People are usually well intended, and family and friends usually would like to help out, but sometimes the advice that they give are far from adequate. And if it’s your first baby then every one jumps in to a conclusion that you’re totally lost and you need advice. Even if you don’t ask for any, you’ll get it anyway :).
I didn’t ask for it, most of the time. I didn’t have to, because my Polish mom would give me advices before I even had the time to think :). But her solutions where mostly good, unlike my childless friends (also very well intended, I’m sure).
So well intentioned aunts, cousins and childless friends started giving me all sorts of advices, some good and some really, really bad. There where also total strangers approaching me at the groceries and sharing some of these parenting advices with me. Also nurses, who admitted that they never had any psychology classes, but they still suggested the following.
Here is my top 5 of the worst baby advice that I received :
1.Your baby is manipulating you.
Especially older generation sees babies as these sneaky manipulative creatures that would do anything to spend a night in a parents bed.
2. Let your baby cry it out ( because it’s only manipulation, right ?)
Surprisingly, this advice comes equally from older generation as childless people. Since babies can’t talk, they cry, but surly only to manipulate you, to be taken in your arms (and then it to your bed !) so it’s better to just ignore as long as you can (assuming baby was fed and changed).
3. You should detach yourself from your baby!
Co sleeping, nursing and baby wearing at 6 months? Your kid will never move out and will be totally dependant!
4. You need to buy everything before you give birth.
Nursing pillows, breast pomps, educative toys , sleeping blankets, bath accessories and car toys.
5. You should stop nursing when your baby starts having teeth.
Otherwise your baby will bite you! And you’ll bleed !
So guess what ? Babies don’t manipulate , they communicate. Being close and cuddled is essential for babies brain development.
If a baby cries a lot, without being calmed by anyone, than he’s body is producing cortisol, the stress hormone. High levels of stress hormone are correlated with anxiety and numerous illness. You can read more about effects of the cry-it-out here.
Being close and attached in early years gives kids strength and good self esteem so they can get independent and fearless as adults.
You don’t need all that baby gear. Some of these products you might never use. I never used a breast pump with my second one, or a nursing pillow, and I used a baby bath twice.
Yes, a baby with teeth might bite you by accident, but after your strong reaction, they most likely won’t do it again. Babies also scratch, hit and kick, and they might also throw up on you. These are all normal work hazards of a caregiver ;).
That being said, I understand that we all might have different parenting approaches, but there are some things that are beyond any approach. Ignorance of basic human needs, like feeling safe and being taken care of ( in the cry it out advice) is just beyond any parenting approach. The saddest part is that this was one of the advices I got from a nurse..