From the moment you announce that positive pregnancy test, it’s a given that you’re going to get bombarded with advice – good, bad and ugly. Even strangers feel compelled to tell you what did or didn’t work for them during pregnancy and parenthood.
So we asked BellyBelly Forum members to tell us the best and the worst advice they have been given – I am sure you will be able to relate to many of these!
Best Advice, Worst Advice…
Best advice: It is NORMAL for a baby to have an unsettled time each day and an unsettled day a week. Often it’s tiredness. You will get through and the next day they will be OK again!
Worst advice: “That (breastfeeding) is disgusting. Why can’t you put her on a bottle like everyone else?” (thanks to my DAD who was promptly told to crawl back under his rock)!
Best advice: Do what you feel is right/what works for you and the baby.
Worst advice: Flying/traveling with a newborn is easy (not true in our case).
Best advice: Wear your baby.
Worst advice: Let your baby cry itself to sleep and wearing your baby will ‘spoil’ him. I hate that one.
Best advice: Your baby will not necessarily be sleeping through by 6 weeks and that is perfectly normal!
Worst advice: Your baby should be sleeping through by 6 weeks.
Best advice: Enjoy your baby! Cuddle your baby (she won’t get spoilt or manipulative). Don’t stress the little things, housework can be done tomorrow.
Worst advice: Letting him cry it out will ‘teach’ him to go to sleep by himself.
Best advice: Cuddles does not spoil them, let them breathe and smell you, as they have been part of you for the last 9 months.
Worst advice: Switching to bottle feeding will help them sleep at night, also when are you going back to work.
Best advice: To do whatever works for you and your baby that will keep you both happy and sane!
Worst advice: Don’t cuddle them too much or feed them to sleep cause your creating bad habits and will spoil your bub.
Best advice: Let your baby led you and let you know when their hungry, tired etc.
Worst advice: Because your baby is bottle fed it should be sleeping through by 6 weeks.
Best advice: Do what feels right for you.
Worst advice: It’s cruel to swaddle her so much – babies want to be able to move their arms around.
Best advice: Take him to bed with you and get some sleep (from my dad no less), also several people told me to ‘do what works’.
Worst advice: Don’t hold him so much, after all, he is out of the womb now and needs to get used to it!
Best advice: Follow your instincts (you are the best mother for your baby).
Worst advice: Wake your baby up to feed him 3-hourly.
Best advice: You’re his/her mum – you know best!
Worst advice: Babies need to fit in with your routine – not the other way around.
Best advice: Do what YOU feel is right and never be afraid to ask for help.
Worst advice: Don’t pick bubs up too much as you will spoil them… what a crock!
Best advice: Don’t worry about the housework, the baby can’t tell and sleep is more important – so sleep when they sleep.
Worst advice: She cries because you’re spoiling her and don’t know how to be a mother. This is from a maternal and child health nurse at 1 month, baby was finally diagnosed with colic and reflux 3 months later.
Best advice: Listen to all the advice given to you, be polite and respect each word of wisdom but only take on board what you think will work for you and your baby/ies.
Worst advice: Rub lemon on the gums of teething babies to bring the teeth through quickly!
Best advice: Do whatever works.
Worst advice: Give baby water when he wakes through the night from 6 weeks to get him to sleep through. Also, you must drink milk to produce enough to breastfeed.
Best advice: Follow your instincts to meet your babies needs.
Worst advice: Follow the feed, play, sleep routine or any ‘routine’ (it’s play, feed to sleep for us!)
Best advice: My mum said this one only the other day, “Tell everyone to shove off that say you need to wean from the breast when teeth arrive, I fed you when you had a gob full of sharp toothy pegs with no problems!” Not bad from a Mum raising a kid in the 70’s when so many others were bottle feeding!
Worst advice: Ohhhh, your baby has teeth, time to wean him off the breast.
Best advice: Do what you feel is right for you and your baby.
Worst advice: My mother-in-law tried telling me to put ice cream on bubs dummy when she was only 4 weeks because she was unsettled!
Best advice: It’s hard to pick one, but probably when my son was nearly due, my friend told me to join the Australian Breastfeeding Association (in fact she gave me a gift subscription) and NOT to give up breastfeeding if I had problems. I had problems (Jack had a tongue-tie) and her advice (and gift ABA subscription) got me through.
Worst advice: Don’t feed them so often (my son would feed around every 2 hours during the day then sleep through the night from 6 weeks – why would I change that? My second son went through his 6 week growth spurt and my mother-in-law said that I was, ‘mad for feeding him so often – it’s insane’.
Best advice: Babies are all different, they don’t read manuals so do what’s best for you and your baby.
Worst advice: Surely you’re going to wean her soon? She doesn’t need to be breastfed now that she’s over 6 months.
Best advice: Follow your instincts, you’re her mother you know best.
Worst advice: I couldn’t breastfeed so you won’t be able to either (from a few different people including my mother, I showed them though).
Best advice: Do what you think is best for Logan and don’t compromise your beliefs because some one tells you to.
Worst advice: “I saw on a breast feeding program that formula is more nourishing than breast milk, so why haven’t you weaned him yet? I mean there is no point in you breast feeding…” from a girl in my young mothers group when Logan was 11 months old and on the boob.
Best Advice: Just go with the flow – enjoy her and don’t worry about routine. Wish I got this one earlier.
Worst advice: Let her cry otherwise she will have you wrapped around her finger (given at two weeks old). Don’t cuddle her to much or you will spoil her. Stick to a routine!
Best advice: If you get just one thing done each day with a newborn then you are doing well.
Worst advice: You mustn’t pick your baby up, it’s habit forming.
Best advice: Take all advice under consideration, and do those which feel right for you and your family. Follow your instincts, ask advice and do what feels best. You know the best way to parent your child.
Worst advice: (given at 10 days old) Don’t feed within 3 hours of a feed, don’t pick her up if she’s crying.
Best advice: When someone gives you advice you don’t like, just smile and nod then do it your way!
Worst advice: “Your baby is crying and unsettled because you are cuddling him too much – put him in the crib and leave him” – this from a midwife the day after I gave birth to my son! Along the same lines is, “Don’t rock/cuddle your baby to sleep or he will get used to it and be expecting it when he is 5.” This is a crock!
Best advice: The best advice I got was from my maternal and child health nurse, who told me to trust myself and go with what I thought was best. It’s fine to listen to what people have to say but only take on board what makes sense to you.
Worst advice: “Leaving him cry is really good as this will tire him out and make him sleep longer.” This from a nurse!
Best advice: Online grocery shopping!
Worst advice: “Don’t rock your baby they get used to it”.
Best advice: Go with your instincts (thanks mum, great advice! xoxo)
Worst advice: Wake her every four hours for a feed, she cant go the whole night without one! (Damn midwife just wanted to drive me insane I’m sure… I took mums advice with this one and my daughter has always been a healthy little porker!)
Best advice: Trust you, and it’s OK to ask for help.
Worst advice: “You’re under-nourishing her. She should be on formula and starting solids,” – from my mother-in-law at 6 weeks.
The overwhelming majority of good advice our mothers have found is to follow your instincts and your heart when mothering a newborn. Do what you need to do to get through and trust yourself and your baby.
As for the bad advice, again an overwhelming majority vote – receiving advice about babies and convenience. Similar responses relating to getting babies into routines and avoid doing things which babies enjoy (and mums and dads too!) in order to prevent habits.
Struggling With Unwanted Advice?
If you are struggling with unwanted advice, parenting expert Pinky McKay says:
“I see so many absolutely fabulous new mums who feel undermined and confused by unsolicited advice – it can be as unimportant as whether they should wrap or shouldn’t wrap. I ask them – is it life threatening? Do you think your baby will fail finger painting if you stuff up how you fold his wrap? Then I reassure them that they know their own baby best – if your baby prefers to be wrapped or not (or whatever, as long as it isn’t a safety issue), is the mother’s call.
I have a criteria for accepting advice – if the person dishing it out isn’t coming with casseroles or offering to do an ‘overnighter’ with your baby, you are not under any obligation to even listen, let alone try their advice, no matter how well-meaning it is.”
Read More or Share Your Own!
If you’d like to share the best and worst advice you were given, or to read more of these, check out our Baby & Toddler forums.