Top 5 Pieces of Parenting Advice I Got That Were Total Crap (for me)

Ever noticed how the world is now full of parenting “experts?” Just scan a Parenting magazine. It’s chock full of people who claim to be doing it better than you. But I’ve found not all the advice I was given in books, magazines and by friends worked out so well for my family. Here’s my top 5 list of advice that turned out to be total crap in practice at our house:

5. Let the baby cry it out. Otherwise, he will never learn to go to sleep on his own.

Guess what? I did it all wrong. I nursed, cuddled, and rocked my baby to sleep. He slept in my bed. And yet, he is a toddler who sleeps in his own bed, in his own room, through the night like a rock (a very cute rock). Ha, Ferber! Your book made me cry about what a lousy mom I was, but the proof is in the unconscious child!!

4. If you use shields, you won’t be able to keep nursing.

Bull-honkie. Just try to get to me stop! I used shields for 4 months, and nursed for, um, 2 years beyond that. I heard this advice from no less than 3 lactation consultants, a half dozen moms, and my LLL leader.

3. Sleep when the baby sleeps.

Are these people not aware of the joys of Tivo? Or the interwebs? Napping made me grumpy, and I far preferred the solution of being a lousy mom (see above) and getting my sleep during the nighttime. Those precious hours of daytime when my baby didn’t need me were the lifeboat of my early motherhood.

2. When your toddler starts to have tantrums, walk away and ignore it. If you reward them with attention, it will just happen more.

I tried this one. But this technique, from parenting magazines and a few friends, was not right for us. My little guy responded a lot better when we asked him what was wrong and responded to his upset, either with comfort or distraction. The times we tried walking away we got treated to 20-30 minutes of yelling, that could have otherwise been 2. Did we train him to cry by giving it attention? I don’t know. Personally, I’ve never met a two year old who stays at an even decibel at all times.

1. Ginger and saltines will soothe your morning sickness. Eat a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning.
Until you’ve been sick so many times and for so long that you are forced to carry a bedazzled bucket everywhere you go, do not go around telling people ginger will bring them back from the edge of insanity. The root spice does not have the magic properties of Jack’s beans. I promise.

My point is not to say these axioms are always wrong, just that they were wrong for me. I think a family is kind of like baking crème brulee. You can try to follow the same recipe each time, but there are so many subtle differences that it will never really turn out the same each time. If people were to accept this, there would be a lot less advice giving, and a lot more supportive listening.

What parenting advice did you get that turned out to be total crap for you?

4 Responses to “Top 5 Pieces of Parenting Advice I Got That Were Total Crap (for me)”
  1. Skinny Sushi says:

    This is fantastic and so true. Here are my top five…

    5. Anyone can nurse if they want it badly enough. — I tried and tried (and cried and became convinced I was the world’s biggest failure as a mother) and couldn’t make it work even though I really wanted to. I took supplements. I tried pumping, not pumping, shields, no shields, every crazy hold the consultants gave me, revamping my diet, turning off all the lights…. and a thousand other things.

    4. The pediatrician knows best. — If I’d listened to this one for more than a week or so, Evi would have died. Despite a thousand trips to the doctor, they kept sending me away with Zantac and a diagnosis of reflux, but I kept at them because I knew it was something else… and she ended up diagnosed with a totally rare and life threatening condition! So listen to your instincts.

    3. Your baby should be walking and talking at one. — I’m still trying to get over this one. Everyone seems to think she should be saying all sorts of things and walking by now. She crawls like lightning and “talks” all the time, so I just wish everyone would RELAX.

    2. Pacifiers are bad. — Pacifiers sometimes save my sanity. We did start out trying not to use them, but when the hospital gave her one before her surgery we stuck with them. Now I’m sort of glad.

    1. TV will rot your child’s brain. — Maybe it will, but Evi watches about twenty minutes of educational preschool television every day and she loves it. She laughs, smiles, points, and talks to the show and I talk to her about what we’re seeing. For us, it’s a great way to get some teaching in while staying calm and quiet.

    Extra: spicy is bad. — Evi LOVES spice and never has tummy issues from it.

  2. nicole says:

    i bf for 1 year with shields – so there!

  3. Bull-honkie. My new word du jour. Thank you.

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