Friday, June 18, 2010

The best advice we ever received...

When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone I knew. While I expected my friends and family members to be excited too, I didn’t expect to be immediately showered with parenting advice. The farther along I got, the more advice I got, even from people I didn’t know. I assumed that this outpouring of advice was because I was having my first child, but now that I am pregnant with my second child, it is clear that people just love to give advice. Sometimes the advice is helpful and other times it’s not. In this post, each of us at the Human Lactation Center have provided the best advice we ever received.

Go with the flow – Jen B

The best advice I ever got was to “go with the flow.” As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I like to make plans. I would be perfectly happy if I could plan out every detail of my daily life months in advance. Unfortunately, when dealing with babies, things don’t always go according to plan. For example, I wanted to make all of my daughter’s baby food from scratch, but after just a few weeks I realized that, with all of the other things going on in my life, it was just easier to buy the jarred food. I still made some of her food, when I had time, but I didn’t panic when my plans changed. I’m not saying that new parents shouldn’t ever make plans, but it is important to be flexible, to “go with the flow.”

Sleep while your baby sleeps - Jen G

When I first heard these words of advice from a sweet little old lady in the produce department of my supermarket I said “OK” with a big question mark in my furrowed brow. As friends and family members shared the same advice, I wondered why everyone was so concerned about my sleep. As my sleep deprivation continued, I realized that maybe I should listen and not try to do a dozen different chores or catch up on phone conversations while my daughter was napping. I felt like nap times were the only time during the day when I could get things done or do what I wanted to do. When my daughter was young, I would inevitably be woken up multiple times during the night and wake up just a tad less than refreshed the next morning. But if I took a nap with her, not only was it easier to get her to take a nap, but I actually got some rest as well! Then I was ready to conquer the afternoon. Our nap time together became a beloved ritual that my daughter, now a very energetic 3-year-old, and I still indulge in...once in awhile.

Accept help - Jane

Actually, the total gist of the advice was “accept all help that is offered and when you are ready, offer help to others.” As I explained in an earlier post, I did not have my own mother around to help me when I had my children. My independence and my ability to accomplish things on my own were very important to me and I believed that my husband and I did not need any outside help in caring for our children. Fortunately, I realized quickly that I was just being naive. Taking care of a newborn is more than a 200% time job. When you add household chores, paying bills, work tasks, and other outside responsibilities to child care duties, it is no wonder that new parents feel crushed by it all. I learned to accept the help that was offered to me and to “pay it forward” to other new parents whenever I got the opportunity. Believe me, it is worth it for yourself, your partner, and your baby. Accept help.

Accept advice but make informed decisions - Kerri

As a new parent, getting advice is almost unavoidable. Even when you don’t ask for it, people seem to need to tell you what they did and why you should do it too. I recommend accepting advice you are given, then picking and choosing which advice to follow. As you’ll see next week, people can give some pretty strange advice to new parents. If someone gives you advice that seems a little strange, do some research and see if it is something you want to try. I think it is most important to make an informed decision and to never do anything you aren’t comfortable with. There are wonderful resources for new parents (this blog included, although I may be a little biased) and you can always discuss any questions you have with your pediatrician.

Now that we’ve shared the best advice we’ve ever gotten, we’d love to hear from you, so send us a comment. We will even feature the best of the best in an upcoming post.

Next Time: The worst advice we ever received


  1. When I was pregnant I read a lot of books about attachment parenting and had friends who were subscribers (and for the most part, I still believe in most of it) but I wish someone had told me that my baby would be born with her own personality, and all the smartest books and smartest people couldn't tell me exactly what she would or wouldn't like. I planned to co-sleep and she hated it (still prefers to have her own space to sleep in). She didn't like most carriers. She certainly never fell asleep in the carrier like Dr. Sears assured me she would. After awhile my mantra became "Forget what you think you know. Your baby has other plans!"

  2. i love it. this is all great advice :)

  3. the nap - difficult to do but worth it!