If you’re pregnant or a brand new mum, you’ve probably come to realise that this pretty much makes you a magnet for advice, whether it’s invited or not. And while the advice you get might be well-meaning and from a caring place, this doesn’t mean it’s always going to suit you, or that it comes from a reputable source. In fact, some of it may even really peeve you off.
But that’s not the only way to fry your brain when you’re a new mum – ever dealt with the information overload known as the internet? While we’re lucky to have a world of information at our fingertips, too much googling can definitely lead to overload, when all you wanted was a simple, straightforward answer.
So as a new mum or a mum-to-be, how do you protect yourself against all that information when you’ve had enough, feel confused and don’t know what to think?
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to dealing with all the advice:
Google doesn’t have children
The popular search engine might churn out pages and pages of answers to your pregnancy and parenting questions, but at the end of the day it isn’t qualified to give you information about your baby, and can actually make any anxiety you’re feeling about parenthood a lot worse. You’d be better off heading to a human person to give you the information that’s tailored to your individual circumstances – and from someone who understands the field a little better.
The baby books aren’t about your baby
There’s a lot of great baby books out there and if you’ve got one of them, great. But if you have a book that leaves you perplexed and with more questions than answers, then know that this book isn’t right for you. Feel free to throw it in the bin and remember, these books tend to be written for the generic, textbook baby. Your baby might not be one of those, and trying to apply this advice to your unique little bundle could backfire. Take this advice with a pinch of salt and remember how unique your baby is.
Too much advice can make it hard to tune into your parenting instincts
If you spend all your time researching and trying to make sense of all the different advice out there, you run the risk of missing your own parenting instincts, which we all have. Yes, even you. Your ideas and parenting philosophies are all tied up with your instincts, which means that deep down, you know how you want to parent your baby. A lot of us joke that we’re just winging it when it comes to motherhood, but the truth is, we do know what we’re doing, it’s just that we make mistakes along the way. It’s the same for you. If you can tune out all the noise, you’ll soon become acquainted with those instincts of yours and discover the answer that’s right for you.
Become adept at ‘thanks but no thanks’
If you’re not up for advice but people feel the need to give it to you anyway, come up with your stock standard line and repeat it to anyone who takes it upon themselves to offload their ideas onto you. Something like ‘Thanks but we’ve got our own ideas about sleep/crying/feeding etc and we’re happy to stick with those right now’ or the more simple ‘Thanks, we’ll take that on board’.
Know what qualifies solid research
There’s a big difference between anecdotal wisdom and evidenced based research findings. Some people will offer you strong opinions, often based on their own experiences or on old fashioned principles that no longer apply. Unlike evidenced-based information, anecdotal stories aren’t based on solid research and really have no legs to stand on, which means the advice isn’t necessarily safe or reliable. Remember, anyone can put anything they like on the world wide web, regardless of whether it’s been researched or not. Learn the trusted places to get your information from and steer clear from the ones that seem to be based on personal beliefs or flimsy grounds.
Conflicting advice doesn’t have to fry your brain
It’s true, the parenting world is full of different advice that conflicts with itself and confuses the heck out of new parents. This is just the way it is I’m afraid. But the the thing to remember is that the conflicting information doesn’t necessarily mean one point of view is wrong and one is right – it can often mean that there are different ways to look at things, and it will be up to you to find out which way suits you best. So whatever you choose isn’t a wrong way – it’s just your way.