run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Tuesday 13 October 2015

The worst parenting advice... that you won't be able to avoid

Here's a fact: from the first time you step onto the Tube wearing a 'Baby on Board' sign, strangers believe you are the Leading News Story of the Day: that is, something to judge, discuss, interrogate, and rebuke.

Where previously you will have been able to walk down a street and exchange nothing more than a nod with a passer-by or two, now, as a parent, you are public property. The lady sitting next to me on a bus last week decided to 'advise' me that my five-month-old baby shouldn't be on public transport because "it's not safe". When I politely suggested that, as his mother, it was my decision, she responded, 'I pay for the public services you'll need if he catches something on-board so it's mine too.' 

Luckily, my stop came up before I could chuck a cold bottle of water in her face.

Here, after crowdsourcing on Facebook, parents of babies and children reveal the unwanted advice that strangers (and mothers-in-laws) just can't help offering... 

"My health visitor told me, 'you're too middle class' when I told her that I was doing baby-led weaning and my child had eaten pepper sticks and avocado that day.. She told me to give him vanilla ice cream instead... No thanks!"

"'If you keep your (8-month-old) baby in that forward-facing buggy, she will look at the sun and go blind'. Thanks mad old bat waiting to cross the road, I'll go home and buy another buggy immediately."

"When I was six-months pregnant with my first baby, I was talking to my mother-in-law about the things I had bought for the baby, and that I didn't want the cot to be built yet as I was supersticious. She said, 'well if anything bad happens you can then sell it on eBay!"

"My son was born at 13.13, and had extra digits on each hand too.."Ooh" exclaimed the midwife, "Are you sure you don't want to call him Damien!"

"I was in a GP's waiting room on a sweltering-hot day. My six-week old baby was wearing a sleeveless vest top; he was crying, as he did constantly for the first three months, when the lady next to me said, "maybe he's hot". I replied 'of course he's hot, we all are. Short of stripping him naked I can't do anything more to cool him down in here..."

"A relative said to me as I fed my six-month-year-old: 'don't you think you should give up breast feeding now he is weaning as you're going to get all saggy?" Umm - thanks and f**k off."

"'You need to go on a parenting course' - my health visitor told me on watching my two-year-old son. It turned out he had autism."

"When my baby was six days old, the health visitor came. 'Your baby is hungry, he is rooting,' she said. Then, 'He is still hungry, he is rooting..' Then, 'Goodness you have a hungry one he is rooting again ....' (She stayed for an hour). Feeling under pressure, I fed him each time. As she put her shoes on to leave, my newborn threw up everywhere ....with a stomach the size of a marble she made me feed him until he nearly drowned!'

"Before I started weaning my baby, my mother-in-law kept asking, 'can't I just let him taste some chocolate cake icing from my finger?' No, no you can't!"

"Cover your upper body up with a sweater or shawl when you're breast feeding, in case your milk gets cold," I was told. "And don't eat ice cream while breast feeding as the baby will catch a cold. And, don't drink anything fizzy as that will give baby gas..."

"A stranger saw me making up a bottle and said, 'it's better to give your baby breastmilk with alcohol in it than formula.' I just responded, 'Yeah cool, I'm just gonna make up a bottle now, see you later!'"

"I had post-natal depression after my boy was born. He was in intensive care for five days after birth and tube fed. Then he developed reflux and was generally a difficult baby. At nine weeks he hadn't smiled and the health visitor said, 'well he hasn't got much to smile about'.. That comment caused me months of trauma."

"You're delaying his brain development by continuing to feed him yourself" - my health-visitor when my son was three-months old.

"I've been staying with family the last few days, and my four-week old was uncomfortable. Turns out he had trapped wind, so I rubbed his tummy and he did a massive poop. But this is what the family suggested was the cause in the meantime: 'baby got trapped wind cause you've been eating lentils, peas, and sweetcorn'. 'Don't eat too quick.' 'Don't eat bananas'. Don't wash dishes and if you must use gloves. Hands in water will give baby a cold.' My ears started to bleed listening to so much crap!"

"A stranger asked me if my baby was still breathing in the sling .... I felt like saying, no, I bring her up for air every 30 seconds.."

"When my daughter was about two-and-a-half and started to exhibit, shall we say, 'challenging behaviour, my step dad asked in all seriousness "so when do you start the hitting?" As if this was a natural step to take.."

"'Sleep when they sleep,' everyone says to me, all the time. What. If. They. Never. Sleep?"

"I don't think you should take your baby daughter swimming, I'm a retired midwife and in my day that's how people caught polio."

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