Brace yourself. It’s coming. The unavoidable onslaught of advice. Everyone has an opinion and whether you want to hear it or not they are going to tell you how to raise, feed and care for your baby.
Since my daughter was born, and even while I was still pregnant, I was given advice I didn’t ask for. Yes some was great but it really is like a rose among thorns. There was so much bad advice.
As a new mum I enjoy discussing what I do with my daughter, but I have struggled when people have their say about what I’m doing and why it’s wrong. I acknowledge how things have changed in pregnancy and child rearing from generation to generation. People share what they found worked for them or what they remember being normal and effective. However there have been times when these bits of advice come across as judgement or attacks at what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.
So 1 year on, here are my top 10 worst pieces of advice I’ve heard since becoming a mum.
10. “You entertain her too much. She needs to be able to play on her own.”
Playing with your baby can be fun, heart warming and absolutely adorable. Especially as they get older and start to show more personality. I have loved shaking rattles and watching my daughter reach for, grab and shake it. I love making silly faces and talking to her while tickling her belly. So the last thing I needed to hear when doing this is “You entertain her too much. She needs to be able to play on her own.” What this person had not seen was the time my daughter spent entertaining herself at her activity gym or on her mat with a few toys that morning. Not to mention the fact she played happily in her cot first thing in the morning, with nothing but a mobile to look at and her hands and feet to play with. All so I could sneak an extra 30 minutes of sleep. I know my daughter is capable of entertaining herself and I didn’t entertain her too much.
9. “If I was her mother I’d give her just a little bit.. “
When your baby hits the 6 month old mark it’s the ideal time to start introducing solids. Starting with purees and working your way through mash and finger foods. You may choose to spoon feed, go for baby lead weaning and tackle a mixture of both. When starting out you don’t give baby 3 course meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. A spoonful of a puree after breast milk or formula once a day is all that is required at the start. When I had just started introducing solids I had someone offer me some raw cookie dough. I gladly took a spoonful while I was holding my daughter. She was very interested and watched me intensely as I licked the spoon. The person who gave it to me was quick to notice saying “look at her, she wants some”. I simply said that we had only just started on purees and she didn’t need raw cookie dough, but i would feed her shortly. I couldn’t believe the statement that came next. “If I was her mother, I’d give her some”.
8. “Solids will fix that.”
It doesn’t matter what your problem is. You can bet this will be an answer. ‘Solids will fix that.’
Your baby isn’t sleeping. ‘Solids will fix that.’ Your baby won’t stop crying. ‘Solids will fix that.’ Your baby has diarrhoea. ‘Solids will fix that.’ Your baby won’t let anyone else hold them. ‘Solids will fix that.’
I’ve heard this more times then I can count, but from all the times I’ve heard it I don’t think Solids have fixed it even once.
7. “Mothers group is a waste of time.”
I was told while I was pregnant not to bother with mothers group. I was told it was just a waste of time where other people openly criticise and judge you.
I know every mother’s group is very different. Maybe this mum had a bad experience but mothers group has been invaluable for me. A lifeline. A support network. A time out. Definitely not a waste of time.
6. “Don’t make her look like a dork.”
My infant daughter has a side part that makes her hair look like a comb over. I had just given her a bath. She was only a few weeks old. As I brushed her hair, following its natural direction, I was told “Don’t make her look like a dork”. To me she didn’t look like a dork. She was and still is the most precious and beautiful thing. Even with a comb over, a bald spot or a mullet. And she’s had all 3.
5.”Just express and leave baby with…”
Once you become a mum it’s very obvious whether people have kids or not themselves. One of my friends without kids of her own was asking me to come and catch up with her. She lives over an hour away and she wants to do a pub meal and go clubbing.
I tell her ‘I’m keen to catch up but need to wait until my daughter is a little older. But regardless clubbing is definitely off the menu. I’m breast feeding so I can’t leave her. How about a lunch’.
Her response made me laugh. It was so rediculous. “Just express and leave her with her dad or someone. A night away will do you good.”
I hadn’t even had my 6 week check up yet. The idea of leaving my daughter for any period of time was very unappealing. But I couldn’t help but laugh. My friend thought she was helping me to get some quality me time. But until you have a baby of your own I don’t think you can truely understand why lots of mums choose not to leave their babies.
4. “Just let her cry it out.”
This one is very similar to ‘Solids will fix that.’ I have heard this one so many times along with crying is good for babies. Whether its in response to not being the centre of attention or waking up during the night I have been told too many times to just let her cry it out. She’ll be fine. Crying is good for her. Well I know one thing for sure. It’s not good for me.
3. “You cuddle/hold your baby too much.”
Anyone with a newborn knows how special it is to cuddle up and snuggle with your baby. As they grow up and it becomes clear they don’t always want to cuddle, you really miss those days when all they wanted was a cuddle. Can you hug a newborn too much? No! It’s a great way to bond and its a place that makes your baby feel warm and safe.
2. “The doctors don’t know what they’re talking about. They change their mind all the time.”
Do Doctors change whats good for you and whats not. Yes. But its in response to new up to date research that supports an outcome. I was told not to listen to what the doctor told me based on information someone had been told over 20 years ago!
1. “I don’t know how all these people survived before.”
This was by far the worst. Not only does it judge the decision I have made but it makes me question EVERYTHING I have ever done. Have babies survived when the bassinet was just placed on the back seat, no seat belts or car seats? Yes. Did babies survive when they had soft toys and blankets in their cots? Yes. However with this more babies died.
As the research has developed and it became clear what creates a safer environment for babies, it has changed the recommendations for how we feed our babies solids, put our babies to sleep and many other aspects of child rearing.
All of these top ten worst pieces of advice have stuck with me over a year after my daughter was born. To hear these things at the time made me feel like what I did with my daughter was wrong. Worst of all they made me doubt my abilities as a mum. Being a new parent is tricky. It’s a huge learning curve. No-one should be made to feel like this. Especially not a first time parent.
Posted by Mumma Bear, 11th July 2020