Writing last week’s blog about unwanted advice from strangers got me thinking about all the other advice you receive as a parent, how contradictory it can be and how confused it can leave you feeling.
The very first time the midwife visited me, when Lauren was 5 days old, she came in, took one look at me holding an asleep Lauren and told me sternly that she should be in her moses basket. Otherwise, she claimed, Lauren would never get used to settling on her own. Most baby books say you can’t ‘spoil’ a child that young and you should hold them a lot as they need the comfort and reassurance – and that is, I think, the instinctive way most mothers treat their newborns. In my fragile state at the time, I assumed she must be right- she was the expert! I started feeling guilty for holding her and so, put her down more.
A couple of days later, all worked up, I asked the breastfeeding counsellor to come and help me. She told me that I should hold Lauren as much as possible, as frequent contact helps to stimulate milk production and I wasn’t producing enough. Obviously I was then really upset that I was starving my baby. So, within two days, two healthcare professionals had given me totally conflicting advice.
And this was just the first example of many.
When Lauren had bad cradle cap:
Health visitor’s advice –
“Olive oil, then Vaseline to lock in the moisture, several times a day. I want to see that child greasy!”
“Vaseline?! Oh no, that’s petroleum based, you absolutely shouldn’t be using that.”
Last week, we had a Trotters event in our Kings Road store ,where Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet came in, with two of her children, to get their hair cut and sign copies of her new book ‘Mumsnet Rules’. The idea of this book is that having read the message boards of Mumsnet and seen so many opinions on all the controversial parenting subjects, they have come up with the common sense consensus points which the vast majority of parents agree with. These are offered up as rules which if followed, should make your life easier. It is non-preachy and very interesting and although I’ve only read a couple of chapters so far, I am definitely liking some of the rule chapter headings. One is ‘Do make them send thank you letters’. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly but do you know what? If, like the one I received recently from a teenage child, the mother types out a short, generic message and pastes it into a thank you card, which said child can’t even be bothered to write his name in, then don’t bother. I would rather get nothing (which is what he’ll be getting next time).
Lauren obviously didn’t want to miss the action and was thoroughly pleased to see all the girls in Kings Road and to meet Justine. Here she is getting involved and helping out with the signing.
Oops – the photo of Lauren and Justine bounced off somewhere so we only have Lauren championing Mumsnet!
I think poor Justine was quite glad to give her back by the time she’d bounced all over her for 5 minutes and did politely ask whether I had a door bouncer for Lauren! Well, as it so happens, I was warned away from this particular entertainment by a health visitor who told me that they are a terrible idea for babies who will end up with damaged ligaments as a result of the bouncing. Well, that’s one piece of advice I chose to totally ignore……….