Parenting Advice: Straight from the Mamas Mouth

You can read all the parenting books you like, but sometimes the best advice is from real mothers with experience. I asked my friends and members of Facebook pages I'm involved in what advice they had for other mothers, some of the best are listed here below. Have you got any advice you'd like to pass on?
Never listen to Comparison Parents. Don't listen to those parents who tell you, "well at that age my child was already doing this". All children are different and you will go insane thinking your child isn't developing fast enough. You know your child. They'll do their thing in their own time. No need to have a pissing contest, because no one really wins those.
Every kid develops at their own pace. Don't try to make them advance when they aren't ready, just because someone elses kid is doing something new. Don't even compare your kids to each other.
Kids have their own personalities. Embrace them instead of trying to make them conform to a "norm".
While a parent shouldn't stress if their kid is doing things slower than others, a parent should listen to their gut if they think something's wrong or "off" with those delays. I knew something was off with Corbin since he was first born but I let other's convince me he was fine. Now, he's needing therapy in 4 areas. I should have listened to my mommy senses. I guess that's my advice… when your mommy senses tingle... listen.
That's the best advice, I think: Trust yourself. Always, always trust your gut and trust your baby, (s)he knows what (s)he needs. Trust your body and your baby and go with your gut even if everyone else is telling you something else! I always wished I wouldn't have listened to anyone else.
Expect the unexpected and let go of your preconcieved ideas of how you thought everything would work. Do not get too hung up on how you THOUGHT everything was going to be or how you were going to do things. It's great to be prepared and have a good idea of what you'd like to do, but kids are still people with their own minds and preferences and just because you wanted to cosleep or babywear doesn't mean they're going to cooperate if they don't like it.
Don't waste time reading a million parenting books, just do what feels right. Authors just want to make money, and babes really just want their moms/dads. (I don't mean don't research the important stuff, like vaccines and circumcision, etc). Learn the art of being assertive so you don't get too much unwanted advice. HA!
Don't bother getting into debates, it's not worth it, do your research.
Don't believe hyped up parenting articles in the media. The media will over dramatize and spin any piece of info they get their hands on (whether parenting related or not). Do your own research, investigate the sources, read the studies or info yourself, and form your own opinion.
Be truly informed on all of those big decisions. My biggest regrets come from wishing I knew the things I know now. Not a lot of people know about delayed cord clamping, amber teething necklaces, and of course the big decisions like BFing and all of that stuff. I was just thinking about that today.
I wish I had been better educated about breastfeeding. I thought I knew enough but when I was faced with a low supply I had no idea what to do. My mom nursed my brother and I for about 4 years total so it never registered I wouldn't be able to as well. I wish I never would have let the nurse in the hospital coax me into giving some formula. I know she meant well especially since she gave me an SNS to do it but I should have trusted my body and just nursed every 20 min if that's what it took. I wish I would have know BF babies gain slowly and weigh less generally and not believe my former pedi when she said I needed to supplement after every feeding.
The time you invest in on demand breastfeeding in the first few weeks is time well spent on building your supply longterm.
Eat more than you think you need when you start nursing.
Always have a cup of water by you when you sit down to nurse.
I really wish someone would have recognized that I had PPD symptoms so I could have enjoyed those first months.
Take help if it's offered by people you trust. It's okay to accept help when you bring your baby home. I wanted everyone to go away because I felt like I wasn't good enough if I accepted help. When the second came along, everyone was too busy when I really did want the help.
Have an on call support system that is willing to be there 24/7 if a partner is not. One single phone call of venting will save your sanity. I promise!
Get your church or your friends or parents to cook you a few meals and bring them round to your house ready and complete a few nights in your first few weeks with a new born. It's a life saver to have a nice meal you can both enjoy at the end of a chaotic day. Organise that for friends who are having babies in return. At our church we do that for the first two weeks every evening for EVERY new family regardless if it's first baby or third!
Freeze enough meals to last the first couple of weeks. Homemade frozen pizzas, hot dishes, even fruits and vegetables.
Stay in your bed for the first few weeks. Although I didn't do it, I look back now and wished I had. I didn't know about growth spurts like I do now. I can promise with my next baby, every single time I hear a wimper, they will get the breast ;-).
Don't make your house perfectly quiet when baby sleep or he/she will always have to be perfectly quiet when sleeping!
My first few months were saved by A SOUND MACHINE AND SWADDLING till she was almost 6 months. She didn't fit the swaddles anymore and refused it. She was a huge reflux baby. It was so hard. But her Rock and play saved our ass til she was 10 months.
Sleep when your baby sleeps or you'll get nothing.
I wish I'd understood that co-sleeping was safe and that it was way more dangerous to try and sit up feeding my son three times a night. I wish I would have left her in our bed, I used to ball because she didn't want to sleep alone and I worried about co-sleeping being unsafe.
Don't bother buying crib sheet sets. You end up using a fitted sheet and swaddling blanket or lightly blanketing the baby. Those EXPENSIVE sets are a waste!
Teething tablets...saved our lives!
Kiddie-lock every cupboard, room or door that contains non-kid stuff.
Rearranging the house entirely so everything is out of reach of little hand, it will keep you from nagging when they're too little to understand that they're doing anything wrong or could get hurt.
Kiss the battery covers from your remote controls goodbye. Also, kiss your remote controls goodbye.
Have a pack or two of wipes in every room, every crevice, everywhere. Kids are sticky...very, very sticky. You will need a "preparing for possible nuclear armageddon" quantity of baby wipes.
Get used to poop… quick.
Buy dark or patterned clothing for kids, especially boys. Whether it's food, drink, dribble, spit up, dirt, grass stains, pee or poop, your kids clothes are going to take a beating and stains are inevitable.
Make sure you put a plastic protector over your childs mattress as soon as you buy it. Add one for your bed too unless you KNOW you can keep your kids out of it. All the kid beds in this house have mattress protectors so guess which one has the big old pee stain in it.
Splurge and get the stain guard on that new couch you bought before you had kids.
Accept that you don't get to have nice things right now. I'm hoping we can own a couch that hasn't been peed on in maybe 4 or 5 more years.
Buy a house with wooden flooring rather than carpet, babies and kids are VERY messy, they'll spit-up, throw food, trod mud, pee and poo on the floor, and a wooden or tiled floor is a lot easier to clean than carpet. Not to mention dust mites that live in carpet can irritate kids allergies.
Make sure you own a handheld vacuum! I never owned one before and it never occurred to me to get one until my boy started walking. Walking + finger foods = random piles of crumbs in the oddest of places. Why pull out the big vacuum for 1 little patch of madness? It's the greatest purchase I've made as a parent.
You can never have enough bibs! They are always useful!
Forget the little "burp cloths", invest in receiving blankets, LOTs of receiving blankets! We used them for EVERYTHING except wrapping the baby...:-)
Those battery power snot sucker things are one of few examples of frivolous gadgets that are actually pretty awesome.
Always bring at least one change of clothes for the little one (even if they're potty trained).
Consignment stores / hand-me-downs are your friends! Young kids clothes do not wear out, and most things aren't worth full price when they only wear them for 3 months tops (or about 6 times an outfit). Not counting receiving blankets, they are worth their weight in gold!
Cut your baby's or children's fingernails when they're asleep.
Take quiet activities for your kids when you go places that your kids will be expected to be quiet and semi-still (like restaurants).
If you pick a toy for your kid, make sure you can stand the music/voice/whatever. If it's a gift and you can't handle the noise, make the batteries disappear.
Choose your battles carefully! With small children - no reasonable request refused!
Don't freak out over every little thing your child does. Three rules for your child can suffice; respect yourself, respect others, and respect possessions. Chances are, if it's not breaking one of those 3 rules, it's really not that big of a deal.
To cut down on the toddler 'NO!s' don't let 'no' be an option. Don't dictate to your children, give them options. Peas or carrots? Boots or Tennis shoes? Brush your teeth in the kitchen or the bathroom? This piece of advice is definitely the all time best piece of advice I've gotten.
Always have some way to reach snack/meal. I made my own baby food, but used organic biscuits and healthy stuff to placate them until they got food.
The book 'Super Baby Food' was a lifesaver. I made so many great meals because of that book. I kind of credit it for my kids loving vegetables. A warning: no one should ever be as anal retentive as the author, unless it has to do with our ANUS.
I wish I would have known that making baby food was not only healthier, but cheaper in the long run.
Add an hour onto the amount of time you'll need to get ready. If you have to be anywhere at a certain time, think of how much time you need to get ready....then add an hour to that and you'll get there on time.
Don't buy everything people tell you that you need.
Take more pictures than you could ever think of. Not just pictures but videos too!!
Don't feel bad about the crappy days (they will happen). Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start. WE ARE NOT PERFECT. No parent is.
It's okay to just not like your kids sometimes or even entertain the brief fantasy of running away or leaving them somewhere. You're not a bad parent unless you actually act on it.
Space your pregnancies at least 3 years apart. We ended up with 3 boys 1 ½ years apart each, and it's chaos! For your own sanity space pregnancies apart at a manageable level.
Try to enjoy your babies, they won't be little very long! No matter how hard it is just remember "this too shall pass" and it will, QUICKLY!
Don't keep your kid isolated from the world when they're babies, kids need exposure to the world and other people.
You don't have to entertain or occupy your child at all times. Giving them independent play time is important for their development AND your sanity!
Take time off from your kids. Let the grandparents or friends take your kid if they offer. Your child will be fine.
Have Nana (or another major caregiver) look after baby once a week or more just for a few hours, right from birth. We did this with our first born Alex, and he developed such a strong, close relationship with his Nana, was very comfortable as baby going to her house, and as he got older pined to go stay with her. Make it a routine though, the same everytime, babies love a routine where they know what'll happen next. If you want to increase the hours they stay with their caregiver do so slowly, gradually increasing the length they stay by the hour.
Talk to your parents before baby is born and set boundaries! Be firm about visitor guidelines.
Your spouse/significant other can do things differently than you and it will not harm the baby. Just because you feed/burp/change the baby a certain way does not mean that is the only way to do it. If you insist on stepping in every time to "correct" what s/he is doing you are either going to quickly find yourself without any help or (as in my case) get a "talking to" about being a little less of a control freak.
Just because your friends parent differently or have different rules, does not mean you need to step in and correct them (unless they are truly being negligent and/or abusive). I had a friend tell me I was doing everything wrong everytime I saw her, and that I needed to have kids when she said I needed to have kids.
If one parent feels EXTREMELY passionate about something safety related, the other parent pretty much concedes. ie: in my husbands family, it's tradition to get a photo of the grandpa with the infant 'standing' on his hand, arm outstretched. Since we all know how good 5 or 6 month old babies are on their feet, I said that was NOT happening with my kids. I had to tell them no so many times and still caught my FIL trying it once. I said if he let go of her waist and went against my wishes, it would mean me losing trust for him and he would never get it back. He didn't let go. My husband talked to him about it again afterwards. They are stubborn, stubborn people. Hubby feels this way about infant ear piercing. Not until she is old enough to understand what it is and that it will hurt. Fine. No problem.
It's totally okay to try something and then decide it's not really for your family. We did cloth for a while, but different changes made it harder and harder for us to keep up with it.
For the dads: If you sit on your ass and watch the kids' mother struggle to feed, bathe, put to bed as the house devolves into an indoor landfill, don't turn to her at the end of it and put the moves on her or ask if she's up for it. It ain't happening and you're lucky if you don't end up with a kick to the balls.
No birth control!!! Use condoms instead. You don't need more hormones and crap going on afterward. You got enough going on.
Make a habit of reading to your kids right from birth. Feedings are an excellent time for reading. They don't care what you read. It can be a magazine, a cereal box, a children's book, or just whatever you are currently reading. They need to hear your voice and reading to them helps develop their early grammar, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
Talk to your kids like they're actual human beings. Don't dumb down your language, please don't baby talk to them!
Let them make mistakes over and over again without doing it FOR them but being there with them guiding them. I am notorious for saying, "here, let me get that for you" for example, buttoning his pants, pouring juice, etc. And I saw Leslie mention it earlier, but the control freak is a big issue - if there is conflict in parenting styles there will be conflict in how the kiddo responds, and I know this first hand as well. 5 years into it, and I am just learning to not doubt my husband and "correct" him in front of our dude.
Apologize to your kids when you do something wrong. I don't know why, but I feel like this is important. It's a way of treating your kids with respect.
It is very important early on to teach your child a strong sense of self worth. Let them know that the only opinions about them that matter are those that come from within themselves.
When you look at your child, really SEE them. Look them in the eyes. Smile genuinely at them. It is easy for us to focus on managing our children instead of interacting with them. I'm not perfect at this but I try to remind myself of it daily.
Did you find this helpful? What advice do you have?

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  1. I really appreciate the practical knowledge it the article. You can tell it's not only theory but down to earth.

  2. Great read!! Love reading your blog! Keep posting good stuff like this.