As soon as you become a parent everyone will be queuing up to tell you how to raise your baby. Well meaning Aunties, Uncles, Grandparents, Mums and Dads will all have the best advice and tell you how they think you should be doing it.
Some of the opinions you will be grateful for and implement, others will confuse you and cause you mild anxiety whilst some will possibly infuriate you causing upset and annoyance.
Everyone will have an opinion and they will want to share it with you and unwittingly contribute to an already anxious time, which is full of self-doubt, worry and exhaustion when you have your first baby.
When you become a parent for the first time it can be the best of times and the worst of times as you are getting used to a totally different life to that of which you knew before, so it can be quiet unnerving when so many people offer you their ‘advice’ and you just do not know how to process it all.
I thought I would share with you the top 5 tips I was given on how to raise your baby told to me by well meaning relatives when I had my first child.
1) Don’t hold them too much they will get used to it
Apparently I would make a rod for my own back if I held my baby too long. Heaven forbid I rocked him to sleep, as this would cause me no end of problems in the long run. They won’t fall asleep naturally and if they expect cuddles all the time I’ll be making my life a lot harder.
It’s been nearly 4 years since I had my first baby and do you know what I regret? Not cuddling him enough. I look back and I try and remember all the times I held him in my arms just staring in amazement at the beautiful little human I created, and I long for those moments again and if I had my time again I would never let him go. (As all he gives me now is bogey’s and doesn’t want lots of cuddles from his mummy)
2) Don’t give them a dummy
It’s bad for their teeth and it will be impossible to wean them off it when they get older. It is just lazy parenting and you should not rely on dummies to pacify your baby.
Thank god for the dummy! Not only did it give me a well needed respite from the many many many screaming episodes my baby had, it was also a huge comfort to them when they needed something more than just a cuddle from mummy or daddy. They will have absolutely no recollection they ever sucked a dummy when they were babies so I don’t think any harm was done. (Can you remember those days when you used to suck those dummy’s from your lazy parents?…of course not)
3) Don’t pass him around too much you will unsettle him
Best to leave him in his moses basket when people come round as if you keep passing him from pillar to post he will get upset and confused and you wont be able to settle him down with all the different smells.
I am so glad I did not listen to this one, my baby was passed around to all our willing and eager relatives and friends desperate for lots of cuddles and love, my children lapped it up. They loved lots of cuddles from all the family and so far are happy, independent, secure and friendly little boys who love being around lots of different people. (and smells)
4) Don’t put him in bed with you
You’ll stop him from learning how to sleep on his own and he will get used to you lying next to him. You’re taking away his independence and teaching him bad habits.
We never co-slept with our children, mainly because we are both so tall that there was just no room. However, whenever they woke in the night and would not settle we always let them sleep between us. It didn’t cause many problems at all and it has never stopped them from sleeping in their own beds. All it did was give them comfort when they needed it. (And peace for us in the middle of the night)
5) Let him cry
It won’t do him any good if you keep picking him up when he cries. Stop making such a fuss of him and he will soon learn that mummy isn’t coming and will settle himself. Don’t keep going to him when he is screaming, as he will get used to you being there.
I lasted 8 minutes with my first baby on this let them cry advice. I couldn’t hear him wail any longer without intervening. Babies do cry a lot, I know all about this with having 2 screamy babies and yes I had to leave them many a time and take a breather in the garden to compose myself as listening to screams is horrendous. However, I didn’t want my baby to get used to the fact that if he screams his mummy wouldn’t come, I wanted him to know that if he screams mummy will be the first one there in a heartbeat and I will continue to be until the day I die.
So out of all these words of wisdom your family, friends and loved ones will give you, try and find your own way as much as you can and take on board what they say but work out what works best for you and your family.
I don’t think there is one approach that fits all, I think you have to find out what works for you by trial and error and making your own mistakes. Ultimately the only person that knows how to raise your baby is you.
What advice were you given when you had your first baby from well meaning loved ones?