Monday 26 January 2015

Child rearing advice NOT to follow

I know that people mean well, but it seems that having children paints some kind of sign over your head that encourages people to distribute their child raising advice whether you want it or not. Lately I've been thinking about some of the advice that people have 'gifted' me with, and some of it just makes me mad.

Here are just a few of the pearlers I've been given.

Sleep while the baby sleeps. 

As my good friend says, sure, shall I also clean while the baby cleans, wash up while the baby washes up and do the endless laundry while the baby does? Yes, there is definite sleep deprivation and more sleep would be great... but really, it's not always practical.

Having said that... here's a picture of Jimmy and I snoozing together... on a 35 degree day, so honestly it was more like sweaty snuggles but I'll take it.

You'll spoil the baby

Actually no, you can't spoil a baby. It's a baby for crying out loud. So if I respond to my child when he cries, that's not spoiling him. If he gives hunger signs even though he only ate half an hour ago, feeding him again isn't going to ruin him. If he falls asleep in my arms, I don't need to put him down. There will be plenty of time when he's happy to sleep on his own... but while I can, I'll enjoy those snuggles at mutually convenient times.

It's called meeting your child's needs. It's setting him up to know that he can count on you when he needs you.

Let him cry himself to sleep

Really? This is a little baby. He was rocked to sleep with the sound of my movements, voice and heartbeat for nine months. He's not suddenly going to be able to sleep on his own. If he needs a little help to sleep - patting, rocking, boobing... I'll give it to him. They're only little for a short time... let them be little and just go with it. What could I be doing that is more important that comforting my baby? Besides, each to their own, but I've always believed that a crying baby doesn't just learn to stop crying. They stop crying because they no longer expect you to come to them. I want my babies to know I will always be there for them.

He's just doing it to get to you

New babies don't know how to manipulate yet. If he cries, it's not to annoy me. He didn't just poop three times in a row purely to have me change nappy after nappy on purpose. If he needs nurturing, he needs it. I'm his mama. He needs me.

You brought this on yourself

Oh? The having a baby thing? I'll pay that. The having to rock him to sleep because if I lay him down he will either a) vomit or b) wake up? Well sure, I'll pay that too, but none of that stuff is forever. Seems that when ever I raise my children in a way that someone doesn't agree with, it's a bad habit that I "brought on myself". When I had Ellie, I went to a mother's group that was run by a community health nurse. She said something that has stuck with me.... she said, it's only a bad habit if you're tired of dealing with it. So, if for example, I'm ok rocking Jimmy to sleep, that's what works for us. When I can't do that anymore, then we will gently transition to a new sleep habit that works for both of us, together. What did I bring on myself? Oh, just the desire to be the best mama I can be.

Share with me. What is some of the worst (well meaning) advice you've been given?

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