Being on holiday this week (and mainly because Granny is with us) I am actually getting some time to read! And my book of choice is… Hurrah For Gin.
I can categorically say it is BRILLIANT. And not only brilliant and funny (and surprisingly touching), but I literally could have written it myself.
It is so refreshing to read a ‘parenting’ book that isn’t full of a load of useless and unrealistic advice to drive either parent or child to the brink of their sanity.
So, lucky you, here is my take on some brief baby advice. I am sure I will fill you in with longer and more detailed ones in the future…
I have been very passionate for a while about the crapness of the parenting advice that is available and widely used for pregnant and new mothers and fathers. (And I regularly give my own advice out whether asked for or not, I can’t help it.)
In my opinion a lot of the advice regularly given is crap because:
– It is all based around what is ‘best’ for mum and not what is best for baby.
– It is unrealistic and only successful in making people feel they either have a broken baby who doesn’t sleep when Gina Ford says they should, or making parents feel inadequate that they can’t or don’t want to make 43 types of healthy snacks and avoid sugar for their little darlings.
Here is my take on advice I was given in comparison to my own advice (I know you didn’t ask for it but I’ll give it to you anyway because that’s what I do) ;
– Labour: I had very little advice given before my first labour and cleverly went into it very naively, other than the 4 anti natal hospital classes that I forgot entirely by the time I got round to birthing a human being. I got the general gist as drugs are there if you want them but I had no clue what effect they had. I left labour feeling violated and disturbed…
My advice: Drugs do have an effect on your baby and you, especially in how settled baby is in the early days. If you are interested do your research. If you can avoid them do, but they are there for a reason and if you need them, also do. Don’t beat yourself up. Labour is a horrendous and traumatising experience even if it goes well… ‘Beautiful’? my butchered fanny disagrees.
– Breastfeeding: I could write an entire post purely on the crapness of breastfeeding advice but due to everyone’s stressed out emotions about it, I won’t. What I will say is I was told; express to share feeds with dad, get a good feed routine to help baby sleep.
My advice: That advice was a load of SHIT. If I tried one more time to find the time to express and then watch my baby scream in my husbands face at the sight of a bottle I would throw my steriliser and my baby in the bin (the steriliser did go before #2 baby). And fuck trying to get a feed routine. Baby is boss end of. AND breast is best but FUCKING hard. Do not be convinced otherwise by anyone. And do not beat yourself up if you can’t / don’t want to do it.
– Sleeping / sleep training : I was told / read about all sorts of things that you can do to help your baby settle which inevitably meant putting them down away from you. My first baby spent the first six months of her life screaming because she wanted to be near me. I wish I was told / read that baby needs to be near you, sleep in a sling and sleep in the bed. She would probably have been much more settled. It wasn’t my fault she was clingy (much as I was told it was) and I could have helped her more. Both my kids were crap sleepers and that’s just that. Some kids sleep well and on their own and for ages and woop-de-do for them. Mine didn’t and that’s life.
– Food: I can’t really remember what I was told for weaning / food. Obviously everyone wants to be super healthy with their kids and have great intentions. Child #1, I pureed food, she never ate sugar for ages and definitely had her 5 a day. Child #2 eats all beige, didn’t get one puree (not because I was doing Baby Led Weaning but because I couldn’t be arsed) and eats anything out of a packet and nothing else. Much as I am sure I have influenced some of this, I am also aware that my influence on my children is minimal at the best of times. Strong willed isn’t the word.
– Toddlers: By the time my kids got to toddler stage I had basically given up on reading advice. I did go to one brilliant workshop called Toddler Calm. It was all about how your toddler develops, why they tantrum etc and gave me much more insight into their psychotic minds. It doesn’t however mean my advice is anything more than JUST SAY YES. If no one is going to get injured or if it won’t cause continual tantrums, just say yes. For all of your sanities.
So in conclusion, don’t take advice on face value especially from midwives or health visitors – some of whom are great and some are put on this earth to make you feel like an inadequate and dangerous parent.
And before anyone’s knickers get in a twist, this is my opinion and my opinion alone based on my own experience so if you think differently then that’s great, we all do.
And if you are about to have a baby… Good luck. I hope yours sleeps like it ‘should’. Sack off the anti natal classes, read Hurrah for Gin instead…
PS. As I wrote this I waited patiently for the bath water to drain out so I could scoop pop put the bath using toilet paper as I don’t have a net to hand on holiday… Parenting at its best. Xx