Being pregnant for the first time is an exciting, wonderful, scary journey. There are so many special moments from getting that first positive pregnancy test (and maybe a few more, juuuust to be sure), seeing your little one on the ultrasound for the first time, to finally holding them in your arms after such a long wait.
But with new motherhood comes something you might not be looking for – random advice.
Everyone kept giving me advice I never asked for, and it was usually terrible and not in line with my values as a parent who seeks to use gentle discipline and attachment parenting principals. No one was giving me advice that actually went with my instincts. When I was exhausted and worn out after a couple weeks and my wellness nurse told me to nap in bed with my newborn I thought she was crazy. This was before I jumped into Attachment Parenting.
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As an expectant or new mom, you need GOOD advice, advice that isn’t contrary to your instincts.
So I have gathered some seasoned moms and asked them this question:
As someone interested in or practicing attachment parenting/gentle parenting, what’s
one piece of advice you wish someone actually gave you when you were expecting your first baby?
If you’re expecting a baby you need to read this. A lot of these moms have experienced unsolicited advice from people around them when really they needed the advice they’re here to offer you.
Check out their new mom advice and see how it can apply to your life.
And don’t forget to check out their blogs and follow them on Facebook.
From Ten Thousand Hour Mama
I wish someone had told me the parenting philosophy I ended up using with both my babies (and continue to use for my kids, now 2 1/2 and 4 1/2): Do what works until it doesn’t, then stop. So often we moms are caught up in so much conflicting advice that we lose sight of what feels right to us. And tons of people warn us against developing bad habits. “Don’t let your baby sleep with you; she’ll be in your bed until she moves out for college.” “Don’t hold her so much. She’ll get used to it and you won’t be able to put her down.” “Don’t nurse her to sleep—she’ll never be able to drift off on her own.” I heard all these things and worried about them. But you know what? I ended up doing what worked for my family—including bed sharing, extended breastfeeding and extensive babywearing—until they stopped working. And none of the naysayers’ doomsday predictions came true.
From Miracle Maker Mom
I wish someone would have told me to go out and learn as much as I could about being a parent while I was still expecting. It seems that everyone is pushing you to learn so much about the birth itself. That’s, in my hindsight opinion, like learning all about the flight that you’ll be on and not about the destination that you’ll be reaching. The labor and birth might last 17 or 24 hours. But then, how do you raise this child? I thought, when I was first expecting my first child, that if I just had the will power to be all positive and loving then it would all fall into place. That I’ll have parenting instincts and it will all come naturally. No. That’s not at all what happened. The only problem was that I didn’t know how much I didn’t know until everything went wrong and then, when I was up to my nose in toddler tantrums and diapers, did I need to go out and learn up all the right skills at lightening speed. It is true that a parent has a natural instinct, knowing how to raise his child, however those instincts need to developed. You need to learn how to feel those instincts.
Best advice – take a parenting course while you’re still pregnant. While you’re nursing your newborn. Before the second one arrives and you’re totally overwhelmed with a baby and a toddler. Do yourself and your children a huge favor and learn all the skills that make a great parent before you need to know then. Then you’ll know what to do right from the start. [See Lisa’s parenting course here.]
From Find Your Tribe
aWhen I was pregnant with my first child, I wish someone had told me to RESEARCH ALL THE THINGS! I was young and naive; I thought if I needed to know something my doctor would tell me. Wrong! Not only was I completely ignorant on so many things, but my doctor gave me plenty of terrible advice. (Such as, “Oh, go ahead and put rice cereal in her bottle!” Um, No!) I really wish I had invested the time in researching everything while I was pregnant. One of the many things I learned (the hard way) was that doctors aren’t all-knowing. In fact, they are misinformed on many things. It’s up to US as the mama to make ourselves informed. Research everything yourself, be open-minded to new information, and don’t believe something is 100% true just because a doctor told you so.
From Raising Bircaial Babies
I wish someone would have told me that it’s ok to trust my instincts. When I ended up following attachment parenting, (because that’s what my parenting style ended up being) I had many people tell me I was doing things wrong or I was spoiling her. They said because I co-slept she would never sleep alone (wrong), that I held her too much and she would get spoiled or be too dependent on me (wrong), or that I should let her cry it out because she would never learn (so, so wrong).
So I wish someone would have told me that you don’t have to listen to other people’s opinions, your instincts will lead you to parent the way you feel is best. Or that just because people have parented before, doesn’t mean they know better than you on how to parent your own child.
From Heavenly Treasure
I really wish I would’ve been told to let everyone take care of me! To not aim for superwoman status and just enjoy being babied while I nurse and recover! And totally wish I was told to not eat gassy foods, like eggs, dairy and cruciferous veggies, because oh my baby was so sensitive and colicky because my milk had all that crazy stuff! And lastly, I wish I would’ve known about a Young Living essential oils during my first pregnancy! My second pregnancy, labor and postpartum was sooo much better!
From Proverbs 24:26
The advice I wish someone had told me is “don’t compare” because when you look at the other new moms and their babies you’re seeing their best outside picture and have no idea what they’re dealing with on the inside. And you’re comparing that to the mess you’ve got going on inside.
From Playful Notes
The most important thing that I wish I’d known sooner in my gentle parenting journey is the power of connection. Putting connection first has totally changed the way I interact with my child! It made getting through the difficult parenting moments a lot easier.
Learning how to connect with my son every single day has made our relationship stronger. It was also the foundation for using positive discipline with my child because it helped me transform every disciplining moment into an opportunity to understand my son’s feelings and teach him how to do better in a gentle and loving way.
This is why I would love for any new mom to know how important connection is and how much it matters for raising a happy and confident child.
From Wild Unruly and Loved
One piece of advice I wished I was given when I was pregnant with my first.
Do not let fear dictate your parenting. I was afraid that I would be seen as a “bad mom” if I didn’t conform to what society was doing. Many suggestions given to me were not made for my use or didn’t fit in my heart correctly but I felt obligated to try them because they came from parents further on the road than I. I learned that parenting out of fear of what others thought wasn’t parenting and it was hurting my authentic relationship with my child. Just because someone tells you “I did this and everyone turned out okay” does not mean it is meant for you to implement.
Parenting is trusting your instincts but also trusting yourself. Your connection with your children is unique, you don’t need to parent like everyone else.
Thirsty for More?
I hope you were able to take away something useful from the experiences of these moms. A big thank you to the ladies who contributed to this post. If you have a different piece of advice feel free to drop it down in the comments so we can all learn from each other.
My favourite tip from these moms was that they mentioned learning as much as you can, especially when you are still pregnant. When I was pregnant I was researching about birth all the time, but I never learnt about parenting or even considered the “different” ways of doing things. I’m so glad I already had a foundation of positive discipline from studying Early Childhood Education, but I didn’t know how to apply that knowledge to being a parent. Taking a course would have really helped me out and prepared me for this amazing, complicated, messy, beautiful journey of motherhood!
You don’t have to be pregnant and in the dark about parenting though. I have a free course for you to introduce you to Gentle Parenting. The course is called, “Gentle Foundations for Parenting,” and I would love for you to sign up below to equip you with more knowledge about parenting in a gentle, peaceful and positive way.