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Advice – Take It or Leave It

by Lori Sciame | August 29th, 2011 | Infants/Toddlers

Can you believe a nurse at the hospital told me not to hold my newborn baby? I still remember her – very old school – still wore that stiff nurse’s cap on her head! I didn’t think I’d heard her correctly, then she repeated the advice: hold the baby only to breastfeed and to change his diaper.

As an inexperienced new mother, I took her advice to heart. I did my best to follow it. I tried to breastfeed, even though fully engorged I was only an A cup! And I tried not to hold my baby boy for too long. As you can guess, both tactics failed miserably. My precious son cried and cried; I cried and cried. I finally wised up, and in the haze of no sleep and sore breasts, I made a great decision about advice: I would listen to it, consider it, then take it or leave it.

From that moment on, I realized that I needed to act as my baby’s advocate, and even though I knew next to nothing about babies at that time, I was a smart lady who knew what her baby needed – a full bottle and plenty of cuddling.

Now that I have successfully raised three babies, I want to tell new parents one important thing. Trust yourself. You may be new at this job, and it can be overwhelming at times, but you will get through it. You, both mom and dad, must decide what is best for your baby.

Many times people, like the nurse I mentioned above, think they know exactly what you and your baby needs. You can listen attentively, ask questions, and then make your own decision. Don’t be bullied or “guilted” into doing something you do not want to do. It can be hard, but in the long run, it’s best for others to realize that you are in charge of your baby’s life.

Consider the following scenarios:

1. Grandma says that baby should always be swaddled – even though it’s 90 degrees in the shade! You are hot…you know your baby is hot, so you strip her down to her diaper. Grandma seems a bit mad, but you have done the right thing – protected your baby from becoming overheated.

2. Aunt Susie says that your baby boy must be circumcised, while cousin Joe says that this practice is cruel. You have your own feelings on the topic, as you’ve done plenty of research. You already know what you are going to do, and you state your decision decisively.

3. Your best friend questions your decision to keep the baby in a bassinet in your room. She is adamant that a baby should get used to sleeping alone right from the beginning. Once again, you state your decision to keep the baby close to you as a personal one, and while you appreciate her advice, you know what you want to do.

As you can see, you will have lots of advice. Be strong – both for you and your baby!

  1. Michele says:

    I agree 100%. When my first was born, I was told that I had to breastfeed him. My little guy had difficulty latching on, and he and I spent many hours crying together. After a few weeks of pumping, filling bottles, and feeding him that way, I realized that switching to formula would reduce the time spent “preparing” his meals and giving me more time to be with him. Although this was against the advice of the nurse, I knew it was better for both of us.

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