Advice I wished I’d got two years earlier…

Breast or Not?So in wandering around the blogosphere over the last few days I came across some common sense. Over at SlightlySuburbanDad there’s a great post about respecting the choices of others. In summary it’s a great response to the the hugely polarising debate that seems to happen every time someone voices their opinion about how something should (or shouldn’t) be done when parenting someone else’s kids.

I liked what the post had to say. It’s probably because I tend to like stuff that agrees with what I think but it also backs up the best bit of advice that I have been given when it comes to raising kids which was: whatever your doing is right, until it stops working for you, at which point – try something else. If I’d known, believed and lived this advice from when my daughter entered the world I’m sure life would have been easier.

Like SlightlySuburbanDad breastfeeding for us was tough. My wife put herself through hell to produce a shot glass of milk for a child that fussed, spewed and screamed throughout the whole process. I still remember turning up with my wife to the 1 week check up and a woman in the waiting room expressing because she had too much milk (nothing like a showoff). I know it’s not a competition but we watched during the 5 minutes it took her to fill a large bottle and thought we must be doing something wrong. My wife kept trying to breastfeed for the next four months with a volume that failed to keep pace our daughters growing appetite. We supplemented with formula until we finally gave up and went on the bottle full time.

The big problem with this was, that according to lots of opinion, we were “doing the wrong thing”. The frustrating thing was, that like many parents that find themselves in a similar situation we would have loved to have “done the right thing” but we just couldn’t. We knew that breast was best but we just couldn’t make it work. What we needed at the time was someone in a position of authority and trust to say “It’s ok guys. Your daughter will be fine with formula, your not harming her by switching or supplementing”.

Unlike SlightlySuburbanDad we did controlled crying and it worked for us. For the child we had, letting her “sort it out for herself” worked and as a 2yo she seems to have done ok with it. This isn’t to say that it will work for anyone else’s children like it worked for ours or that it’s any better than going into their room whenever they cry, moving them into your bed or even co-sleeping. What matters is that your comfortable with what your doing as parents and that you are supported to change your method whenever you you want to.

Like SlightlySuburbanDad we feed our daughter sausages, in fact I look forward to sausage night nearly as much as my daughter does. We also turn down invitations for lunch so my daughter can have her afternoon sleep at home, occasionally baby sit her with Peppa Pig and don’t use cloth nappies anymore (but have the best of intentions). Like the huge majority of parents out there we’re doing our best to consciously do what’s right for our child(ren).

So, well done SlightlySuburbanDad for voicing the perspective about the “only right parenting style [being] yours” (also not bad advice).

So what advice do you wish you’d been given? What choices have you made that people obviously didn’t agree with? Have you changed tactics because of it?

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35 Responses to Advice I wished I’d got two years earlier…

  1. That is good advice. The best bit of advice I had was not to ask for advice, my friend told me that everyone has an opinion and all the conflicting information would drive me mad. Instead, as you’ve said – don what works for you.

  2. Renay says:

    What a great post. I can relate to alot here. When we were struggle with the whole breast feeding business, we were very lucky in that the Pediatrician, Health Nurse and a Speech Therapist all said the same “Sometimes, it just doesn’t work”. It still doesn’t make me feel fully at ease because as you say using formula is “doing the wrong thing”.
    Oh and sausage night is a winner here too 🙂

  3. We’re a big fan of sausages here too. I figure they aren’t too bad. We buy the best quality organic Bangalow pork sausages without additives from the expensive butcher (they are so worth it!) and grill them. Delicious!

  4. Hazel says:

    HI, just found you through ‘featured bloggers’ and the first post I’ve read rings so true with me. I had exactly the same problem with breast feeding, my daughter did ok at first but after a few weeks just stopped putting one weight, anyway to cut a long story short a health visitor finally told me ‘go to a chemist, buy a bottle and some formula and feed the baby’. I was pretty devastated, but I did it and my baby was so much happier, put on weight and slept like an angel. I still felt self concious getting out the bottle but it was necessary. Anyway, my daughter is now 7, hardly ever ill, doing really well at school, emotionally ‘attached’ to me, etc, etc. For us it was the right decision. Shame I felt so bad about it at the time. Incidentally, pretty much the same happened with my second baby too.

    • morander says:

      Hi, thanks for popping by…

      It’s great to hear that 7 years after the fact you’ve got a healthy kid that doing great. It shows that way too much emphasis is put on doing it a certain way.

  5. Jo says:

    Sometimes it’s helpful to know how others are handling things – new ideas are a good thing and might be worth a try. But I believe you ultimately need to do what is right for you and your family and also respect your partner’s view. Mine felt strongly about controlled crying so we tried other things – our child came out of babyhood relatively unscathed (and so did we).

  6. Hi, I’m new to this blogging and found you through FYBF. We had trouble breastfeeding too. When someone said to me “Oh isn’t it awful when you wake up and you’re leaking everywhere” That hadn’t happened to me at all and my baby was so hungry. From that point on, I had a hang-up that I didn’t have enough milk. I was told to just “put him on the bottle” but we made it through. It was hard work though and he did have the odd bottle here and there, and still does. I agree, Sometimes you just have to do what works! After all, what baby wants to spend all their time with parents who are so emotionally distraught and discontent anyway…

    • morander says:

      You make a great point. In the end the best thing you can do for your child is not be in a emotionally distraught and discontented state.

      Thanks for popping by from FYBF as well.

  7. I can’t recall ever receiving too much unwanted advice, fortunately. I think because when I had my eldest child, 14 years ago, there wasn’t such a “parenting culture” then, and when I had my next two more recently, people probably thought I knew what I was doing because I’d had one earlier (even though I forgot EVERYTHING after each child). I’ve always been very conscious to never pass on advice either, unless someone asks or seems to be really struggling, and then I would always say “this is what worked for me”.

  8. Karen says:

    I like your advice, I am so glad I have had supportive family and friends to encourage me and not judge us. We have a 1 year old that controlled crying worked great for, because he simply won’t sleep with us trying to coax him there, every child is different and I think it is so important just to trust your own instincts with your child and stuff what everyone else thinks!! Karen

  9. Hi Kev, completely agree about the right parenting style being yours. We were slaves to a routine with our first child and got some funny looks and comments – but it worked a treat so nothing and no one could interfere with it.

  10. When I had my first child the advice I was given about advice was similar to “whatever you’re doing is right, until it stops working for you, at which point – try something else”, and that is listen politely to advice, but only take what works for you and leave the rest. I’ve been doing that for over 20 yrs!

  11. Trish MLDB says:

    I ignored 95% of unsolicited advice and the best advice was to trust my own intuition . I am lucky to be deaf so it was easy to ignore people especially the mother of my husband ; ) . Just not sure how he turned out so right.

  12. I wish that we listened to our friends who said not to take advice from others and just to do what was right for us. Funny thing is we still haven’t learnt from the second! I have just been told by my mother that breastfeeding my 12month old is wrong, that she should be off it by now. So I started to wean her. Why? I don’t know. We should all just go with what is right for us.

  13. great advice, I have never asked for advice and have also just done what I felt was right. I figured that this way I would never have any regrets as I would be doing what I believed was right at the time.

  14. On the breastfeeding thing – I hear you. I had exactly the same problem/volume issues. First child, seeing others leak like a tap – I assumed I was just doing it wrong. The Paediatrician was called in to hospital in the middle of a Saturday night after they couldn’t wake my 1st born up – suck was the lack of sustenance she was getting, despite going for gold and attaching like a beauty. Then I had twins. You’d think the extra hormones would’ve kicked that milk supply up a notch – nothing doing.

    Of course if none of my kids become Rhodes Scholar’s who win multiple back-to-back Nobel Prizes (in multiple fields) then I will totally sue the formula maker, since it will obviously be all their fault….ahem.

  15. Like Trish, I also ignored 95% of unsolicited advice and agree that the best advice was to trust my own intuition. You know your baby best 🙂

  16. This is a great post – the best advice I ever got was ‘put the books down and listen to your gut’. Absolutely right. And we’re sausage fans too! Thanks for linking up for Flash Blog Friday 🙂

  17. Helen in heels says:

    Bottle feeding? Controlled crying? No wonder your 2 year old is illiterate! :). I love the message that you’re doing it right as long as it’s working for you.

  18. Shari says:

    If it’s any help at all 15 years ago I had a baby who I struggled to breastfeed (there was just nothing there … nada) and then at 6 weeks old, after him losing and not once gaining weight, I succumbed to the overwhelming guilt that was thrown at me (by some ‘helpfuls’, thanks ladies) and bought a tin of formula. Wish I had have done it from the start. He’s now an A student, tall and lean, witty and personable and of course he doesn’t remember and resent how I fed him. Wishing you and your wife well with however you choose to parent. PS. He eats sausages too!

  19. morander says:

    Hi there and thanks for popping by. 5 kids??? Your mum is a mothering athlete!!

  20. kyl21z says:

    I love this, it’s so true! As soon as I figured out that it didn’t matter what anyone else was doing life became so much easier. I spent the first couple of months after my daughter was born worrying that we weren’t doing the “right” things but as soon as I realised that what was “right” was different for everyone else life with bubs became a lot more enjoyable. Best advice I got was from my Mum, she basically told me that when it comes to babies and young children the only thing that doesn’t change is the fact that they will always change. Just when you think you’ve got them figured out they go and change on you and there is no point worrying and stressing when things stop working because in time something else will, you just have to find it.

  21. I completely agree, and now that I have multiple children, I find myself laughing when someone “suggests” to me that I do it for #5 the same way I did it for #1. Well, #5 is a different little human from #1 and what worked for her doesn’t work for him. I am a firm believer that as parents, only we know what works for our own kids.

    Thanks for linking up with us this week and I look forward to reading so much more from you!

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