Good baby advice I ignored
From nurses to nannies, everyone has an opinion. Here’s what I chose to follow.
Having a new baby is a bit like being lost in a strange new city. Everyone seems to know where you should be going and how to get there. You could quite easily end up feeling more lost than ever.
I was particularly unnerved to realise that some of the advice given by health care practitioners in particular was either outdated or sadly, based on their own views and agendas. To help other new moms, I have compiled a list of the bits of advice that worked – and didn't – for me.
Advice that didn't work
1. Baby nails: I was told that I didn't need to cut my baby's nails as they were harmless anyway. Well, unless you want your baby's face covered in scratches and you yourself want to avoid being hurt – invest in the right kind of scissors and just be careful when cutting baby's nails.
2. Reflux: I think it is the new colic - an easy diagnosis for a condition that isn’t really understood. If your baby cries a lot, seems uncomfortable, sleeps poorly and spits – be prepared for him to be diagnosed with reflux. The medication prescribed was impossible to prepare and difficult to administer. After a few weeks, we realised that it also made no difference.
3. Colic drops: Our clinic nurse told me emphatically that these drops (which you can buy at any supermarket or pharmacy) were the devil's own juice and responsible for creating gas and abdominal pain. We used to put a few drops on baby's dummy and it would instantly relax him. I relayed the nurse’s message but my husband refused to stop using the remedy. Because it works. (Hard to argue with that).
4. Dummy: Our baby clinic nurse was set against dummies. But it isn’t always practical (or pleasant) to haul out a breast to soothe the baby – that's when the pacifier comes in very handy.
5. Nappy rash: After his bath and during every nappy change, I use the hair dryer to blow dry affected the area. This is much faster than letting him lie without a nappy on for twenty minutes (the nurse's advice), especially in the middle of winter.
Advice that worked
I must admit that some of the best advice and help that I was given did come from the nurses and paediatricians.
1. Cracked nipples: Advice from our baby clinic nurse rates tops here. Sit in the sun, bare-breasted for a few minutes. The sun appears to dry out the infected area and it heals within hours!
2. Colic: There isn't enough paper in the world to list all the remedies and advice we were offered. The thing that worked best, though, was a visit to a chiropractor who came highly recommended by friends. Baby improved instantly.
3. Keep breastfeeding: You may think your milk isn’t good enough (a common fear among new mothers, apparently.) The nurse assured me that as long as baby was gaining weight, the breastmilk was fine – I’m glad I took this advice and breastfed as long as possible.
4. Solid food: Although commonly believed babies should only eat solid food after six months, our paediatrician said it was ok from four months. We tried rice and then maize porridge – found that baby loved it and slept much better at night.
5. Regulate feeds: This advice, from an internet doctor, was spot on. As babies get older (four months), it may become necessary to regulate the feeds (every three to four hours), especially if baby spits up a lot and is clearly suffering discomfort. It worked for us.
Babies are different though. What works for one, does not work for the other. I think every mom starts out listening to all the advice, finally realising that it is baby who will lead the way. Sooner or later you find out what works – and what does not work – for you and your baby.
What was the best baby advice you followed – or ignored?