Never in my entire life have I been given as much unsolicited advice as I have now that I am a mother. It’s unbelievable. When I went off to college, when I got my first job, or when I was trying to get out of and/or save broken relationships, no one ever had any advice for me. It was just like, “oh good luck.” or “Go get ’em Tiger.” or “Eek, sucks to be you.” But noooo not when you have a baby. When you have a baby, suddenly everyone from strangers at Target who have never met you to your father-in-law’s uncle’s cousin twice removed who read it in a book in 1982, everyone seems to be an expert in how to raise children. But what’s amazing is how different the advice is from one person to the next. But nonetheless I must share with you my top five most annoying, or shall I say bullshit pieces of advice I have heard thus far.
- “Never Let your Baby Fall Asleep While Nursing.”
This piece of advice came from another blogger who said the reason her baby slept through the night was because “she learned early on how to fall asleep on her own without having to be nursed to sleep.” Well guess what. Liam almost always falls asleep after a nice breast feeding session. I mean, hello. It’s called “a milk coma” for a reason. And what, you want me to wake him up so he can have this wonderful learning opportunity? So he can “fall asleep on his own?” I don’t think so. Have you ever come home from the bars, fallen asleep on the couch at 3 am after eating an entire frozen pizza, and then your roommate/husband/whoever tries to wake you to get you to go to bed. You know who you are and you know what I am talking about. Don’t do that to a baby. Its just not cool dude.
2. “Never rock your baby to sleep. He needs to fall asleep on his own.”
This again goes back to the “they need to learn to fall asleep on their own.” And while part of me knows that is true, let me ask you this: have you ever rocked a baby to sleep?” Its the most wonderful, magical thing in the entire world. When he takes that final little sigh and lets his body sink into mine, its like rainbows come out, violins start playing, and all my worries go away. Why would I want to give that up? So that he can learn to sleep and I can get a full nights rest? Who cares, I can sleep when he is older. Because this moment is only going to be for a short time. I guarantee he won’t let me rock him to sleep when he is 13. So I will cherish this moment as much as I want and I will rock the heck out of him until he is fast asleep.
3. “Do not let your baby sleep in bed with you or else he will never learn to sleep in his own bed.”
This piece of advice has been given to me from almost everyone when they hear that Will, Liam, and I co-sleep. And yes I do acknowledge that there are some safety factors with co-sleeping, all of which we take very seriously. But co-sleeping has been such a blessing for us and for our situation. Liam never cries when he wakes. He instead will coo for me or even throw his arms over to touch me in the middle of the night if he wakes. And then without having to get up, find my glasses, turn on a light, or distrupt Will, I am able to rub his back to go back to sleep or pull him towards me to nurse. We love co-sleeping and I can say with 100% certainly that when he is ready he will learn to sleep in his own bed happily, And then later down the road he will finish high school, go to college, maybe get married, and find a cure for cancer. And he will not be one bit scarred by the fact that we shared a bed together when he was a baby.
4. “He needs to learn to cry it out.”
No thank you. I will not sit in the other room and act like everything is ok while my baby cries for me. I really have nothing left to say on this matter.
5. Make sure you make a routine and have your baby follow it every day.
This is just ridiculous. No one does the same thing every day. Some days we are ready for bed by 8pm and some days we go exploring and walking around downtown til 11pm. I want Liam to explore everything there is in the world, and if that means breaking a sleep schedule or skipping a nap here and there, its totally worth it.
In the end, Will and I have decided to always trust our gut. Or “mother’s intuition.” Whenever I am questioning anything when it comes to the baby, Will always asks me “well, are you happy” and “is the baby happy?” if I can answer yes and yes (which I can 99% of the time) then I am doing everything just the way I should be. So my one piece of parenting advice to new moms is “You do you.” Whatever feels right, is probably right. And you may not get a baby who sleeps all through the night but they are only this little for such a short time. Find the good in the bad and you will be thankful one day for this sleep deprived, crazy time in your life.
Here is little man smiling as he has just conquered his quest of rolling over from his back to his stomach. Oh the little things!