Bombarded by baby advice

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And there is no time more desperate than when you are dealing with a screaming newborn with zero interest in sleep and stitches where nobody wants to have stitches. 

Help is at hand. The trouble is that there is SO much of it at hand, or rather at the swipe of a finger on your smartphone, that it can all get a little overwhelming.

When it comes to babies, everyone has an opinion and everyone thinks they are right. 

Even the official advice from health visitors and midwives – which you would expect to be pretty standard – varies depending on who you speak to.

One will raise their eyebrows and tut at the mention of a bottle, while another will be insisting you mix up some formula and abandon breastfeeding immediately.

When it comes to advice on raising our babies, it has never been more confusing. What is a new mum to do when bombarded with the following litany of information, starting before she has even given birth: 

You should definitely not have an epidural, because the potential for medical intervention is so much greater. But you should definitely use all of the pain medication at your disposal, because you need to get through what is the most gruelling ordeal of your life.

You should write a birth plan – and make it as detailed as possible. But don’t expect it to work out, because anything can happen.

You should breastfeed. Breast is best. Breastmilk contains an amazing list of magical substances that will help to keep your baby healthy, so you should definitely breastfeed your baby. Formula milk can cause your baby to have allergies and suffer from more ear infections, as well as mean that your baby will get only Cs and Ds in their GCSEs. 

`You shouldn’t pressure yourself to breastfeed. Breastfeeding causes severe maternal stress and is a huge cause of postnatal depression. Stop trying so hard and give formula instead. There is nothing wrong with formula. Fed is best. 

You should never co-sleep. Co-sleeping is dangerous and even if you are sober and a non-smoker, you risk rolling over in your sleep-addled state and squishing your offspring. 

You should definitely co-sleep. You need to rest and co-sleeping helps with the bonding, plus you can breastfeed easier this way. And you should definitely breastfeed. 

You should put your baby down drowsy but awake so that they learn to self-soothe to sleep. 

You shouldn’t worry about self-soothing at this age. Enjoy all of the cuddles that you can.

You should never give your newborn baby water. They don’t need it. Just milk is fine.

You should give your baby some cool boiled water. They are feeding too often.

You shouldn’t wean early. Babies are not ready for solids before they turn six months.

You should try offering your baby some baby rice. They are obviously hungry and it will help them sleep through the night.

You shouldn’t expect your baby to sleep through the night. They won’t do that for yours. 

Your baby should be sleeping through the night by now. Everyone else’s little ones have been doing 12 hours since they turned four months. 

You shouldn’t rock your baby to sleep because they will expect this treatment for the rest of their lives.

You should do whatever it takes to get your baby to sleep, even if it involves rocking, silly walks and a two-hour drive in the car at 3am. 

You should start sleep training. 

You definitely should not even think about sleep training until your baby is at least 18.

You should try a dummy.

You shouldn’t offer a dummy. This will mean your child will never utter a single word and will be attending primary school with it stuffed in their stunted mouth.

You shouldn’t feed babies food from jars. Make your own purees. It will save you time and money, plus your baby will be used to your home cooking.

You should feed your baby from jars. They are nutritionally balanced with no added sugar, marketed at posh middle class types and who can be arsed with cooking. 

It’s simply exhausting, confusing and so bloody stressful that no wonder modern parents struggle to just enjoy time with their little one.

We are told to worry less, and yet with the endless list of conflicting advice, how can we not worry!?

The truth of the matter is, everyone has a different way of doing things.

You are a fan of attachment parenting, while Rita down the road is more into the authoritative method. 

Your mum was a fan of the “leave the baby in the pram in the back garden” style of parenting, while her mum formed a whole other style of her own.

What works for one person, does not work for another.

If your baby is fed, growing and happy, then that is all that matters. When there are bumps along the road, by all means ask for advice. But don’t forget that you know best. The decision rests with you, and anything you do won’t be wrong.

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2 Comments

  1. July 12, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    Feel like I needed to read this tonight. Had a huge cry as I felt like s failure. My LG is 6 months and exclusively breastfed, won’t take a bottle so will only feed from me, sleeps in her co sleeper but wakes every 45 minutes and should be in her big cot now (or so I keep being told). She’s very happy and amazing but I constantly compare myself to everyone, you’re post has made me realise I’m not alone in my thoughts!

    • July 13, 2018 / 7:47 am

      Oh poor you this is such a difficult phase and the lack of sleep is nearly impossible to live with! I was in the same boat last year with my youngest. It does get better! Xxx

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