You can’t escape it, from the day you announce your pregnancy, a constant stream of advice, mostly well meaning, often patronising and occasional bullshit.
In all probability you will have complete strangers patting your bump (yuk), commenting on what you eat, how fat you are, how well/tired/shitty you look and generally bombarding you with shoulds and shouldn’ts for the whole 9 months. When your bundle of joy arrives brace yourself as it only gets worse.
Because you have produced and care for a small human – guess what? That makes you fair game for all manner of ‘advice’. Anyone who has also popped out a baby at some point in their life (whether that be the 1900s or last week)will be an expert and you, my friend, know nothing.
To be fair, most of this will come from a place of love. I know I have been guilty of sounding off in the past. I am sure my friends will have wanted to claw my eyes out for doling out Nanny advice then going home to my childless 10 hours of sleep and big fat glass of wine.
What I didn’t understand before having a baby was the sheer over whelmingness (I don’t think that is an actual word )of it all. I thought I knew everything about raising a child but during those early days I received so much conflicting advice, opinion and general white noise that I found I was constantly doubting myself. I focussed far too much on what other people were saying I ‘should’ be doing and less on actually tuning into my instinct and enjoying my baby. Having google close to hand only made things worse.
As a new mum you often feel like you have been hit by a truck anyway, self-esteem can take a knock and sleepless nights plus loss of identity/your old self can totally make you question every decision you make. All you really need is someone to make you a cuppa, give you a hug and tell you what an amazing job you are doing – because believe me you are.
To highlight the amount of conflicting advice I was given I thought I would make a list of some of the gems I listened to in the early days……
“You can never overfeed a baby “
“You are overfeeding your baby” (both health professionals)
“Don’t tickle your babies feet – it will give him a stammer” (?!?!)
“If you let your baby cry it will affect his emotional development”
“You pick your baby up to much – he is getting spoilt”
“Dummies will affect his speech and make his teeth grow funny”
“You should give him a dummy it will soothe his reflux”
“Don’t let him fall asleep with his dummy; he will end up with a sleep disorder”
“Dummies while sleeping can help prevent SIDS”
“Breastmilk is causing him problems you should give him formula”
“Mixed feeding is bad; he will never go back on the breast.”
“Formula is bad, he will get overweight”
“He should be sleeping through the night by now”
“He’s sleeping through the night? He is far too young to drop night feeds”
“Shouldn’t he be smiling/sitting up/ crawling by now?”
“Shouldn’t he be having gripe water/infacol/calpol?”
“Babies don’t need so much sleep”
“He is overtired”
And I could go on and on and on and could easily fill 10 blogs with this stuff.
If I could go back in time ( and I know it is easy to say now I have come out of the sleep deprived hormonal stage)I would tell myself to drown out the white noise, lock the iPhone away, and just try and tune in and listen to my instincts. Enjoy your tiny human – you are not going to get that time back and it goes so quickly. You are his/her Mother, you know best and you are doing the best job ever – choose your own ‘parenting style’ (I hate that expression) not one from a book and your decisions are bound to be the right ones. We are all in the same boat, muddling along and doing our best – if that is fine for our little humans and they are happy and healthy then that (and not what Mabel up the road says) is all that matters xx