Sort it out!

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Many many things have annoyed the hell out of me since becoming a parent, but none more so than the seemingly unlimited amount of conflicting advice… I’m sorry but, to put it bluntly, how the fuck do people still not know what to do when it comes to raising a child?! No wonder new parents are so confused with all the contradictory bullshit advice flying around! How are we supposed to separate the facts from the fiction?

I’ve compiled a list of the best I’ve heard so far; these “tips”, “guidelines”, “brain space stealers”, whatever you want to call them, have all come from health professionals, baby books and other parents. I’m sure you’ve heard more than your fair share of these (not going to lie, did have a giggle whilst writing these out!):

“Do not encourage your child to have a dummy unless they need one. Babies do not need dummies but some like them.”
“Dummies help settle babies with colic but can cause painful trapped wind as they encourage babies to swallow air.”
“Dummies are generally covered in germs, and can pass bacteria to your child.”
“Studies show children who use dummies have stronger immune systems due to exposure to germs at a young age.”
“Using a dummy may help prevent SIDS, so encourage your child to use one.”
“Wean your child off the dummy by 6 months or at the very least a year.”
“A child should not be using a dummy by 2 years old.”
“A child should not have a dummy after 4 years of age as this will effect their speech development.”

“Do not rock your child to sleep, this is a bad sleep association that you do not want your child to rely on, however, if you’re child is struggling to fall asleep rocking will help them drift off.”

“You should not shush your child to sleep, but shushing will comfort your child and help them fall to sleep.”

“Co sleeping is a great way to bond but don’t do it because you will probably smother your child.”
“Co sleeping is the most effective way to get your child to sleep but it will form bad sleep associations.”
“Co sleeping can cause your child to become overheated which can lead to SIDS. ”
“Co sleeping encourages skin to skin contact which helps regulate your baby’s temperature.”

“Make sure your baby never gets cold, but do not let them get too hot either as overheating is life threatening.”

“Solids can be introduced from 4 months.”
“Most babies are ready for solids between 4 and 6 months.”
“You must wait until your child is 6 months before you wean them but do not wait until they are over 6 months as their iron supply starts to deplete which can be life threatening.”
“A babies digestive system is not ready for solid food until they reach 6 months, however, if your baby seems hungry and is not satisfied by milk alone then it may be safe to wean them earlier.”

“Solids will help your baby sleep through the night.”
“Solids have no effect on how long your baby will sleep through the night.”
“After introducing solids you may find your baby start to wake through the night as their systems adjust.”
“Always follow the guidelines when weaning.”
“Trust your instincts when weaning your child instead of following the book religiously.”

“It is good to get your baby into a routine early on but they can be hard to stick to and make it difficult for you to leave your home.”

“It’s a good idea to bathe your baby every night to help them get into a routine.”
“Babies do not need to be bathed every night.”
“Babies should be bathed 3 times a week.”

“Babies love to be massaged and this is a great way to bond with your baby, however, if they are tiered, hungry or have wind they may find massage uncomfortable or overstimulating and cry, which can be upsetting for both mother and child.”

“If your baby inhales talcum powder it will settle on their lungs and cause severe breathing difficulties.”
“Talcum powder will help ensures your child is dry in all their creases.”

“Put your baby to sleep on their backs with their feet at the foot of the cot unless your baby has acid reflux then they will probably be more comfortable on their front.”
“Do not put toys in the cot, they will distract your baby and they will struggle to fall asleep.”
“Putting toys in your babies cot will make the baby more eager to go in the cot.”
“If your baby wakes regularly in the night, put toys in the cot to entertain your baby when he or she wakes.”
“Do not put anything else in the cot with your baby as items can smoother your child in the night.”

“Do not over cuddle your baby.”
“You can not spoil a baby so cuddle them frequently.”

“Do not let your baby cry, this can cause abandonment issues, however do not go to your baby as soon as they cry as this will lead your child to believe crying gets your attention.”
“The crying out method can be cruel, damaging and heartbreaking for both the parents and child but it is the most effective form of sleep training, so if you’re baby doesn’t sleep, it may be time to try it.”
“All babies cry, this is normal behaviour.”
“Babies should not cry a lot. If your baby cries frequently go to your GP.”
“Babies cry frequently, especially in the first 3 months, so do not be alarmed when your baby cries.”

“It’s a good idea to provide your baby with a comforter when they sleep however leaving a comforter in the cot can be a suffocation risk.”

“Baby’s should sleep in same room as you for all sleeps during the first 6 months to reduce risk of SIDS but it is a good idea to get the baby used to sleeping in their own room as soon as possible.”

“Baby’s should be put to sleep in total silence in a room with black out blinds.”
“Make noise around your child when they sleep so they get used to sleeping in noise.”

“Never wake a sleeping child.”
“Do not let your baby go longer than 4 hours without a feed, if necessary wake your child for a feed.” (Both said to me by midwives the day my daughter was born)

“Allowing your baby to nap too long during the day can mean they will not sleep well at night, so be sure to wake them frequently during the day. However, if your baby does not settle well at night it could be because your baby has not had a long enough day time nap and is overtired. To avoid this, increase your child’s day time nap time.”

“Swaddling makes a baby feel secure and warm and is an effective way to help a baby to sleep. Make sure the swaddle is tight but not restricting and ensure your baby does not over heat.”

“During the first 12 weeks you should not let your child go longer than 4 hours without a feed as they could dehydrate.”
“By 8 weeks, some babies are capable of going a 6 or 7 hour stretch of sleep without waking for a feed.”

“Encourage your baby to spend time on their tummy every day, this helps strengthen the neck muscles and avoids flat head syndrome. Your baby will not like this and will probably cry.”

“Take your baby to be weighed regularly. Your baby’s weight should stay within the same centile but may fluctuate between 2 centiles. If this happens do not worry.”
“Your baby’s weight should not drop below 2 centiles, if it does see your GP.”
“Your baby’s weight will fluctuate regularly in the first year, do not worry about this.”

“You should not use calpol until your baby reaches 12 weeks but it is wise to give your baby a dose of calpol after they’re 8 week injections to help calm a temperature.” (From an actual nurse)

And with all that to consider please also don’t forget…

“Avoid being stressed around your baby as they will pick on this and it will stress them out too.”

But what is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best parenting advice I’ve been given?

“Ignore what everyone tells you, do what you think is best”

Amen to that sister. Amen to that!

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