Shepherds & Shakers: Advice
Updated: May 9, 2018
What better topic to kick off our mums and dads group than that double edged sword: advice!
When you become a parent, no, in fact, before your baby is even born, you are met with advice from all corners whether you ask for it or not. Some advice is welcome and enormously useful: helps you find a way through tricky patches, or solves a problem quickly when you would have taken an age searching. Some advice, on the other hand, is less helpful: ranging from the quite irritating to potentially harmful.
So, we are talking about the advice we were given as new parents and what we each found turned out to be the best and the worst pearls of wisdom. As you can see, lots we agree on, some we don't. And for me, one of the pieces of advice considered 'best' by a few of our group below is to trust your instincts, what works for you. We are all individuals and our babies and children are too.
Best: Sleep while you can, there will be no more slow mornings.
Worst: Always have a pacifier at hand - she hated it!
Best: Trust your instincts rather than what's written in books.
Worst: It gets easier. It doesn't, it just changes.
Best: Stick to a routine.
Worst: It gets easier.
Best: Ask for help (why I didn't because I was too proud and completely burnt myself up).
Worst: You've got to fake it to make it (it only made my postnatal worse because I took too long to get help and established some very bad habits to cope. Best thing to do is to ask for help as soon as you feel you need it, even if it's day one. And don't put off getting help because you're afraid of what others might think, even yourself.).
Best: Don't feel guilty about using the TV for hours at a time for a toddler when you have a screaming newborn. If nothing else, it keeps them calm and happy...and actually they learn so much!
Worst: From a GP - maybe your baby isn't smiling yet because you don't smile. That or there's something wrong with his eyes.
Best: Do it your way and go with your instincts. Don't sweat the small stuff, as long as everyone's fed, healthy and happy it's all good!
Worst: My first little one had bad reflux and constipation. When he was 6 weeks old my GP told me to give him orange juice to relieve his constipation! And a clanger that might be my new worst advice: "Don't cuddle him too much or he'll get too attached"!
Best: Always trust your instincts as you'll be the one who knows your baby best. Also on a practical level, put the baby in the buggy/sling and go outside if things are getting too full on: it's very calming for both of you.
Worst: Get your baby on a strict routine as soon as possible. Some babies are not routine lovers and you only make yourself utterly miserable trying to force one on them/yourself. A pattern will develop naturally!
Best: Get a cleaner, it's cheaper than going to Relate.
Worst: Enjoy every minute, they grow up so fast. (Yes, they do, alarmingly quickly. But you don't need anyone being the harbinger of doom telling it'll all be over before you know it before you've even begun. And, seriously, no one I know enjoys every minute. Some new parents, often mothers, can feel very vulnerable and overwhelmed. To chuck guilt for not enjoying every minute into the mix is so unhelpful. Terrible advice.
Best: Sleep when your baby sleeps.
Worst: Sleep when your baby sleeps!
Best: Rest when your baby sleeps. Housework can wait.
Worst: Any strict, black and white advice instead of trusting one's mothering instincts eg. let your child cry herself to sleep or she will become dependent and manipulative.
Best: Don't waste your time feeling guilty, your best is always good enough!
Worst: To catch up on lost sleep, try to nap in the day while your baby sleeps. Doesn't work. I'm a human being, not a cat.
Best: Go with your instinct: if it feels right for you and the baby just do it!
Worst: Sleep when the baby sleeps (and drop out of any semblance of normal life!)