The Upside Of 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?