Who are they really?
You know — the proverbial “they” — doctors, lawyers, friends, family…experts! Whether you are a parent, a chef, a designer, or a sanitation worker, it seems that they are always there to dole out their pearls of advice. So do we listen to them, follow what they say? Do we dismiss it like a teenager does parental advice? How do we trust that they are right? Frankly, I don’t have the answer for you.
Before I gave birth to Man I had no idea how to take care of a baby. Unless you are a member of the Duggar family and have about 20 little brothers and sisters, chances are you probably didn’t know much either… But they do!
From the minute Man popped out, breast-feeding was a problem. Without getting into too many details, everything seemed difficult—from my ability to give to his ability to take. They seemed to have all of the answers. Nurses, doctors, lactation specialists, professional basketball players—EVERYONE had advice, most of if unsolicited, and all of it delivered in hushed tones, quoting the proverbial they. They say if you put him on the bottle he will never want to breast-feed. They say you can finger-feed him breast milk until he is strong enough to suck (I found this advice particularly daunting). They say that you should just feed him formula from the bottle because he can’t go this long without food. They say the best formula is… My head was spinning; I had no idea which they I should be listening to. Instead of giving me comfort, all this wisdom actually made me feel terrible, scared, and more anxious about being a new mom than I already was.
Sleep was another source of suffering for my husband and I. They said that you should stop swaddling your baby at three months. Man loved his swaddle; when we finally forced him off of it at four months (because they said we had to) it set off a chain of events that resulted in three months of sleepless hell. Obviously they were wrong! He was a joy until the moment we stopped swaddling him! I began to look for more books on how to help solve Man’s sleep problem, but of course they had strong opinions on what books I should read. And of course, each new book I read would offer completely contradictory advice to the previous one, and they had me confused yet again.
They say Man should always sleep on his stomach; then they say he should always sleep on his back. Um, he moves in his sleep, how do I have control over this? They say he should get a bath every other day, and then they say it should really be only twice a week. He is a MESS every evening—sticky, dirty, sometimes covered in dog hair—how am I supposed to ignore this and not bathe him? No peanut butter until after his first birthday; no juice, only water. Until about a week ago he HATED water but isn’t hydration the key? If I need to spike four ounces of water with a half-ounce of juice, I’m okay with that.
They say a lot of things, and in the end I don’t think they know what they are talking about. The only one I realty trust is myself. I know Man better than anyone. Guess what else they say? It’s impolite to give unsolicited advice.
What do they tell you??