Dealing With Overwhelming Amounts of Baby Advice
When you first bring your new baby home you will be showered with advice. Most new parents will have caring people around them who are very willing and very able to give you advice. With a first baby only the bravest amongst you will refuse the advice; partly because this is the first time you've done this and partly because you feel sure that they must know more than you. The problem is that whilst they may have given birth and brought up numerous children they haven't brought up your child and are therefore not an expert on this particular baby.
Advice will come from every direction imaginable; from the stack of baby care books and magazines you have collected over your pregnancy, from mothers, mothers-in-law, friends and even the postman might give you a tip or two. Complete strangers will see it as their duty to stop you in the supermarket and offer their words of wisdom or criticism. The overload of advice can be overwhelming, but it can also be very helpful if you can 'select the good bits'!
Which Advice Should I Take?
Let's be clear, there is no single set of rules and guidelines that is appropriate for each and every baby from each generation. Opinions, practices and official guidelines are forever changing. The typical life of a mother today is different to what it was thirty years ago, the equipment and facilities available to us are different, and most importantly, medical research has come a long way. This isn't to say that you should ignore advice from your parents, or grandparents, but use your common sense. We know a lot more about the effects of alcohol now, and whilst it may be the case that you were settled at night with a brandy-infused dummy we now know that giving children alcohol is unsafe - regardless of the fact that 'you turned out OK'. Another good example of this is sleeping positions. The latest NHS guidelines emphasise that babies should be laid on their back to sleep.. This sleeping position has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Cot Death). It wasn't so long ago that the official advice was to lay babies on their fronts, but that advice has been strongly overruled now.
How Can I Deal With Pressure from Grandparents?
It isn't easy to tell your mother, mother-in-law or granny how to do something that they have had plentiful experience of, but you must tell them and insist that they adhere to these guidelines when caring for your child. Ignore the 'don't tell me how to suck eggs' type comments and insist gently but firmly that this is how it must be. Don't be defensive when you are given such advice, remember that it is well meaning and then explain to them the reasoning behind your decisions so that they understand.
You must also remember that there will be lots of areas where other people's advice can be really helpful, regardless of their age or cultural background. Perhaps they have good ideas for entertaining your child on a long journey, for games or songs or ways of settling your child at night.
If ever you receive advice that you are unsure about, always seek advice from a health professional first, particularly if you think that there could be any health implications - such as with advice on weaning .