Parenting Advice EVERY Parent Should Listen To

posted by Andrea | 04/25/2012

Yup, that’s right — I’ve been a mom for 5 whole months now, and I’m already giving parenting advice :)

Well…. not really.

You see, over the last 5 months of Nora’s life (and for several months before that, when she was still “inside”) I’ve gotten more parenting advice than I ever imagined possible. I suppose that goes with the territory of blogging and sharing my life with the world! And a lot of it has been really helpful advice… so thanks! 

However, I learned early on in my “mom journey” that, unless I wanted to go insane, I was just going to have to smile, nod… and let a lot of advice, suggestions, and criticism roll off my shoulders.

After reading lots of books, watching movies, listening to audio books, going to a class, doing online research, and getting all sorts of advice from friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, and blog readers… I have one piece of advice EVERY parent should listen to…

Do what works for YOU. Period!

If you want to use cloth diapers — go for it. If you want to use disposable — do it.

We use disposable diapers and I’m positive our trash bags full of diapers won’t ruin the environment all on their own.

If you want to nurse your baby — great. If you’d rather use formula – that’s great too.

I’m still nursing — but that’s just because it’s free and it has always been really easy for me. I’ve heard great things about formula and I’m certain your baby will not have a horrible life just because you didn’t nurse them exclusively.

If you want to start feeding your baby solid foods at an earlier age — do it. If you want to wait — that’s fine too. 

As long as your doctor says it’s OK, go ahead and start feeding them cereal, baby food, or whatever your doctor recommends. We tried feeding Nora cereal right at 4 months but she wouldn’t eat it… we’re still trying :)

If you like wearing your baby in a sling (and your baby likes to be worn) — great. If you don’t — no big deal. 

We were told that we absolutely HAD to have all sorts of baby carriers for Nora… but she really didn’t like any of them except the Moby wrap on occasion. She’s much more content to just lay on the floor and look around.

If your baby sleeps in their crib — that’s fine. If they sleep better in a swing or car seat — do that! And if they only sleep in your bed — it might just be worth it.

Nora sleeps in her crib, but know lots of people who used the swing or car seat for months! We also have friends who were TOTALLY against co-sleeping until they had a baby who absolutely refused to sleep unless he was with his mom. So, after months of almost no sleep, they resorted to co-sleeping and they now have a healthy, happy 3 year old who willingly sleeps in his own bed.

If you want to work outside the home — good for you. If you want to be a stay-at-home-parent — more power to you.

We make choices every day and there are pros and cons to each choice. You know what’s best for you and your family… no one else does, so don’t let them make you feel guilty for your choice.

If you want to home-school your children — go for it. If you choose to send them to school — great.

Either way, your children will learn, grow, mature, and get a great education.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is you know your children, your family, and your situation better than anyone — so don’t let yourself be easily swayed by what everyone else says you SHOULD do.

Obviously, you’ll want to check with your doctor before you do anything really crazy — and of course, it’s always important to be informed before making decisions — but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from these past 5 months, it’s that I absolutely have to do what works for me, what works for Nora, and what works for our family. 

I spent the first few months of motherhood trying to do what the books, the videos, and other people told me to do… but none of those sources knew our specific situation.

After I threw all that information out the window and just started doing what seemed like the best thing in my opinion, life started to get a little easier.

Even though I had absolutely no experience with children before Nora was born, I’m with her 24/7 — so it didn’t take that long for me to start figuring her out. Dave and I still have a long way to go, but we know her better than anyone… and you know your children better than anyone. 

How’s that for some practical parenting advice

Please note that I am NOT ‘for’ or ‘against’ any of the parenting techniques above… they are just examples.

Also, I’ve decided to leave the comments open on this post — but please remember that the whole point of the post is to “do what works for you” (not to give MORE advice or judge other parents.) Please consider that when you comment!  

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58 comments

  1. Hannah VW

    07/13/2013

    I think it is most important to know your child, like you say.
    However, I’m not sure any of these things should be decided by what we “want to.” I think it is important to do our research, examine what we are capable of in our life (for example, I do think that disposable diapers have a negative impact on the environment, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible to use cloth, or it is better for a particular family to reduce their environmental impact in another area rather than using cloth diapers), and what God is calling us to do.

    I also hope that my close friends still feel OK stepping in and giving gentle suggestions, especially when there is an element of risk involved, and vice versa with me for them. For example, I have friends who are passionate about carseat safety and I have learned a lot from them about common safety “mistakes” and some of the newer recommendations I may not have heard of otherwise. It isn’t my own personal soapbox or thing I spend a lot of time researching, so I’m thankful for their input.

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