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!