This is just my opinion. I couldn’t sit on it much longer though, because it’s starting to drive me mad! As parents, I know that most of our advice comes from other parents who have been there and done that. I know I often seek advice on various aspects of parenting and I hope that when I am asked for advice, I give it in an unbiased way. That said, there are times when advice is not necessary. Like, when you don’t actually ask for it!
Since having Isobel I have been given some gems which I thought I would share with you. So here are ten things- I believe- parents shouldn’t say to each other.
1. “You’re making a rod for your own back.”
I hate hate HATE this phrase. Maybe I like to have a rod on my own back; it helps me to stand tall and proud, knowing I am doing the best I can for my child. Or something. But seriously, how can one person possibly comment on my sleeping arrangements with my baby when they do not even know me? Since when has co-sleeping been a rod for your own back? Loads of parents do it and its been proven to help babies sleep peacefully. Babies who co-sleep rarely startle themselves during their sleep (this is the case with Isobel), they rarely cry at night (also the case with Isobel) and they actually grow up to develop long term positive sleep patterns. Not sure on that one yet, so I’ll let you know. My points aside, co-sleeping is a personal decision. Please don’t judge me for it.
2. “You’ll spoil the baby if you pick her up when she cries.”
How on earth can you spoil a baby? Babies cry for a reason- maybe they are hungry; maybe they are tired; maybe they are in pain; maybe they just want some attention. I’ve yet to meet a three month old who rubs her hands together in glee whilst thinking of their next attention seeking scam. Isobel cries to get my attention and it’s my duty to make sure I give her that attention. It’s also my job to be able to decipher between her cries. If I know that she is tired and simply shouting at me, maybe I won’t pick her up. Perhaps instead I will hold her hand or stroke her head until she settles off to sleep. If she is crying because she wants me to pick her up, I will pick her up because I want her to know that she can trust me and count on me to be there for her. So excuse me if I ignore your advice on this one; I prefer to meet my baby’s needs as best I can, thank you.
3. “She should be taking a bottle by now.”
Um, why? If all concerned are happy with breastfeeding, why the hell should we mess with that? I have absolutely nothing against bottle feeding (I did it with my second) but I am happy breastfeeding. It’s working really well and I feel no need what-so-ever to introduce a bottle right now. Maybe I’ll ask your advice if I change my mind.
4. “Doesn’t she sleep through the night yet?”
5. “Can she breathe properly in that contraption?”
Referring, of course, to the baby wearing. Isobel loves to be in her wrap sling and I love to have her close to me. Do you honestly think I would do that if she couldn’t breathe? I know that there have been deeply tragic events linked to baby wearing but I also know how to do it safely. Here are some guidelines if you’re interested.
6. “Why don’t you try giving her a bit of baby rice before bed?”
Because she is only 14 weeks old. Because she doesn’t always hold her head up well. Because she doesn’t always sit up straight. Because she can’t make chewing motions with her mouth yet. Because she is only 14 weeks old.
7. “You won’t want to be using cloth nappies for much longer.”
Why not? She doesn’t have half as many poo explosions as she used to these days and I coped fine when she did. Why would I want to suddenly stop using cloth nappies?
8. “When are you having another one?”
Can I deal with this one first please?
9. “Why don’t you just let her cry it out?”
Oh no. I hate to hear this piece of advice. She is only 14 weeks old. Also, see number 2.
10. “It worked for me…”
Maybe it did. And that is exactly my point. What worked for your baby might not work for mine. And even if it might, it’s up to me to work it out. Yes, I appreciate advice and I think as parents we will never really know the ultimate answer to our dilemmas. But I also think that questioning the way one parent is bringing up a baby if it is different to the way you are doing it is just wrong. Unless a child is being neglected or ill-treated, its none of our business. We should respect that we are all just trying to do a good job in a difficult situation and there really is no right or wrong way to do that. Also, I HATE the phrase with the rods and the backs so just, you know… don’t say it.