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Sleep When the Baby Sleeps and Other Ridiculous Advice

Sleep when the baby sleeps??

I’m pregnant with baby #2 now but one of my funniest memories of being pregnant and a new mum first time round was definitely the pregnancy and parenting advice you’re given from other people.  I say ‘other people’ rather than other mothers as I quickly learned there are no limits as to who feels qualified to tell you how to deal with all aspects of your pregnancy and impending motherhood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I listen to everyone’s opinion and welcome others’ advice whether solicited or not as long as it isn’t too pushy.  I listen, consider it and then make my own decision on what to actually do.  However some of the pearls of wisdom I’ve had over the past couple of years has been plain ridiculous so I thought I’d recap on a few of the best of them:

1.  “You have to give birth exactly the same way I did.”

This was from 2 women I worked with at the time.  Now I loved (and still love) hearing other women’s birth stories, good and bad but for an hour these women gave me every last detail of how they laboured, took no drugs, what position they gave birth in and every last detail in between then pretty much made me promise that I would do exactly the same as them and consider no other option.  I stupidly mentioned, in an attempt to keep an open mind, that for all I know I might have to have a c section so I wanted to prepare for all eventualities – this only prompted them to rave for another hour about how selfish I was for even considering that it might be an option and how I was putting myself before the baby.  Good Lord.  I did not engage them in any further discussions on pregnancy or parenthood.

2.  “Don’t ever let your baby sleep through the night – they will die of dehydration.”

Yes, an actual mother told my husband this one when Miss M was 4 month’s old.  They were recalling the first few months of our babies lives and how they didn’t seem to sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time as a newborn.  She asked him how much Miss M slept at night now and he told her she’d recently started sleeping 10-12 hours and how grateful we were.  At this point she turned an angry red and went silent but later told him that we shouldn’t allow that to happen ever again as Miss M would die silently in the night from dehydration, that she wouldn’t cry but we would just find her dead the next day.  Seriously.  SERIOUSLY.

3.  “You must stay in bed and breastfeed for 1 full day and night, once a week.”

Yes you guessed it, the same lady as before.  Apparently it is imperative (according to her mother) in establishing and maintaining your milk supply that you spend a full 24 hour period once a week for the first 6 months of your baby’s life in staying in bed with her and breastfeeding continuously.  Unless they’re sleeping.  I’m not sure when you get to sleep yourself, maybe you don’t.  I’m assuming bathroom breaks are permitted.  Perhaps you have to continue to feed whilst peeing.  Now I’m all for feeding on demand but um, staying in bed for 1 full day a week?  Put your hand up if you had the opportunity to do that as a new mum.  I see no hands.  None.

4.  “Isn’t your mummy feeding you enough?”

One of the best ways to make a new mother’s blood boil and seems to be a favourite quip from, let’s say, the older ladies who think that they know better than you on how to raise your baby simply because they had theirs before you.  Decades ago.  Yes of COURSE I am feeding my baby enough.  Apart from the fact I love my newborn inside and out, I’m quite aware that she is being fed often because she is stuck to my chest 75% of each day.  Or more.  Nom nom nom.  So really there is no need to make an already nervous and paranoid new mum question her actions any more than she already does.  Button it.

5.  “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”

An oldie but a goodie.  I love this one though, what a beautiful concept of putting your baby down for a nice long sleep then drifting off yourself in a peaceful slumber until the baby gently rouses you after a few hours when it’s done napping.  Um, no.  This was not how things played out in my house.  Instead, Miss M would breastfeed on demand for 1 hour on each side.  It would take me 30 minutes to transfer her (by rocking, walking, singing and dancing) to her cot and then I’d collapse on my bed and pass out, only to be woken by a screaming Miss M 10 minutes later.  Actually when I think about it, I was probably unconsciously following the advice from No. 3 by continuously feeding all day and night anyway.  Except I still had supply issues.  And no sleep.  Sleep when the baby sleeps?  Oh just shut up.

What was the most ridiculous advice you were given in pregnancy or as a parent?  Share the stupidity!

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  1. Cathy (MummyTravels)
    / 10:02 pm

    I cannot believe no 2! Who would say such a thing… And I definitely got, sleep when the baby sleeps, a lot. Plus an awful lot of well-meaning but very unhelpful advice on breastfeeding…

    • / 2:19 pm

      Oh I know exactly what you mean – I particularly loved the breastfeeding advice from non-parents! x

  2. Fernanda Heaston
    / 1:13 pm

    Hi everyone, I’m a new mother and I’m trying to get my five month baby to sleep longer during night. At the moment I am fortunate to have three hours rest per night. Bless

  3. / 4:42 pm

    Oh my goodness, these are SO painfully reminiscent of my early years. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was the one I found most laughable. Um, I have twins, so which baby’s sleep patterns should I mimic while neglecting the other? Or should I just sleep the 20 minutes a day that they’re both asleep… which happens to be while I’m at work?

    I got especially hot under the collar when people who had no understanding about prematurity tried to give me advice about how I shouldn’t take my daughters’ early birth into account.

    My mum was the worst. She insisted that everything about how I was feeding my babies was wrong. She was appalled that I was introducing foods slowly to minimize the risk of food allergies and to be able to identify any that might arise. “I fed you all this stuff and nothing happened,” said the same woman who told me that she would have had an abortion had she known how severe my food allergies would be. WHAT?

    Wow. I was angrier than I realized. Oops.

    This is a GREAT post. #TwinklyTuesday

    • / 4:50 am

      Oh thank you – so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  4. Mrs H
    / 7:30 pm

    Brilliant post lovely. I was once told that I was a lazy mum because I was in a coffee shop with a napping Little Miss in her pram. Apparently, I should have taken her out and risked waking her up. I also was recently out with a friend and got told, very rudely, to shut our children up because children should “be seen and not heard in a public place.” I was fuming. #TwinklyTuesday Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • / 8:54 pm

      Thanks lady! OMG what is wrong with people??

  5. Caro | The Twinkles Momma
    / 3:35 pm

    These kind of ‘well meaning’ snippets of advice really make me laugh!!!

    At least I had the comeback of ‘have you got twins then?’ — that works wonders — unless, of course, they did! Then generally I was desperate for any advice and tips they had for me! :)

    Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday x

    Caro |

    • / 8:54 pm

      Ha ha I need to think of funny come back lines too! :)

  6. Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks
    / 3:09 pm

    Oh sleep when the baby sleeps……doesn’t work when you are frantically pushing a pram around hoping like hell they close their eyes…..and we are headed back to these days?!x

    • / 8:54 pm

      Ha ha I know right!! :)

  7. Spidermummy
    / 1:48 pm

    Oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to reel off the advice that women tell me they’ve been given for pregnancy & parenting. There are some crazy ass advice givers out there. Anyway, for me it was ‘do you think she might be hungry?’ by ‘helpful’ old ladies in the supermarket when #3 was screaming her chops off. This child would have stayed attached to the boob 24/7 if I’d let her, and going to the supermarket is sadly slightly essential sometimes so she just had to scream for the 15 mins that I raced around Dale Winton style once a week. Man it annoys me now just thinking about it!!!!!!

    • / 8:53 pm

      People just can’t help themselves can they! :) :)

  8. Rachel Hirst (Umeandthekids)
    / 2:57 pm

    Don’t get me started on advice from Mums and Grandmas who know so much more than you, or they think they do anyway! Thanks for linking up to this weeks #RetroBlogPosts

    • / 8:52 pm

      Ah some can’t help themselves! :)

  9. Rosie @Eco-Gites of Lenault
    / 8:57 pm

    “Sleep when Baby Sleeps” – oh yes – so that would be driving then? Not very good advice methinks!

    • / 6:53 pm

      Ha ha – they can’t help but say it can they!

  10. Lisa (mummascribbles)
    / 8:35 pm

    Fab post! The sleep when baby sleeps is always one that peed me off! Mainly because he would only sleep on me so I couldn’t! And he fed every two hours! People always think they are helping but quite often they really aren’t! It happens at every stage though doesn’t it. There’s always someone wishing to share their knowledge! Thanks for linking up to #twinklytuesday

    • / 6:53 pm

      Thanks lovely! Miss M was exactly the same, I would have loved to sleep when she was but I couldn’t risk her getting smothered by me argh!!

  11. Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy
    / 8:19 pm

    A great post but what ridiculous advice!! As if we don’t have enough on our plates as a new mum x

    • / 6:52 pm

      I know, right! Some people can’t help themselves :)

  12. 3 Princesses and 1 Dude
    / 4:48 am

    Oh my god! I want to be able to specifically say “I can’t believe someone said number BLAH” but they are all as shockingly stupid as the other!

    • mamamim blog
      / 12:04 pm

      They really are – people have very very strange opinions! :)

  13. / 10:56 am

    OMG I laughed out loud and nodded frantically in agreement reading this! I have had 4 babies and each time the ‘advice’ has got more ridiculous! My motto became ignore 95% of the ‘advice’ and make it up as you go along.

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:48 pm

      People can’t help themselves can they! I’ll be documenting them all this time for Post Part 2 ha ha! I like your motto :)

  14. Dave H
    / 8:24 pm

    We soon learnt to just smile and nod when people started giving us advice about pregnancy and birth. It’s great that people want to share, but there is so much info out there that you end up getting confused and feeling like you’ve done something wrong. I can’t think of any ridiculous advice we got, but it sounds like you got plenty for the both of us :)

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:49 pm

      You have to smile and nod don’t you or you could literally go mad! Yes I think I got more than the average – at least I can laugh about it now ha ha! :)

  15. you baby me mummy
    / 5:22 pm

    Thanks for linking this up again huni, great post #TheList x

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:48 pm

      Thanks Aby! :)

  16. you baby me mummy
    / 6:40 pm

    Fab post, as a parent you are prime target for a barrage of stupid advice. It can be really difficult to cope with, especially as a first time parent. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

    • mamamim blog
      / 6:59 pm

      Thanks so much :) So true – I’m so much more ready for ’em second time round – I dare anyone to criticise my parenting technique when I’m sleep deprived lol :)

  17. newcastle familylife
    / 10:45 pm

    oh my gosh i can not believe that someone said number two to you! that is crazy. x #TheList

    • mamamim blog
      / 6:57 pm

      I still can’t quite believe it too! She was a lovely lady….until that point! :)

    / 10:42 am

    So much of this is advice from a bygone age, when people routinely left babies in prams sleeping on the doorstep in all weathers. A lot of older people don’t seem to realise that what was taken as the way to do things back then goes completely against modern parenting methods and advice, but they don’t seem to recognise that (a) times move, and we move with them and (b) there’s no one right way to do things anyway.

    The crying = hungry thing is, as others have said, completely ridiculous. And hilarious too, as I’ve had times when someone shoved their face into my baby’s, caused them to cry and then made some back-handed comment that implied I was doing something wrong. I never did it, but there was a huge temptation to turn around to them and say, “So how would you like it if I just shoved my face into yours without asking and slagged off your mother/father?” Maybe I should have done it … :-)

    • mamamim blog
      / 6:56 pm

      That’s so so true – it just isn’t the same these days but it’s very hard telling an older person that without offending them of course. Not that some of them mind offending new mums :) I’m so much more confident this time round – I’m ready for them :) :)

  19. Catherine
    / 9:13 am

    Sleep when your baby sleeps is the most ridiculous advice when you have a baby who will only sleep when you push them around in a pram!

    • mamamim blog
      / 6:55 pm

      I remember those days well – yes, you can hardly sleep walk! That said, I think I must have been sometimes, it was such a daze :)

  20. Blogging Mamma
    / 10:11 pm

    Something quite similar to four that always annoys me, is when your baby is crying for whatever reason (but usually because they are tired but won’t sleep may I add) and people say regardless of the reason for the tears, and regardless of what you are doing to comfort the child or solve the issue “oh whats mummy doing to you?”… Because undermining their mother who’s a new mum and already feeling insecure is a sure fire way to stop the tears? Shut up! Lol!

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:13 pm

      Oh I hate that too!!! “what’s your mummy done to you?!” Honestly it makes me want to make that person cry lol!

  21. Honest Mum
    / 2:30 pm

    Bahah so true, back seat parenting drivers I call them and the best thing to do is block out the noise and go with your gut. Mum knows best. Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:59 pm

      That’s exactly what they are – spot on! They can’t help themselves :) You’re right, I’m especially more confident second time round in trusting my gut.

  22. Mrs H
    / 12:51 am

    Ha ha! This post is brilliant. I can’t believe you were told half this stuff. I was told that it wasn’t natural for children to sleep through the night until they are at school. WTF? just put the fear of God into me. But my favourite was about the fact that I was exclusively feeding Little Miss H expressed breast milk. A breast feeding expert at the hospital told me that I should be expressing at least five or six times at night after feeds. So, I’m not allowed to sleep at all then. Cheers. That’ll be good for my emotional, physical and mental well being! Thanks so much for linking this fab post to last week’s #SundaysStars. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:58 pm

      Thanks Mrs H!! I still can’t believe it either – I’m ready for them second time round ha ha! :) Expressing 5-6 times at night – honestly WHO does that?? Someone who clearly isn’t sleeping when the baby sleeps ;)

  23. Natalie Mudd
    / 6:54 pm

    Great post! You’d really think that some women would be more supportive of each other. I love all of the outdated advice that comes from the previous generation ‘we never did it like that’, ‘that’s a load of rubbish’ blah blah blah. But equally, I’ve found that some of today’s midwives are equally unhelpful in their extremely regimented ways. I’m quickly learning that everyone thinks they know best – and I haven’t even given birth yet! Oh the joys to come… :)

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:56 pm

      It’s such a shame when women don’t support each other – you’d think other mothers would particularly be better :)

  24. Jenny Ripatti-Taylor
    / 9:13 pm

    Fantastic post. I could relate so much and probably add a few hundred to your list too. People love to tell you and judge you and it always makes me think why? They are moms don’t they remember what it feels like on the other side. Can believe she told you your baby would die. Idiot! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me Happy Holidays! #sharewithme

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:55 pm

      Thanks Jenny and you’re so right – the constant barrage of idiotic ‘advice’ argh! :)

  25. Ann Winters
    / 10:16 pm

    Great post! I had some pretty idiotic advice, but I just let it go… But the question that kept me on edge was the feeding one… I was really worrying about breastfeeding, and some mums/people just kept me asking that….

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:54 pm

      Me too Ann – I had a low supply and was paranoid enough, the constant ‘is she hungry?’ really didn’t help :(

  26. diary of a midlife mummy
    / 1:59 pm

    OMG! what the flipping heck is “You must stay in bed and breastfeed for 1 full day and night, once a week.”!!!!!! I am flabbergasted that this is even ‘a thing’!! I never knew! Fab post- and totally true – although I must say – I would still say to sleep hen baby does – if that’s something you can do, but yes, I agree that it’s near on impossible!! Hahaha. Thanks so much for linking up to #SundayStars

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:53 pm

      I know – and I don’t even think she did it herself, she just felt the need to advise me to do it!! :)

    / 12:18 pm

    Brilliant and so true. I hate the ‘they must be tired’ if they are crying and if they cry when you put them down you get ‘they’re not tired’ grrrrr!

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:52 pm

      I KNOW! Ah glad it isn’t just me – someone ALWAYS has something to say don’t they! :)

  28. cuddles & muddles & muddy puddles
    / 8:30 pm

    Yes, sleep when the baby sleeps has got to be the most universally ridiculous pieces of advice. That lady at your husband’s work sounds just lovely – eek. My best one this time for establishing feeding was to go upstairs with the baby and lie in bed skin on skin until the feeding just happened. It sounded great but I dread to think what my 3 year old would have been getting up to if I left her to her own devices for hours each day!! #mmwbh

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:51 pm

      It’s so silly but so often said! I sleep badly at night time, let alone in the day! :)

  29. Sara Murray
    / 5:54 pm

    Number two actually made me want to go and shout at the woman, what an awful and ridiculous thing to say!! Sleep when your baby sleeps allays made me laugh, I mean seriously, having a hot cup of tea and clearing up some of the chaos would always make me feel a lot better! #Brilliantblogposts

    • mamamim blog
      / 2:49 pm

      Ha ha – some people are just plain crazy aren’t they! :)

  30. Coombe Mill
    / 9:20 pm

    This is great I can’t remember all of the silly tips I was given but the sleep when the baby sleeps doesn’t work when you’ve got triplets! I can’t believe the woman that thought that the baby would die of dehydration, what a silly concept! Popping over from Share with Me.

    • mamamim blog
      / 9:01 am

      My word, triplets!!! You must have your hands VERY full, well done!! :)

  31. Lucy Blossom
    / 5:12 pm

    I can’t believe some of the things you were told! People seem to take someone being pregnant/with a new baby as an excuse to touch you and your child. The worst thing I was told, by a doctor when I was on the maternity ward, was that I was damaging my baby by not breastfeeding – she had no idea that the reasons I wasn’t breastfeeding were to benefit both of us (I need a lot of meds for a joint disorder and I couldn’t have them if I was breastfeeding) I was so cross with her that I told her exactly what I thought. – she was a little sheepish after that!

    • mamamim blog
      / 9:00 am

      So true – honestly I wouldn’t dream of touching someone else but so many think it’s ok! I don’t mind at all if it’s my friends or family of course :) That doctor sounds awful, that a terrible thing to say to you – I’m glad she learned her lesson!

  32. Eilidh Gallagher
    / 3:49 pm

    I can’t believe she told you your baby would die! I do spend most of my time with Ava stick to me, feeding, but I don’t have the opportunity to spend it in bed! The hungry comment pees me off! I’ve actually turned round and said “no she’s just been fed, she’s tired and annoyed with people” resisted the like you on the end!! X

    • mamamim blog
      / 3:54 pm

      I know, how crazy!! She was so nice until that point ha ha. Argh I don’t blame you – why do people insist on trying to tell you when to feed your baby?! :)

  33. JoyandPops
    / 12:46 pm

    Ha! Some of this ‘advice’ is so funny!
    Does anyone actually sleep when their baby sleeps and if so how is anything else getting done?? Especially if you have other children!
    It drives me crazy that people think a c-section is an easier option. I have given birth once and had two elective c-sections. I recovered far quicker after giving birth naturally and while natural delivery is extremely painful (my son was 10lbs 10oz!) it was a pain limited to the time of the process – unlike the pain from a c-section which can last weeks and involves you being cut open and stapled back together!!
    Since when was being stapled back together ever considered easy!
    Fantastic post!

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:26 pm

      Ha ha thanks!! Honestly some people are much more judgemental than I ever imagined they would be. A few of my friends have had c sections and the recovery afterwards is immense – hardly the easy option! I must commend you on giving birth to a 10lbs 10oz baby – wow wee!! :)

  34. Katie Haydock
    / 8:17 pm

    I can’t believe someone actually said hat to your other half? How utterly AWFUL! Althought my mother in law thought I was the devil when we put little miss into her own room at 4 months old… she was keeping us awake and we were waking her up too!
    And sleeping when the baby sleeps is very funny… I wonder who actually managed this?!

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:24 pm

      I know! Poor Mr M – she completely convinced him too, he was in a bit of a state! Mine went in her own room at 4 months too, best decision ever for her as well as me, we all slept more peacefully without interrupting each other! :)

  35. Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)
    / 7:25 pm

    Oh my goodness what things to say to you! Absolutely bonkers stuff!! Not sure which is worse, being selfish about having a C section, um no if the Drs say that’s the safest course of action to keep my baby alive then that’s what I will do, ir your baby will die of dehydration, what a load of nonsense! Honestly! Noone has said anything quite that bonkers but a really close friend said recently that she found the baby days the easiest bit, she said this while I was struggling with 4 wk old with colic and reflux and was finding it insanely exhausting. Not a great way to make me feel better about it!! Fab post! Xx

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:22 pm

      I know – it was crazy! But these women were SO adamant that they had to press their ‘advice’ on me. I think they genuinely thought I needed educating ha ha! I can completely sympathise with a crying, refluxy baby having had one myself – the newborn days were truly the hardest ever.

  36. mummyofboygirltwins
    / 5:43 pm

    Sleep when the baby sleeps, is useless…because thats the only time you have to wash up, clean up, have a cuppa, iron, clean the bathrooms…generally anything that you can’t do during the time that baby is awake!!!!! LOL! Yes all true. I had some hilarious advice when having my twins…as you can imagine ;) Jess xx #sundaystars

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:21 pm

      Exactly! Sleep? Yeah right! Oh I bet you had some funny comments with twins – some people can’t help themselves can they!

  37. Polly Mixtures
    / 8:49 pm

    Oh God yes. People giving me advice via my baby makes me want to hit them round the head with a full nappy bag. Repeatedly. And once more for luck.

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:19 pm

      Ha ha that’s so funny! Honestly it’s crazy but happens so often. I feel so much more confident now though – if anyone tries it with baby #2 I’ll be swinging my nappy bag at them :)

  38. mrsbidders
    / 1:27 pm

    Ha, this made me laugh out loud! I was scolded for not sleeping when the baby slept – but I can rarely sleep in the day unless I am totally exhausted. Even when the baby went down for a more-than-30-minute nap, I’d end up in my bed staring at the ceiling berating myself for not being asleep.

    I also hate it when people talk to babies and put down their parents at the same time. It’s still an insult even if you say it in a baby voice ;)

    Thanks for this post, it made me smile today x

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:18 pm

      I’m the same, I can only sleep in the day when I’m sick! I’m glad this cheered you up – it was therapeutic for me to write! :)

  39. Jade Morriss
    / 2:26 pm

    Great post!

    Regarding number 4… I find that a lot of people automatically assume a baby is hungry when they are crying… No, no, no… That particular quip always wound me up, and you don’t want to wind up a sleep deprived mother. Haha!

    When it came to birth stories, birthing plans etc, I knew quite early on in my pregnancy that for the safety of both me and my son, I would need a C-section. When you tell people you’re having an ‘elective c-section’ they tend to look down on you without even wanting to know why, which I think is a shame. I also don’t like the term ‘elective c-section’ as it certainly wasn’t elected, there was no choice despite how much I would have wanted a natural labour.

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:18 pm

      Thanks Jade! Isn’t it annoying – it’s like they can’t think of anything good to say so they come up with an insult! R.e. C section I completely sympathise, it’s so so wrong to judge someone else just because they had a different experience to your own!

    / 1:17 pm

    Oh god … the ‘not feeding enough’ thing. I was in the airport and our baby was crying. One of the check-in women came up to the baby and said, in baby voice “are you hungry? you’re crying because you’re hungry aren’t you? why isn’t your mummy feeding you?.”
    Not only is the talking to my baby instead of me irritating, but I can categorically tell you she fed 30 minutes earlier and was crying because she was hot, grumpy and people were getting in her face.

    • mamamim blog
      / 1:16 pm

      Argh that would have made me so angry! In fact it makes me angry now lol! You’d think those women would be more supportive :(

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.