There is a new Government (DfE) initiave out called CANparent, aimed at providing high quality parenting classes to support the parenting skills of both mothers and fathers. They have released a video about myth busting and the ‘tips’ we are given as new parents.
As a mum of a four year old, baby days were a while ago. But I still remember being a new mum, feeling bombarded with advice from all kinds of people whether you asked for it or not! It seems everyone and anyone had a golden tip for what you should do when your baby wouldn’t sleep through the night / had a temperature / wasn’t hungry… you name it!
As a new mum (or dad) you are naturally concerned about the welfare of your child. You have thousands of questions, is this normal, should my baby be doing this? Why isn’t my baby doing that? Who do you turn to for advice…
Being a mum is mostly an instinctive thing for me, I tend not to listen so much to well meaning friends and relatives. I normally smile and nod and then just do what I wanted to do. I had pretty strong ideas about what my baby should be eating, how I wanted to put her to sleep… I felt comfortable parenting my way (which is probably closest to attachment parenting) and went with that.
I did however listen to the advice I received from the health visitors /midwives (in Holland as we lived in Holland until Littlelish was nearly 2) and I do remember them having some good tips that seemed to make sense. It is difficult to know whether every bit of advice you are given is correct or not but I just used my common sense and followed my instincts to decide if it is something I agreed with. At the end of the day we all do it our way.
Littlelish was an easy baby in many ways but difficult in others. She was very content, but didn’t sleep much, wouldn’t drink from a bottle, had difficulty winding down, often seemed deep in thought. I determined (evenutally) she was probably a highly sensitive baby / child which I have written about in more depth here. It seems four years later, we have learnt the best ways to manage and deal with any issues that arise. We did this mostly by instinct and a little but of help from some books (as mentioned in my previous post).
My top parenting advice:
- If you can, prepare baby food yourself. This will mean they are not eating processed food and that you can introduce all kind of foods at an early age. They say you have to give a baby food 3 or 4 times until they get used to the taste of it! I have a little girl who eats fish, avocado, asparagus and all sorts! I loved this book by Annabel Karmel.
- Sing to your baby. I sang day in and day out to Littlelish, I loved how she enjoyed it and it was our way of connecting. Apparently singing to your child is very important for their speech development and is scientifically proven to calm them and lower their pain perception.
- Read to your baby. We all know this is important and why. Give them a love of language and learning for life, help expand their vocabulary, teach them…
- Wear your baby in a carrier. If you are doing this correctly (ie. not forward facing) it is a great way for your baby to feel safe and secure and very loved. I carried Littlelish everywhere are we both loved it!
- Do what works for you with regards to sleeping! There is not golden tip that will get them to go down instantly or sleep through the night, every baby is different. Littlelish was a pretty terrible sleeper as a baby. For the first 6 months she slept in a moses basket right next to my side and occassionally with me in bed. When she moved into her own nursery, I always had to rock her to sleep otherwise she literally would.not.sleep. She has only just started to go to bed on her own (since she started school). It wasn’t always easy but this is we did what worked for all of us.
- The housework is not that important. As long as the house isn’t a total cesspit, it is fine. Sleep when the baby sleeps if you feel the need to catch up. Everything seems more bearable if you have slept enough.
Tips I listened to:
- Do not put your baby in a walker or bouncer for too long it is not good for their hips.
- Do not let your child under the age of 1 watch television, it is not good for their development.
- Do get your baby drinking out of a normal cup as quickly as you can. Sippy cups are not good for the development of the muscles in their mouth. Neither are dummies.
- Don’t say no all the time, you will sound like a broken record. Save the word NO it for when it is really, really important and they might actually listen ;)
Tips I didn’t listen to!
- Let your baby cry it out when you put them to sleep, they will learn to self soothe.
- Don’t give your baby too much attention as they will expect it and become a nightmare!
- Don’t pick your baby up every time she cries. It will only teach her to cry for things…
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