This is post is for Colin from Super Parents. He did a call out earlier in the week for people to share their stupidest parenting advice. As a mother of 4 and someone that spends a lot of my professional life talking to mothers, I figured I had a whole post full. Mine are all little baby related because my new baby has inspired people to start throwing these ‘pearls of wisdom’ at me all over again.
I feel I need to say this is not to judge those that have followed the advice below. I’m not saying you’re stupid for following. I’m saying the advice is stupid. K?
- Give him formula to help him sleep better- Formula may help a baby stay fuller longer and that may translate to longer periods of sleep with some babies, but it can upset the delicate balance of the breastfeeding relationship and upset babies tummy making sleep even more elusive for some mothers and babies. No…while I believe formula has its place , it’s not an answer to sleep issues.
- Follow an eat, play, sleep routine- Routine and me don’t mix full stop. Aside from that, I believe in being responsive to a babies needs as they present themselves. This means I feed when baby is hungry, help him to sleep when he is tired and play with him in between. I also change him when his nappy needs changing, not when a routine dictates. I tried with my first baby to follow this, I really did… but I found it drove us both batty. I’d spend the whole day feeling inadequate or worried because my baby wasn’t doing ‘it’. Stressed mother=stressed baby=stressed mother etc..
- He’s a big boy, he needs food- By food this person means solids and by a big boy, they meant my chubby breastfed 4 month old. Surely if my milk was so inadequate that I needed to go against the WHO recommendation to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months, he wouldn’t look like the Marshmallow Man from Ghost Busters.
- Let him cry to sleep, he’ll never learn if you don’t let him- I’m not going to write a post about the perils of crying it out methods. I’m not a fan and neither are most experts in child development. There’s plenty of evidence against it. Ask if you need me to point to you to some.
- It’s hot, he needs some water- No, it hot, he needs extra breastfeeds. Babies under 6 months of age, do not need water. They need parents who watch for their cues and respond to their needs. If a mother is breastfeeding according to need and not according to the clock or where it fits in the routine, she will provide plenty of the best rehydration fluid available to baby.
I’ve had to write this pretty quickly, I could write pages on each of the topics and could add plenty more. I’m sure you can too, so share… What’s the worst parenting advice you’ve received?
Don’t forget to read Colin’s collection of parenting gems 🙂