My good friend Liz just had her first child. As I sit with her, I can't help but start to spout of suggestions and advice as if having two kids makes me the guru in swaddling, teething and pre-schools. So I stop myself remembering what it was like to be a new mum and feel inundated with advice I didn't ask for or want. Truthfully, most of the advice I got wasn't even good or helpful. Everybody's baby is different and there is no rules that one must follow in order to have a perfect child.
So if you're a new mum, the only advice I'm going to give you is to tell you what NOT to listen to. Trust me, I know. It took me 6 years to figure out nobody actually sleeps when her baby sleeps. There's too much to do!
1) SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS. The only people doing this are people who don't have to follow this advice: do laundry when your baby sleeps, pee when your baby sleeps and shower when your baby sleeps. So yeah, no one's doing this.
2) GIVE YOUR BABY BENADRYL ON A FLIGHT. Don't do this. Not because I said so, because your doctor said so! On a long flight with your screaming baby do what every other new Mum does, count the moments until it's over and vow never to fly with a baby that little again.
3) PUT BRANDY ON YOUR BABY'S GUMS FOR TEETHING. Put Brandy on your gums when your baby is teething, but maybe wait a few years (like 21) to give your kid booze.
4) IF YOUR BABY ISN'T SWADDLED, HE WON'T SLEEP. No, your baby won't sleep even if he is swaddled.
5) WHEN YOU HAVE A BABY ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS NEST. Actually, some new mums don't even want to use the word, "nest."
6) WHEN INTRODUCING SOLIDS, MIX EVERYTHING WITH SWEET POTATO. A personal favourite of mine, this advice had me mixing everything my son ate with sweet potato as if anybody wants to eat banana and sweet potato.
7) SLOWLY BOUNCE YOUR BABY TO SLEEP, THEN PUT HER IN HER CRIB. Another doozy that had me bouncing my newborn for hours on end only to put him down and not be able to get my hand out from under him. Only bounce your baby to sleep if you enjoy sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome. Otherwise, teach your baby to go to sleep on his or her own.
8) TRIM YOUR BABY'S NAILS WHILE THEY ARE SLEEPING. It takes an hour to get a baby to sleep. What makes you think it'll sleep through a manicure?
9) PUT YOUR BABY TO SLEEP IN A NOISY AREA SO THEY DON'T NEED IT TO BE QUIET TO SLEEP. I'm a grown-up and I need it to be quiet to sleep. Why does my baby have to sleep in an area noisier than a Best-Buy?
10) YOUR BABY SHOULD BE SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT AT 3 MONTHS. There's always some new Mum bragging about how her baby slept through the night when he was a few months old. Don't believe her. She's lying. And she's been up all night. Your baby will sleep through the night by college. Before that, who knows?