From the second you announce your pregnancy, you will inevitably become bombarded with tons of advice. Whether it’s you poring through dozens of parenting books or just receiving unsolicited advice from everyone in your life, all of that information can become overwhelming.
A pregnant woman is a soft target. She finds herself on the receiving end of endless parenting advice from other moms. “Seasoned” moms want to share all the mistakes, tricks, and shortcuts they learned. It makes them feel good and validated. With so much unsolicited advice, it’s liberating to know what parenting advice to ignore. Check out our range of baby nursery products and furniture for all your baby needs.
Everyone’s got an opinion, right?
How do you determine what advice is relevant and what baby advice you can ignore? In one ear and out the other, I say. Smile and nod if you must, but then let it go. People want to be helpful, or they just want you to listen to them. Check out these pieces of outdated parenting advice you can leave in the past.
Babies should sleep face down.
The old advice was to keep your baby sleeping face down. This was said to prevent your baby from choking on inhaled mucus or vomit while sleeping. Not only is this advice now outdated, but it has been proven that sleeping face down puts your baby at higher risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Give babies aspirin for a fever.
A feverish infant can be scary for a parent. Your baby is miserable, and you want to do whatever you can to make him or her feel better. Many people used to reach for aspirin to remedy fever, but that is not the best way to make a baby feel better.
Children under 18 years old who take aspirin are at an increased risk for Reye’s syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder. If you need something that can take a fever down, try acetaminophen or ibuprofen. It has the same benefits that aspirin has but without the risk of Reye’s. (Be sure always to consult your pediatrician regarding medicine and dosage amounts for your children.)
Comforting a crying baby will end up spoiling the baby.
You might hear that holding your baby too often spoils them. Newsflash: There’s nothing in research to back that up.
A baby is a baby. Them being held and feeling supported, safe, and nurtured by their mother forms a great attachment. Bonding happens. Babies go through rhythms. They cry when they need to be met. They sleep when they’re comfortable, fed and dry. I know mothers who will sometimes feel guilty if they want to hold their baby during a nap or if they want to — God forbid — lay in bed with their child!
Mothers feel shame for wanting to do these things. They’re told that they could fall asleep and roll over their baby. This causes women to feel hysterical about holding their baby too much or sleeping with their baby. Look at the facts, and you’ll see that alcohol or something intoxicating usually contributes to those incredibly tragic situations. Be sure to look into these kinds of horror stories. Educate yourself before getting scared to do things that are truly lovely between a parent and a child.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than sitting idly by while your baby is wailing in the other room. You may have heard that you need to “tough it out” so your baby doesn’t become spoiled. This is yet another irrelevant parenting tip. In the first two years or so of your baby’s life, it’s tough to do anything that will instantly spoil them.
A baby (especially an infant) that is crying does not yet have the mental capacity to understand why they are crying or that crying can get them attention. They are simply feeling pain or unpleasantness and reacting naturally to it.
By ignoring a crying baby and letting them “cry it out,” you make your baby feel abandoned, which is frightening for them. Do what feels natural and comfort your crying baby. Don’t worry about spoiling them until they become a toddler.
Babies need total silence to sleep.
Many households live the first few months of a baby’s life in absolute silence in fear of waking up the sleeping infant.
Don’t buy into that, necessarily.
Babies and children can do quite well without too much noise around them as long as they’re raised in that environment. Maintaining a super quiet house gives moms another reason to walk on eggshells.
Many parents fail to remember that before being born, your baby spends nine months sleeping in the womb. Throughout that time, they slept through all sorts of noise and commotion. It’s good for babies to learn to sleep through some noise, such as vacuuming in the other room or some side conversation.
Don’t go crazy and throw a concert in your living room, but don’t be afraid to enjoy some TV after you put your baby to bed. It will make your life easier to have a baby who tolerates noise. Babies adapt to their surroundings. The more you realize this, the more relaxed everyone can be.
Babies should bathe every day.
Many used to believe that babies need to be bathed once a day, every day. This is no longer the case, as babies can go 2-3 days without a full bath.
As long as they are being bathed 2-3 times a week and are getting their face, hands, and bottom cleaned every day, they should be excellent and hygienic.
If you prefer to bathe your baby every day, use soap only on the face, hands, and bottom. If you use too much soap all over the body, the baby’s skin will dry out quickly, which can be uncomfortable.
Don’t let your child stand and bounce on your lap.
There used to be a fear that if you let your baby stand and bounce on your lap, you would be doing real damage to their growing legs.
Many believed this would lead to the baby’s legs becoming bent or bowed. However, it has now been shown that quite the opposite will happen. This action is good exercise for the baby, making their legs stronger in the process.
Just make sure you’re reading your baby’s face when doing it. If he or she seems comfortable and happy, then it’s okay. But if he or she seems upset by it, then you’ll want to stop.
Baby walkers help infants learn to walk more quickly.
Although, on the surface, it might seem that a baby walker would help your infant learn to walk more quickly, it does the opposite.
Mobile walkers increase the risk of injury for your baby, and they can make them too portable before they are ready.
If you want to give your baby a chance to practice standing and balance without hurting him or herself, you have options: stationary walkers, baby gates, and play yards can keep your little one safe while learning to walk.
Your baby’s diet should be strict, including the feeding schedule.
Much of the old advice used to recommend a strict four-hour feeding schedule is beginning at birth. This was recommended in the name of not spoiling your baby by feeding them whenever they seem hungry. It is now advised that you operate on the baby’s schedule for at least the first three months.
Feed your baby when he or she is hungry to promote growth and your understanding of your baby’s needs. If your baby wants to eat all the time, extend the time between feedings a little bit each time so they can continue to gain weight while remaining happy. Your baby will have determined a schedule for itself by the time he or she is four months old.
Breastfeeding mothers need to give up spicy food.
A common breastfeeding myth is that the mother has to give up spicy foods not to ruin breast milk for the baby. Not only can mothers eat a healthy diet with spice involved, but they are encouraged to.
Your baby’s preference for food begins with breastfeeding. Babies adopt their mother’s taste preferences, so the more varied the mother’s diet is during breastfeeding, the more varied your baby’s taste preference will be.
Of course, it’s essential that your diet remains healthy and that you stick to the other guidelines, but don’t settle for a bland diet when eating spicy foods will not harm your breast milk.
You’re a bad mother if you don’t breastfeed
While experts agree that breast milk is the preferred option for babies, many families choose not to breastfeed, and many are even unable to due to a low milk supply or a variety of other reasons.
With all the information out there about the benefits of breastfeeding, some are left wondering: Are formula-fed babies healthy? The good news for these families is that the formula on shelves today is better than it’s ever been.
Scientific developments of the 21st century have made formula mimic breast milk in terms of fat, immune system protection, and nutrients. Don’t let the opinions of others stop you from raising your baby the way that works best for you.
Forget what other people tell you about this is. You need to trust your own body. Mental health is more important than whether or not you can get breast milk into your baby.
There’s no doubt about it. Breast milk provides invaluable nutrition for your baby. It can enhance bonding between mother and child, but we must look at what happens psychologically when a woman cannot breastfeed or finds it challenging to breastfeed.
Millions of women go back to work just six weeks after having a baby. They lack a supportive employment environment. Advocates of breastfeeding say to use pumps, but that’s not always realistic.
You might not have sufficient work breaks to pump. Maybe the environment at work isn’t clean. Perhaps you are one of the very few women in your office. Whatever the reason, pumping — just like breastfeeding — is not for everyone.
Stressing Out Stops Milk Production
You’re told to stop stressing. Ignore that. It’s not the type of advice you want to listen to, especially if you’re trying to produce breast milk.
Many moms blame themselves for their stress. They listen to society telling them to stress out about motherhood. There’s no question that stress correlates with milk production — to an extent.
Researchers found that when a mom can breastfeed, her mood elevates, and her stress decreases. But this creates a rat race for mothers who think, “Hurry up and produce milk! Then I’ll be able to feed my baby and feel holistically better.”
A physiological reaction occurs anytime our bodies experience stress. Remember, stress is experienced on a cellular level with hormone secretion. Stress can slow down the flow of milk, but it usually does not stop milk production.
Repeat: stress could slow it down, but anxiety doesn’t stop it.
This is an incredibly personal situation and conversation that a mom shouldn’t be having with just anybody. She can be working with a lactation specialist, a best friend, or a partner.
Sleep Now Because You’ll Never Sleep Again or Sleep When the Baby Sleeps.
These trendy advice pieces are completely and utterly useless to pregnant women and new parents. Let’s break this to you gently.
There is no such thing as a Sleep Bank. You cannot rack up hours of sleep like overtime and save them for later, sorry. You can undoubtedly enjoy your rest when you can because it will change once your baby arrives. Linger in bed on weekends, revel in the fact that is barring life responsibilities, you can sleep when you want. And then, get ready to be put through sleep torture hell for a few weeks, months or…yes, years.
And sleeping when your baby sleeps? Sure, because showering, eating, cleaning, and all those other things we need to do will magically be done once we wake up, right? I love this idea, but in theory only. Most parents can’t seem to make it work.
Enjoy Every Moment.
Every single moment? Like, every minute? No pressure, right? We totally “get” what people mean. And isn’t it always a 60-something-year-old grandmother saying this? So I know it comes from a place of love. BUT
The problem with this advice is that if every person parenting a child were to be totally and completely honest, they would admit that they are not enjoying every moment.
Parenting a child can be hellish, and long, and SO trying. There are days when you feel like you might just crack and pack your bags for a weekend away and not tell anyone where you’re going. So telling someone to “enjoy it while it lasts cause soon it’ll be a memory” doesn’t make that poop explosion clean itself, nor does it end the middle of grocery store tantrums. Screw enjoying every moment. How about, get a sense of humour and be able to laugh when everything goes wrong?
My mother/I did _____, and I/they turned out just OK!
Not even sure if you can consider this advice or just carte blanche for parents to do whatever they want, but this little gem is said every three seconds worldwide.
If it reassures you, that’s great! Go for it (whatever it might be!) But, this is what we call anecdotal evidence, and it certainly doesn’t mean it’s a proven fact that you should follow this advice. It’s almost like saying, “I am the world’s best parent because I managed to keep the kids alive!”
Good old Google. We are raising kids since 1998.
We’re all for the internet and can find resources and answers to life’s great questions in a matter of moments, but you need to remember: anyone can publish anything to the internet for Google to find. (Including this post, oh the irony.) So, take everything with a grain of salt. Follow your instincts. Put coconut oil on it.
Avoid All Plastic
You’re told only to use wood toys, natural toys, and glass bottles. The risk of lead poisoning scares moms into feeling guilty about having plastic. We hear moms say that they feel like a bad parent if their kid plays with those brightly coloured Fisher-Price stackable rings. Instead of driving a mom crazy with plastic, let’s empower her with facts and freedom.
There’s some buzz about plastic. Sure. We have a wide range of baby nursery furniture to help you create the perfect room for your baby.
We hear studies claiming that some plastic causes brain damage or cancer, but we might find different claims and investigations a decade. So what do we do? Let’s acknowledge that a modern world completely free of plastic seems a little unrealistic.
A mom should start by considering where and when she feels comfortable having plastic toys. Consider the ages and stages of development. If you’re fearful of plastic: don’t use plastic toys during the teething stages. Let your child have soft toys or give your child a wet rag. Make choices about the toys that YOU feel good about. Try limiting plastic, but realize that all together, avoiding it is unrealistic.
Use Checklists for Everything
The first time a woman becomes pregnant, she will instantly start getting a bunch of lists. Magazine lists. Blog lists. Booklists. Doctor lists. Gear lists. Some lists contain hundreds and hundreds of pages. Are you overwhelmed yet?
Good news. You can ignore many of those lists.
Instead, have discussions with moms you feel aligned with. Seek out other moms that share your style. Ask them for lists of what you need to know, to buy, and to read. Keep those lists to things that you’ll need in the first 3–6 months. You don’t need three years worth of gear before the baby’s even born.
The massive difference between a 1-month old and a 6-month old means that a new mom will feel like a seasoned, more confident parent in no time. Connect with real people who you love and admire, and feel free to ignore the advice from all the others. Be sure to stick with a time frame that feels manageable, too.
Your Baby Must Sleep Here
You’re told your baby needs to sleep in a bassinet. Or upstairs. Or downstairs. Or in the same room. Or in a separate room.
With so many “right” places for a baby to sleep, many mothers have difficulty choosing what’s best. Forget what people say about the best place for a baby to sleep. You have to meet your baby first and then determine their needs before deciding where they sleep.
Moms should have the confidence to make this decision based on what’s best for them and their baby. It doesn’t feel natural to have an infant that’s not arm’s-reach away from. You would want to be on the same floor as your baby.
Most of the advice indicated not to keep your baby in my room for a long time.
“They’ll smell you, they’ll hear you, they’ll never sleep without you.”
However, in most of the world, kids sleep with their parents in the same beds — for years! Sometimes it’s out of necessity; sometimes, it’s out of philosophy. Books from the 1960s give advice that would shock people nowadays.
When it comes to where your baby sleeps, ignore the one “right way” of parenting.
Oh, and that phrase you commonly hear: “Well, we raised all our kids the same and look at how different they all came out.” No, you didn’t raise them all the same. Birth order in and of itself makes the experience different. Do what’s right and natural for you and your child.
Follow My Sleep Schedules
No matter what you hear about strict sleeping schedules, you need to know that not all programs work for all babies and parents. Ignore any parenting advice that claims to be the magical “one size fits all” sleep schedule.
Babies and toddlers indeed thrive on schedules and predictability. However, it gets tricky to look at this in terms of parenting advice. A program might stress a parent out.
Other kids will run around the party until late. Maybe those parents can tolerate the meltdown at the end of the day. Maybe their kid will sleep the following day.
Keeping a schedule is best for development, but it goes back to your parenting style and philosophy at the end of the day. Figure out how you can bridge your parenting style with your child’s temperament.
Finally, if there are three pieces of advice you DO listen to, it’s this:
- Identify people in your life who you love and admire. Woman, man, family member, co-worker; it doesn’t matter. These are people you want advice from because you want to emulate their parenting style. You’ll be lucky if you can come up with 3.
- Let them know when you want — and when you don’t want — their advice. They will respect your preference. Learn from others, but also learn to trust your intuition. Attunement is an excellent skill as a parent. Know what your particular kid’s cry means. Know what they need and what they want.
- For a new or pregnant mom, unsolicited parenting advice is just a bombardment. It feels preachy. What’s worse is that all these nuggets of knowledge come at a very vulnerable time for the new mother. She feels like an amateur. She doesn’t know what’s happening with her body, she has a young baby, and she’s just getting through the day. Now, you can still put on a smile, but instead of feeling unsure inside, you can be confident in what parenting advice to ignore.
You’re the real expert on parenting your children. It may not seem like you have all the answers, and sometimes there won’t be an answer, but ultimately you’re the one who gets to decide how this whole parenting journey goes. My Baby Nursery is your one-stop baby product store.
There is no right way or wrong way to parent. Throughout this journey, you are going to get advice from everyone. But it’s important to remember that parenting is a natural human instinct. Trust your gut when things get tricky, and know that you can handle any curveball life throws at you.