When Advice Undermines

Posted by Jorge on 5/12/2014

When you have a baby or are pregnant, and especially when it’s your first go at it, you may become a target for a barrage of advice and horror stories from the most well-meaning friends and family members who just can’t resist sharing them all with you. And if you’re not ready for this, you could easily become discouraged, worried, confused and even fearful just hearing all the different comments.

A lot of well-meant advice is grounded in the choice someone else made at some point to disregard the status quo, or rather the most recent advice from the medical community. For instance, while there is more than enough evidence to support delaying the introduction of solid foods in an effort to avoid allergies, etc., there are still some folks who believe that all a fretting newborn needs is a belly full of rice cereal or the equivalent. This is not medically sound advice and there are plenty of studies to discount the taking of such action.

Another commonly shared misconception is that babies need to cry to strengthen their lungs, or that it’s good to let a newborn cry it out, when you’ve fed them and change their diaper. The fact is, and especially pertaining to newborns up to six months or so, that if your baby is crying, it needs something, and if nothing else, to be comforted. Rising to your baby’s needs will not spoil him; it will let him know that he can be made comfortable, and that you are there for him. Spoiling comes later, and it has more to do with a different kind of attentiveness.

Feeding a Newborn

“Babies should be fed on a schedule.” This is just not possible with many babies, and if you are struggling with a fretful infant, then don’t rule out the fact that she may be hungry, even if she ate at her scheduled time and it’s not time to feed her again for a while. Some babies are capable of consuming twice as much as others, and you just can’t expect your baby to fit into a “one size fits all” kind of mold.

The Best Advice

Having other people telling you what you should do can prove exasperating, and the best way to circumvent such advice is, when they begin to “share,” politely tell them that you’ve discussed “that” with your baby’s pediatrician and he or she suggested you “fill in the blank here.” And trust yourself a little more to instinctively know what your baby needs, as with time, you will develop more and more confidence about this. And this is advice you can take.

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