiny focus group that supposedly proves that whatever you’ve been doing puts your child at some terrible risk.
Studies have shown that if you wave a bottle of formula under your child’s nose they will have a higher chance of having a low IQ and never show any interest in learning the unabridged works of Shakespeare off by heart. (I get the whole breastfeeding thing, and I’m doing it and will continue to do it but sheesh, can the women who can’t do it please have a break? )
Studies have shown that babies who suck dummies at night could be slightly pre-disposed to not liking elephants.
Has anyone ever done a study of the impact of feeling your way along as you go and what kind of kids that creates?
Then there are the mothers who insist that they’re an expert on what’s best for your baby based on what their baby liked at that age. Raff is not a huge fan of being swaddled, perhaps it’s because he is a hot little potato and it has been summer for all of his life, call me crazy… but I’m not wrapping him up tight if it means he’s gonna scream the house down.
The only conclusion I can come to from this torrent of advice is to work with what makes him happy and allows me to maintain some form of sanity. And at the end of all this I will be able to write a book that nobody will buy – called ‘Tips and Tricks for Raising Rafferty’.