Five pieces of ‘New Baby’ advice I disagree with

I’m Bryony and I blog here at Bryony – Perfectly Imperfect Mama. I’m a single mother of three and began blogging because I’d just had my third child alone, was feeling very isolated, I had post natal depression and I didn’t know how to express my emotions after dealing with a pregnancy in the dark.

Below are some pieces of advice I have felt to be a little outdated, parents should be able to do what they think is best for their child.

1. Breast is best

No, this is incorrect.

Yes, I understand breast has many fabulous points to it, such as, milk that adapts to the baby and contains water, fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals and amino acids. It has white blood cells, antibodies, enzymes and many other substances that boost your baby’s immune defenses – all incredible things the body can do – however, what if a woman is unable to breastfeed? What if there’s no support or the education to help her? Formula feed is a fantastic substitute – a fed baby is a happy baby. A fed baby is a living baby. Fed is best. Information is best.

My story in regards to this is that I have combine fed two of my children, my first was ill with Strep B and I was young, scared but attempted to express breastmilk for her tubes – I didn’t produce enough so she had formula. I felt guilty. Sad. I also felt relief as I had women say to me “Oh, I wouldn’t breastfeed” and it made me feel like it wasn’t a good thing to do.

My son had breast milk for the first three days but I just wasn’t producing enough – he was a hungry baby and now aged 5 years old still is! He was both breast and formula fed as a top up.

On day three of his life I knew he was still hungry after feeds, he was still searching for food (hands to his mouth) and restless – I gave him formula – only this time I felt guilty. I felt sad. As I had women say to me “Oh, I wouldn’t bottle feed” and it made me feel like it wasn’t a good thing to do.

Do you see the pattern emerging? Whatever you do, there will be dispute with another human so always listen to your instincts.

With my third baby (after the best labour I had ever had due to mindset and just knowing I made this baby, I’ve done it before I can do it again) I knew I would breast and bottle feed, which the staff on the ward judged me for, one of the Midwives came in and said to me “you should only do one or the other, if you give formula feed that’ll strip all the goodness of the breast,” and she said this while I was sat, vulnerable and alone in my room – now, had she of said this to me with my first baby I would’ve felt all kinds of feelings such as “I shouldn’t express, I should give formula, I’m ruining my infants life” but with experience comes confident, I was confident in what I was doing and what my body was capable of doing and replied with “ok” much to her annoyance.

 

2 Sleep when the baby sleeps

Technically not horrific advice as it’s actually a good thing to do, women who have just given birth need to sleep, your body has gone through a mammoth, exhausting – both physically and emotionally – task.

The only reason why I say this is bad advice is because if you have more than one child it isn’t feasible as you have another child to run after, meals to cook, house to keep, maybe even a job etc.

Sometimes, just sleeping when baby sleeps is impossible and it’s quite depressing when people say it because do you wash the dishes when the baby washes the dishes or exercise when baby does. It’s just expectations difficult to always fulfill.

 

3. Don’t give them a dummy

Dummies (pacifiers) seem to cause many disagreements with people, personally, I think do what you want if you’re comfortable with it – I don’t agree with newborns having them but everyone is different.

My eldest didn’t have a dummy for the first six weeks and had horrific colic. It was exhausting. After six weeks I gave her a dummy which calmed her down and she had it for a couple of months, problem solved. If it helps you survive – do it. My other two didn’t but they didn’t need the extra support.

 

4. Don’t co sleep

Ok, so a hard subject to discuss as safety wise we have to be realistic with a newborn but I have older children and I see no issue with them wanting to sleep in my bed at night for comfort. They are your babies and won’t do it forever.

Babies should be slept in a clear sleep space, which is easy to create in a cot/Moses basket/baby box.

Some parents choose to bed share with their babies. This means that their baby shares the same bed with an adult for most of the night, and not just to be comforted or fed. Some parents also choose to sleep with their baby in other places.

For safer co-sleeping:

  • Keep pillows, sheets, blankets away from your baby or any other items that could obstruct your baby’s breathing or cause them to overheat. A high proportion of infants who die as a result of SIDS are found with their head covered by loose bedding.
  • See here for Lullaby Trust for safer sleep advice to reduce the risk of SIDS such as sleeping baby on their back.
  • Avoid letting pets or other children in the bed
  • Make sure baby won’t fall out of bed or get trapped between the mattress and the wall

 

5. Boys can only wear blue and girls can only wear pink

Hear me out, historically from what I know blue is for boys and pink is for girls – it’s what people do for gender reveals, it’s how people show other people what gender the baby is when born… What just annoys me is how people are still set in their ways of how these colours should signify anything when a baby should be able to wear what it wants – it’s a baby!

 

At the end of the day we all have differing opinions and that’s what makes us human.

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