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The thought of having a baby is an exciting and daunting experience rolled into one. You are so excited to meet this little person and become a mother, but you have no idea what it will really be like and what your life is going to resemble after the birth.

So much is changing in your life it is so tempting to spend all your time talking about the changes, your excitement, your plans, your worries and your expectations.

From this day on you will encounter an army of women (and some men) who will see it as their duty to give you advice on every aspect of your life, current and future. Although this is well-meaning in the main, each of us is different and each of our children are different. What worked for you may not work for me, and what you believe may not be in line with my values.

Here are some examples of advice that I have been given throughout the years:


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1) Push through the pain and keep breastfeeding

I remember a health professional giving me this advice with my first daughter.

I was in extreme pain; I hadn’t mastered the correct latching technique and as such was inadvertently causing myself problems. I was filled with dread before each feed and the first 2 minutes were excruciating.

Some mothers simply cannot breastfeed. For whatever reason – low supply, failure to thrive baby, painful feeding, tongue-tied baby. Giving advice that they should continue to attempt to breastfeed at all costs is not helpful. We all know “breast is best” for the majority, but it may not be best for us in the situation that we are in.

Don’t end up failing to bond with your baby or finding yourself suffering from anxiety because others expect you to breastfeed.

2) Do not rock/cuddle/breastfeed your baby to sleep

This was a common one as I fed both my girls to sleep every night for the first 18 months of their lives.

Apparently, I was making a rod for my own back. Teaching them bad habits. Although I was sure I wouldn’t be breastfeeding them to sleep at 15 years old, some people implied that I would have no choice!

To this day, I cuddle my 5 year old and 4 year old to sleep every night. Not because they can not sleep without a cuddle, but because they like it and I like it.

What could be nicer than drifting off to sleep getting a nice warm cuddle and back rub?

I am not looking forward to the day when they tell me that they would rather go to bed on their own. It is quite possibly my favourite 20 minutes of the day.



3) Get your baby into a routine and stick to it

Some of the mothers around me had read books. They had plans. They wanted their babies to sleep at certain times, wake for certain periods and feed at allocated times.

They often expressed or bottle fed to measure the milk intake. When the children moved onto solids, they talked in “cubes”. They had set amounts to feed their children each day.

I took a slightly different approach, which worked for me. I fed when my babies were hungry. They slept when they were tired. They went where I was going and fitted in around what was going on with the rest of the family. They ate however much they ate before they started turning away or spitting it out.

The pressure of a routine would not have worked for me and my approach would not have worked for these other mums. Nobody has it right. Just right for ourselves.

4) Use controlled crying to get more sleep

I am sure it works for some. But it would never work for me. My feelings are that my babies are crying for a reason and I will comfort them.

I still get up anytime my girls call me, even if they just want to tell me that they want to paint the next day.

I know other mums who swear their sanity was saved by using controlled crying or similar methods, and I am genuinely happy for them, as we are all well aware of the impact of severe sleep deprivation.

5) Don’t let your baby/children sleep with you

I understand that some people are concerned about the safety side of this, which is of course valid, but again this is a very personal choice for families to make. I know some families who sleep 5 to a bed and have done so for years. They are all well rested and very happy.

I also know families who will not let it happen and have a well established rule that every one sleeps in their own beds which works well.

I feel like I could have listed two hundred things that people offer you advice and opinion on. At the moment with my children at aged 4 and 5 years old, the hot topic seems to be the debate about starting your child at school as early as possible or as late as possible.

All of these decisions are very personal and in my case, a decision for one child may not even be the same as the decision for the other.

I know that most of the advice and comments that people give and make are intended well and hoping to be of some help, but at a time when you are transitioning through a big change and you are very tired, the best piece of advice I would give you is to ignore all the advice you get.

Through both trial and error and in line with your core beliefs work out what works for you and your family.

What advice did you constantly get when your kids were babies? SHARE in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


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  • I was forever staying awake even when bub was asleep. I would regret it later that night when bub was up all night hahaha

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  • I think I did every one of those things you mentioned with both of my boys!! They are now 11 & 13. I still lay down with them when I say goodnight to them, they both like it & so do I. We talk more in depth one on one about their day. Being boys, I’m sure it won’t last much longer so I’m enjoying it while I can!!

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  • Every baby is different as is every parent. If your not sure you should ask someone whom you trust completely.

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  • I bet none of those comments came from grandma! They sound like modern, not very experienced, mums.

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  • Some of those tips are fine, but we all have our own experiences. We ended up at a Sleep School (twice) with a child who screamed 24/7. We now know he had gut issues and colic and was later diagnosed with ASD so the norms did not work for him. We could not persist with breastfeeding regardless of what everyone said so we then had to try every formula known to man before we got onto Goats Milk. Very hard to find and had my hubby driving all over Melbourne to keep up. Go with your gut. I know you might be confused by what that means, but do what works for you.

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  • Yeah some of the advice listed above is actually good advice. It might not work for everyone but I find this article very opinionated. I use controlled crying and it’s not to get more sleep, it’s to teach your child to self soothe, which in turn allows them to be able to get back to sleep if they wake in the night, instead of crying and you then having to get up to them. People who co-sleep or breast feed/rock to sleep end up having kids not sleeping through until they’re 3. My kids both formed very good sleep routines and it’s because I followed the advice given to me by medical professionals.

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  • I was told by mother in law, to place honey on dummy of course I took no notice of this advise

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  • The only bit of advice I would give is, do what works for you. And, every child is different, so because something worked with one child, it won’t necessarily work with another.

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  • Great article. I learnt quickly to do what worked for us. I was in a quandary, however, when a friend asked for advice about settling her baby. I told her what had worked for us and what hadn’t and then told her to see what works for her and her baby. We are all individuals – including babies.

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  • Lots of rubbish, of course.

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  • Best advice I could ever give is you do you. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing

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  • Oh boy. I got all of the above and more. Sleep when they sleep, smack them, don’t smack them, ignore crying the list is endless. And half time what makes it worse is you’re getting this “advice” completely unsolicited from total strangers half the time.

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  • Hear hear! I’m trying to follow my instincts with my little one, but it’s tough when my instincts so often contradict or are the complete opposite to common advice. It certainly takes guts to stick to your guns!

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  • Sometimes it annoys me when some “professionals” give “advice” – learnt from lectures at Uni, about various issues with babies/toddlers/ early years shool children but have no personal experience at all. No alternative suggestions.

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  • I think there’s too mum pressure on mums to breast feed, we all know breast is best and if we could we most definitely would, but you are shamed if you don’t, I was lucky and had a nurse who said don’t be rediculas and told my husband to go buy formula, but my niece was shamed and put on crazy hourly expressing routine and medication, I told her to stop doing it to herself just spend the time with her baby and use formula, she was even shamed by a male supermarket employee when she asked for a particular brand of formula he told her to go home and breast feed her baby, the poor girl was so stressed and in tears it was awful

    Reply

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