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Conflicting Advice New Parents Need To Hear

The Upside Of Conflicting Advice

conflicting advice

As a new parent conflicting advice can be a bit overwhelming. It can start from the hospital – every shift change a different midwife comes in with a different opinion about how exactly you should be doing everything.

There are times where conflicting advice might be about your baby’s health and safety, so try to lean towards whoever actually has some authority on the topic. For example if you’re confused about bedding and sleep safety refer to the Sids and Kids website. If your family doctor gives you advice about breastfeeding that doesn’t sound quite right, maybe go to a certified lactation consultant instead. For the big stuff it’s definitely worth seeking out an expert opinion.

However sometimes getting two (or more) different perspectives can be really helpful, and empower parents to make informed choices. Different approaches might work better for different parents – and babies. The hardest thing is trying to sort through all the contradictory advice and work out what sounds right to you.

Just remember at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide what is best for your baby and your family.

So here are the pieces of conflicting advice that I’d like all new parents to know.

You’ve got this – But it’s okay to ask for help.

You can do this, parenting is hard but you can handle it. Trust yourself, trust your instincts, listen to your gut. But it’s okay if you don’t know everything. It’s okay to ask for help, need advice, or seek a second opinion. You don’t have to do this all on your own. Nor do you need to be an oracle of parenting wisdom from day one. And it’s okay to not be okay.

What you’re doing is important – But what you do doesn’t matter

Right now everything you’re doing is just the most amazing, incredible, beautiful, special, awesome thing ever. You’re keeping a tiny human alive! Go you! But, just try to keep in mind that whether or not they followed their routine, what nappies you used, how much of a fussy eater they were are as toddler, how well designed their nursery was or how well you coped on any one particular day (or month) won’t actually make much difference five years from now. Everything that seems so big right now will likely fade away, so it’s okay to cut yourself a little slack.

Breastfeeding is awesome – But it’s okay if you can’t or or you don’t want to

Parents should be encouraged and supported to breastfeed. Every effort possible from hospitals, midwives, family, friends and the broader community should be made to help mums meet their own breastfeeding goals. But feeding is only one part of raising a child. It’s going to be okay if things don’t go to plan. Or if for whatever reason you simply don’t want to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is not the only way to grow a healthy, happy, thriving baby.

How you gave birth doesn’t matter – But how you feel about it does

You can be utterly grateful your baby was born healthy, and still feel horrible about their birth. And even a birth that looks great on paper can leave mothers feeling sad, disappointed – even traumatised. Whether you had a completely natural birth, or (like me) had every intervention possible, exactly how your baby was born doesn’t matter nearly so much as how you feel about. For you a c-section could have been an empowering, beautiful experience, and sometime else’s c-section couple have been traumatic. The procedure could be exactly the same, but it’s so important to respect how we all feel individually about our child’s birth.

Cherish This Time – But Also Hang In There

This time when they’re little really is so precious. They’re only ever this small once. And it really does go so fast. The years are short, but the days are long. And hard. And exhausting. It’s okay to wish it was over, and look forward to the future where they’ll be somewhat less dependent on you for their every need. It’s okay to just hang in there and not love every moment.

Was there any conflicting advice you were given that turned out to be helpful?

About Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central Australia. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. She has a background in early childhood education, but right now is content to be a stay at home mum. She is passionate about birthing rights, breastfeeding and mental health. She enjoys crafting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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Why our family is leaving Australia

I’ve written before about how my adverse childhood experiences have made me the person I am, the mother I am. Mothering in a foreign country, similar to my own but far from my origins, has been challenging in practical and financial ways.

21 comments

  1. Erica Louise

    Most advice in the first year is overwhelming and conflicting!

  2. Chrissie Davies

    It never stops! Everyone has advice for you all the way through raising your children. Some of it will be great & sons of it will not be right for your family! I am a big believer in making the decisions that best for Y O U R child!😀

  3. Nae An Col

    Even from nurses before we left the hospital I was getting conflicting advice about how to feed my babies :

  4. Christine Knight Thomas

    I found having a newborn so overwhelming too – I didn’t know who to listen to

  5. Amanda Nicholls

    I always just took it all and kept the bits I wanted to and ignored the bits I didn’t. 😊

  6. Dawn Rieniets

    Great Post! I literally started one today about older ladies who tell you to ‘enjoy it because it goes so fast’ It used to drive me crazy!

  7. Natasha Ferguson

    It never ends. A “hell yes” to all of your points!!

  8. Amy Ahearn

    This goes right through raising kids, I reckon, not just the baby stage!

  9. Kylie Travers

    Everyone means well, it can be overwhelming though. I thanked everyone, took on board what I wanted and ignored the rest.

  10. Justine Missen

    I imagine how I’d do things on a desert island, it’s hard to find your way when there’s so much advice!

  11. Magda J Mitchell

    So much advice! I just took on board the bits I wanted and figured it out as I went along

  12. Mim Jenkinson

    It was conflicting at every turn – Google is awash with so much ‘advice’ and I wish I’d trusted my own gut earlier on x

  13. Bron Maxabella

    OMG< I made myself INSANE with all the conflicting advice. Trouble is, you read too much and listen too much and you have NO IDEA what your gut is telling you. Your gut is AWOL. My poor kids!!

  14. Amanda Tudosa

    There is so much advice out there…and everyone seems to have different opinions on it, too!

  15. Bryony Sumner

    There’s advice everywhere! But every baby is so different it takes a few months to learn just to listen to close family and your little one to know what to do.

  16. Tory Warren

    I so hate ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ – should I also do laundry when the baby does laundry?

  17. Rebel Wylie

    It’s so. bloody. tough to navigate all the noise.

  18. Aleney de Winter

    I listened to noone. Sometimes my stubbornness pays off! 😉

  19. Lauren Elise Threadgate

    It’s so important to learn to let go of what isn’t right for you. Most stuff I filtered out, but I am grateful to have been told some things that I really needed to hear, if you know what I mea

  20. Leia Barrett

    Best: do what is best for you and your family.

    Worst: just put the baby in its cot and close the door even if they are screaming.

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