Once you become pregnant, you will have a plethora of women (and men) who seem to know it all when it comes to babies. Some of the info people give you will be beneficial and useful — but don’t assume everything you hear is the end-all-be-all for how you need to do things as a mom. Here is some of the advice I was given that I chose to ignore — and it worked out well for me.
1. “Potty train them in three days.” This approach didn’t make sense for us. We never pushed potty training on our boys. Instead, we introduced them to their potty seats when they were about two and had dance parties any time they used them. It took a few months for them to be perfectly potty trained (Bentley is three and still wears a pull-up at night). It’s a process, but they’ll get it. Don’t feel pressured to do it too quickly or too early.
2. “Tough moms don’t need epidurals.” There are a lot of women out there who are against epidurals and they are more than entitled to that opinion. However, I couldn’t stand the pain of contractions, so I got an epidural with both of my labors and had such a pleasant experience each time. It doesn’t make you less brave if you get one. To each their own.
3. “Leave your baby with a sitter for date night.” One of the most beautiful parts of my marriage was becoming a parent with Chris. He absolutely adored our boys and we wanted to celebrate being parents by keeping our babies with us almost all of the time. When they got older, we did leave them with their grandparents for a few hours so we could at least get a little alone time, but up until they were one, we took them on all of our dates. We really enjoyed the time with them, even when it was during a date.
4. “Wake up before your kids do so you can have some time to yourself.” Ummmmm no! I need all the sleep I can get. I will let the sound of my child waking up be what wakes me up forever. I am not much of a morning person, so I would much rather stay up late after my baby goes to bed than wake up early.
5. “Let your baby cry himself to sleep.” I know this works for some parents (they call it the self-soothe method) but this was NOT for me. I’m too sensitive, I guess. I always rocked my boys to sleep or laid next to them until they fell asleep. I still lay by them at night in their bed and scratch their backs until they drift off.
6. “You’ll be torturing yourself if you road-trip with a baby.” No way! I love road trips and much prefer them over flying. You can find places to stop along the way, like rest stops with playgrounds or restaurants with play areas. And you can pull over whenever you need to.
7. “Let your child go naked if they have diaper rash.” First off, if they aren’t potty training and you let a mobile baby be naked during the day, then you are braver than I am. I discovered early on that buying cheaper diapers made my boys break out in really bad diaper rashes. I don’t think the off-brand diapers breathe well, so we switched brands and made sure to lather them in baby ointment and diaper cream, which cleared it up really quickly. Also, using non-irritating baby wipes helps too.
8. “You’ll know if your baby is tired or hungry based by how he is crying.” I didn’t “learn my baby’s cry” for at least a year or so and felt like a total failure as a mom who couldn’t figure out why her baby was crying. This is a learned skill and not something that comes with the birth of your baby. Now that my boys are toddlers, I can definitely tell the difference in a fake cry and a pain cry, but it took me years to get that down. No pressure.
9. “Just do more sit-ups. That will get rid of your belly after the baby.” First off, if someone caught me on a day where I didn’t sleep much the night before, they might get punched for saying something like that to me. Just kidding. But how irritating right? I was told this by a friend of mine who worked out a lot and was born with a flat stomach, thanks to her genes. I’ve NEVER had a flat stomach, so all the sit-ups in the world wouldn’t give me one. Cardio would help, but I’m built how I’m built — and I earned this body by growing tiny humans inside of me.
10. “If your baby pulls on his ear, he definitely has an ear infection.” I do realize that sometimes this IS an indication of your child’s ear hurting, but KJ loved the feeling of touching his own ears when he was a baby. He was constantly rubbing them as he fell asleep, and it took a lot of convincing for people to actually believe me when I told them they doctor repeatedly has told me his ears are fine. Still to this day he rubs his ears when he gets really tired. It’s adorable.
Just remember: Be kind when people offer advice. Most of the time, they are just trying to help. But when it comes down to it, you will know what’s best, either through intuition or trial and error. And that’s okay. No parent is perfect — not even the ones with a book full of unsolicited advice.