Thursday, May 26, 2011

Some Helpful Advice

It's pretty common knowledge that you shouldn't use your driver's license as a bookmark.  Especially not if the book happens to belong to the library or your next door neighbour.  You could forget about it and lose it.  Open yourself up to identity fraud right there in the classics section (who are we kidding, you were in sci-fi weren't you?)

You don't need me to tell you not to do it.  That's not helpful advice.

Some advice is great to receive, some isn't.  Some could be, but you just heard it on the wrong day.

Being new parents we get a lot of advice.  Sometimes I'm okay with it, but other times it just drives me crazy.  It's not so much that we're getting advice, or that people are so confident in their decisions that they are encouraging others to do the same.  It's more the fact that it's often contradictory - even if it comes from worthwhile sources.

For example:
You should always/never pick up your baby when they first cry.

They need you to know that you will always be there for them, so pick them up the moment they cry/You need to learn their different cries.

Sometimes babies need to just cry it out/Never let a baby cry it out.  They will feel alone and neglected./ Babies never cry.

Feed until your baby is finished on one side/ Feed until you are empty on one side/ Your baby only gets food for the first 10 minutes - the first four for most of their feed, so break the seal at 10 minutes.

Cloth diapers cause nappy rash/Disposable diapers cause nappy rash/Bad fairies cause nappy rash.

Burp a baby by patting his back, pressed up against your shoulder/ Never burp a baby by patting their back.  Rock them gently./ Don't burp a baby, just lay them down after a feed and if he cries out, pick him up and he will burp naturally.

Sleep is more important than housework./ It's a good idea to do chores as they come and not let them build up./ Convince passing strangers to do the housework by giving them candy.

Your routine should be in place from week 2./ You can't expect to have a routine before three months./ Routines change often, adapt and survive./ The baby will have you trained before he's one./ You should have a routine firmly in hand before the child goes to university.

Always rock or comfort your baby to sleep./ Let your child learn to put himself to sleep, laying him in his cot when he looks tired./ Always wear your child so they continue the womb experience.

Co-sleeping is a good way to bond with your child/ Children should always sleep in their own cot and never anywhere else/ Let sleeping babies lie wherever they're already lying.

Baby poop smells like sunshine/ popcorn/ sweet bread/ a torchlit sewer when baby is healthy.

And then there's the whole shebang about how long to play with baby for, when overtired happens and what to do with an overtired baby.  I went to the library yesterday to get a book to get a better feel for all that's happening.  Not all the answers, just milestones.  I probably have a pamphlet on them, but gah! to the pamphlets.  This, of course, was a silly thing to do.  These books are full of contradictory information as well.  Handily, as I entered the library, my son woke up and would not settle, so my harried two  minutes in the parenting section (in front of a group of toddlers and moms who were all playing nicely and - I'm sure- judging/pitying/thinking those were the days at me) basically consisted of grabbing two books that were brightly coloured.  Not just the tots that get swung by neon.  Or maybe that's just the 80s baby coming out in me.

So it was with great chagrin, when I got home, that I realized that the one book was not prose, but a compilation of contradictory anecodatal moments, complete with alwayses, nevers, shoulds and imbedded with stern looks/sighs of disbelief/contented glances/encouraging statements.

Take it from me, sorting out the "crap"/"expert" advice is almost the hardest part of childrearing.


  1. Yup. As Kelly and I learned early on, do your own thing, listen to advice, and do what makes most sense to you.

  2. Here's a piece of advice for you (teehee): always take advice with a grain of salt.

    Many times I smile and nod, or say "thanks for the info" or "good to know" and continue in the method I had already chosen. We have no routines and things change always. Life always seems to get in the way of everything else. The only good advice is: Love your children; love your husband; love God. God never gives you more than you can handle, so if you feel you can't handle it, let Him know.

    Love ya! Hugs to the Mommy, Daddy and Baby!

  3. I can't speak to the parenthood aspect of advice giving/getting, but I've found that the key to advice is listening. Being aware of the life lessons others have learned help us make our own decisions better. If we aren't making knowledgeable decisions, what exactly are we doing? Guessing?! Besides, all the advice in the world doesn't account for the instincts that God has given you. Ask him for the answers, and they are not contradictory, they are exactly what you need when you need them.

    God bless your endeavours, Beck! I really enjoy seeing your updates as you venture deeper and deeper into parenthood.


  4. Those evil bad fairies. You should outlaw them. That's right, none to join you to put tangles in your hair (or any little girl in the house), none to cause diaper rash.
    Do many strangers accept the candy you offer them in exchange for house cleaning? (Note to self, beware of proffered candy)

  5. I'm with Naomi...have any strangers actually taken up the offer for the candy! :)
    People like giving advice don't they...I noticed it when we first got married...but about marriage not babies! ;) x
    ...oh and about the flights...we did ask at every counter to be moved...that was the problem we asked and they DIDN'T oblige!

  6. mmm... sunshine and popcorn...

    I read a great quote the other day (Mother T, bless her) "I know God will not give me more anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much." Just incase you were feeling overwhelmed - so did she, at it was ok. xx