What to do with all of that advice!
If it hasn't happened yet, it will. You might be in line at the shops, going for a walk, minding your own business in your own front yard or struggling with the nappy bag, pram, newborn and the groceries when someone who you don't know will give you advice you didn't ask for. This can start during pregnancy but it goes to a whole other level when you have a baby. Trust me! I remember with my own firstborn, sooo many people came up to me and said "Oh, they grow up so fast..." it got to a point where, although I did not say this out loud, I remember thinking "would you just get a life!" But then it happened. He grew up. And it happened so fast.
So, here is my advice on what to do with all that advice.
Listen, filter, smile, say “thank you so very much” and move on
Some advice will be bad advice. Seriously, you might even find yourself wondering if what they have suggested is legal! It won't suit you, it won't suit your child, it may be hard to believe it ever suited anyone at any time or anywhere and yet, it has been said. Smile sweetly, say "thank you so very much" and get on your way. Don't dwell on it or let it bother you. Mark it as "junk" and don't give it another thought.
Some advice will be frustrating advice. As in, you will think to yourself "really, you think I haven't thought of that! Do I look like I am stupid or something!!" It will be so obvious, so main stream, so simple that you will feel insulted that someone thought it necessary to say it out loud. Smile sweetly, say "thank you so very much" and go on your way. Don't dwell on it or let it bother you. Don't take it personally, just move on.
Do I look that stupid?
Some advice might sound good initially, but as you filter it through you realise that it won't suit you/your child/your situation or whatever. Smile sweetly, say "thank you so very much" and go on your way. Tuck it away perhaps for another child/situation, but no point dwelling on something that is not for now.
Because. Because every now and then, once in a while, there is a piece of advice that is pure gold. That is outstanding. That is a lightbulb moment when you wonder "why didn't I think of that!" Or "Of course! Yes, that might work for us!!" and it helps. It actually helps. The world is a better place, a problem is solved if not forever then for now and it makes such a difference.
That might actually work…
Hmm, why didn’t I think of that!
I am an optimist. I believe the best of people. I believe that even the scary advice people are trying to help. Trying to give you the benefit of their journey, letting you know what worked for them in the hope that it might help you. I believe that this is the village trying to raise the child. OK, I will concede that there are some folk whose motives are not pure, but still my advice to you is the same. Smile sweetly, say "thank you so very much" and move on.
In the meanwhile, if you want some good advice, there is a load of good, practical advice which lines up with the best of what we currently know on websites such as parentline (as well as some telephone advice available) raising children, pregnancy, birth & baby, possums and Triple P.
If you like books, Becoming Mum by Dr Koa Whittingham, PhD is a good read. If you have an unsettled child, I recommend The discontented little baby book by Dr Pamela Douglas. There are apps for that—What were we thinking and Mind the Bump
As for the numerous health professionals who give different, confusing and sometimes conflicting advice, my advice is the same. Filter it. See if it suits you and your child. Ask them what they are basing their advice on—current scientific evidence? Years of experience? Their own child? No one knows it all. We all make mistakes. Evidence shifts, advice changes, the world moves on.
Chart your own course, with only two absolutes that I recommend: don't abuse and don't neglect your child. If you are having trouble with either of these, please get help.