"Breast is best." "You have you let your baby cry it out." "Get the epidural." "Natural birth is amazing." "You should delay vaccines." "Time outs are the best way to teach your kids discipline." "You shouldn't give pacifiers."
We've all heard it. The moment you announce your pregnancy, you're a target for advice from well-meaning friends, family, in-laws, doctors, and even social media. It can be confusing and overwhelming. You begin to question yourself and your decisions. You may feel anxious or upset when it seems that everyone else is doing a better job than you. We've compiled what we believe are the BEST pieces of parenting advice you'll ever hear.
1. Stop asking for advice.
It's as simple as that. Stop asking other people for advice. You'll be continuously overloaded with contradictory suggestions that may only lead you back to square one. You'll discover that certain people have different parenting styles than you. And that's okay. You're still allowed to be friends! But asking for their advice may just not be helpful for you. And that's okay, too. Don't post all of your parenting struggles on Facebook. That is synonymous with asking your 1000-member friends list for advice.
2. Stop taking advice.
What about when the well-meaning friends and family offer unsolicited advice? Also simple: just don't take it. You don't HAVE to do anything with your children simply because someone else said it worked for them. It's okay to make choices that are different from others. And if your friends and family are driving you nuts with the advice-giving, you have permission to be polite and direct and say, "Thank you for your concern. I've got this." (Even if you don't).
3. Do research, trust your intuition, and take all advice with a grain of salt.
Are you a research-oriented person? Do some research about the evidence of certain parenting practices or choices in pregnancy and birth. Ask your doula for some resources. Are you someone who appreciates or recognizes the power of your intuition? Take some time and listen to your children or baby and yourself. What does your intuition tell you to do? What feels right for you? If it feels right, it probably is. Do you actually WANT to ask for advice? That's okay, too! This parenting gig is hard and everyone deserves and NEEDS a support system. If you have some trusted family members or close friends whose opinion you value, by all means, ask away! But remember to take their advice with a grain of salt. All babies are different and what works for someone else's baby might not work for yours. Be open to suggestions, but ultimately, you're the expert and authority on your own children. Our postpartum doulas are there when your baby comes home to guide you through this crazy parenting journey while still respecting your parenting styles. Ultimately, we want you to feel like you're doing the right thing. Because you probably are!