If you’re new around here, being a parent means becoming a sounding board for unsolicited advice everywhere and anywhere you turn. In line at the grocery store? Someone has thoughts about the snack you’re buying for your kiddo. The couple next to you knows the key to newborn sleep. Walking down the street minding your own business? You bet your neighbor knows exactly how you should wean your baby.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Ah, the age-old parenting myth that you should be getting some shut eye during your little one’s nap schedules. We don’t need to go into detail on this one because we know you get it. When you finally do get your babe to sleep, there are likely 500 other things on your to-do list you want to tackle. Or maybe you just want to sit on the couch and stare into oblivion. You do you.
Don’t bribe your kids.
Parenting is hard and sometimes the promise of extra screen time or a special prize is necessary. We’re not suggesting you use rewards for everything your little one does, but the point is, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Positive reinforcement can work great for toddler bedtimes, potty training, and those moments where you really just need five meltdown-free minutes.
Let them cry it out.
We know you’ve heard this one, let your baby cry it out / don’t pick them up too much / don’t rock them to sleep, you’ll spoil them. While this approach can work for some families and infants, it’s not for everyone. If you can’t listen to your baby cry for 10 minutes every night, we totally get it. Also, you absolutely cannot spoil a baby by cuddling them too much.
Schedules are everything.
Hear us out. Schedules are definitely super important and helpful, but it’s not realistic that you’re going to follow a rigid schedule every single day during those first few months (and years!). It’s important to integrate baby into your life instead of avoiding trips, family gatherings and other activities that might interfere with sleep or feeding schedules.
Never wake a sleeping baby.
Again with the hard-and-fast rules. When it comes to parenting, never say never. There are reasons you should wake a sleeping baby—to feed, if nap time is blending into bedtime, if naps are becoming too long etc. Whatever works for your baby is exactly what you should be doing.
Yep, you heard us right. You have our permission (not that you need anyone’s permission) to ignore all that unsolicited parenting advice and trust your instincts. You may think as a first time parent that you don’t know anything about raising a tiny human, but you do know your baby. You’ll learn to trust your gut and 99.9% of the time, you’ll probably be right. You are the best advocate for your baby.