Wednesday, November 13, 2013

You want some advice? Don't listen to "advice".

Fact: You will get more "advice" from complete strangers while being pregnant and in the first year of your babes life. More often than not, this advice is off the wall and not asked for at all.

I was that person that read every magazine, book, and article I came across. I figured the more I read, the more I would know, and the more I would be prepared. Then of course, I would have those random people come up to me and give me all the advice they had about raising their child. Finally, like most women (and men!) I just got sick of hearing everyone trying to tell me the best way to do things.

So, here is my advice. Don't listen to them. Why? Because your baby is exactly that, your baby. You and your partner are the only ones who will know your baby like no one else. You. Not the random person on the street, not the sales clerk who tells you those diapers don't work, no one. You will find out what you baby likes and doesn't like. What works and doesn't work. You'll figure it out.

Here are a few things that I got the most "advice" on:

Poop: You hear that babies "eat, sleep, and poop". You'll even hear that poop gets everywhere. Well, poop gets everywhere. I had no idea. You'll also cheer when your baby poops. You'll get excited. For poop! You'll wonder how one, small, little kid can make so much poop. My favorite experience was changing my daughter and she had poop in her hair. Yes, her hair. And on her shoulder. HOW? No idea. Still don't know. Poop. Get used to it now.

Sleep: "The best thing for a baby is to co-sleep", "co-sleeping is so dangerous!", "Your baby shouldn't even be in the same room as you." I could go on and on and on about all the advice I got about sleeping. Even my favorite "sleep when your baby sleeps". Well, guess what? If I slept when my baby slept nothing would get done. I'm lucky enough to work from home & be a stay at home mom. I have absolutely no idea how working moms have a clean house, laundry done, and dinner made. My hat is off to you women. Because more often than not my house is a mess, I have at least 2 loads of laundry to do, and I don't decide on dinner till around 4 PM. When my baby is sleeping I can actually get stuff done! As for sleeping at night, again, do what is best for you and your baby. I honestly said while pregnant that my baby would never sleep in the same bed as me. Night #1 baby was in bed with me. Yep, our first night home. And she stayed there until she was 8 months old. We even had not 1 but 2 different bassinets in our room. She didn't spend 1 night in either one. At 8 months we transitioned her into her crib in her nursery. Some nights she still ends up in our bed before the night is over. But that's okay.
My child is 11 months old and she still has not slept through the night. She did once. One time. I'm up to my eyeballs in "advice" about that. None of it worked. Nothing. We've tried crying it out, we've tried rocking her to sleep, we've tried it all. What works? Me getting up and nursing her back to sleep. I like my sleep too. And if me getting up to nurse her for 5 minutes at 2:30 am to get 3.5 more hours of sleep is what I need to do, then that's what I'm going to do. I can guarantee that is not going to work for everyone. And yes, I envy every single one of you who had a baby sleep through the night at 6 weeks.

Planning: You know those plans you have? Plans to be on time, plans to do anything? Throw them out. Yep. Throw them out. You will realize that this little precious miracle comes first. And that little baby has its own plans. More often then not, those plans will not go along with your plans. I hate being late. Huge pet peeve of mine is being late. I can honestly say I don't think I have been on-time to anything since having Hannah. And just when you think you'll be on-time for something, they'll poop, it'll go everywhere and you'll spend the next 30 minutes cleaning it up. Even your birthing plan. While it's great to know how you want things to go you have to understand that things don't always go the way you want them to, especially while in labor. Voice what you want to happen to your OB. Make sure they know. They'll help you make that happen as much as they can. But, things happen. Be flexible. It will make your life so much easier. Most things with a baby you just can't plan for.

Breastfeeding: I saved this one for last. Simply because this has to be the #1 topic when "advice" is given. And here is where thing's get tricky. Breastfeeding is hard. It is so incredibly hard. Not because the actual act of breastfeeding is hard. But because everyone will tell you how to do it. Your doctor, baby's doctor, lactation consultants, nurses. You name it, they'll try to tell you how to do it. How to fix it. How to make it better. Then you'll get the strangers advice. Oy vey! Not to mention all the press right now about mom's breastfeeding in public. Why don't you just make it harder!! If you want to breastfeed your baby, do it. Don't listen to all the advice unless you ask for it. I had to tell numerous people to leave my room when I was breastfeeding, including lactation consultants! It is a natural thing. Your baby will figure it out if you want to do it. If you don't, bottle feeding is great too. Your baby, your body, your choice. Don't stress about it. That will just make everything that much harder. My absolute favorite "advice" I got from a complete stranger was about breastfeeding. She told me my nipples would crack, they would bleed, and breastfeeding would hurt. She told me to slice a raw potato and put it in my bra between feedings. A freaking raw potato. I can't make this up. FYI my nipples never cracked, or bled, and once my milk was in it didn't "hurt" to breastfeed.

Parenting is the hardest, most rewarding job out there. I am by no means an "expert". I just can't stand all the advice that people feel entitled to give you. Don't listen. Smile (or tell them to go eff themselves) say thank you (or go away) and go about your day like nothing happened. That's my advice.