LONDON — “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” “Stop holding the baby so much!” “I did THIS and my kids turned out fine!” These are just a few of the most annoying pieces of advice new parents are given after having a baby.
“You must have a second baby soon,” and “You’re not holding them correctly” are also featured in the top 40 list of irritating guidance given to moms and dads in the first six months of raising an infant. The findings come from a survey of 1,000 British parents with children anywhere from being newborn to age 7.
Researchers say the average new mom or dad will receive more than 200 pieces of “useful” advice by the time their baby reaches its half-year milestone. In fact, 44 percent receive the first suggestion as soon as they told people they were expecting a baby. And those who were given tips had to grimace through an average of NINE tips from well-meaning friends, family members and strangers — each week.
As such, 24 percent say they were completely overwhelmed with people telling them how they should feed, sleep, eat, exercise and behave. And the most irritating pointers come from eager over 50s, who delivered 64 percent of the advice doled out. The research was commissioned by baby brand Ergobaby.
“It can be hard to navigate all the conflicting opinions the modern world throws at us,” an Ergobaby spokesperson tells South West News Service in a statement. “Your whole life is changing and it’s hard to tell which tidbits are useful, which are outdated, which are helpful, and which could be harmful. Added to this, for many aspects of parenting there is no right or wrong answer. What works for one child may not for another. All families are different, and while there are some universal truths, almost every parent will experience their child’s first months differently.”
And it seems moms-to-be receive the most advice. Before baby even came along, 37 percent were told “breast is best” when it comes to feeding. Another 41 percent were told to “bank” their sleep as they “won’t sleep once the baby’s born.” In contrast, only 17 percent of men were told the same.
Comments on the size and shape of bumps were rife, with 39 percent of women receiving comments on the size of their stomach. Meanwhile, 36 percent were told the shape and height meant a particular sex of baby. And 33 percent were encouraged to pile their plates high at mealtimes as they were now “eating for two.”
But it’s not just mums suffering the effects of misplaced “help,” as 32 per cent of parents-to-be were told ad nauseam to enjoy their freedom now, as life was about to change forever. Thirty-one percent were also told “it goes by so fast make sure you appreciate every minute!”
More than a quarter (27 percent) of parents polled, via OnePoll, believe unsolicited pieces of advice come from know-it-alls who can’t help giving out advice, even if it’s not wanted. But the same amount think some people just want to be included in the process.
“People will have different motivations for wanting to give advice but most genuinely are trying to be helpful, even if they don’t always succeed,” the Ergobaby spokesperson notes “Those who have gone through struggles before want to help their loved ones through it all. The joys and jobs of parenting are endless and having people by your side can make a real, positive difference. One thing is certain, all parents are trying to do what’s best for their baby and for their families, which makes it hard to go wrong.”
THE 40 MOST ANNOYING PIECES OF ADVICE GIVEN TO NEW PARENTS IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS:
1. “Sleep when the baby sleeps”
2. “I always used to do THIS and my kids turned out fine”
3. “Stop holding baby so much you’ll spoil him/her”
4. “You must have a second baby as otherwise you are selfish/ your other child will suffer/ be spoiled, etc.”
5. “You’re not holding the baby correctly”
6. “Babies should be left to cry it out”
7. “You’re making a rod for your own back”
8. “Don’t entertain baby with a screen / TV / iPad / smartphone”
9. “Don’t let them in your bed with you or they’ll never leave”
10. ”Oh it’s just colic”
11. “You’re bound to feel emotional – it’s the hormones”
12. “It goes by so fast, cherish every second”
13. “The baby’s crying because he/she is over stimulated / over tired”
14. “You’ve got to start them with baby rice/porridge when weaning”
15. “Dummies will delay speech / ruin teeth”
16. “They’re just trying to manipulate you”
17. “You should wean baby onto solids after ‘X amount of time’”
18. “Trust me you’ll miss this age!”
19. “Before you know it, they’ll be in secondary school”
20. “They can’t be hungry again”
21. “Babies just sleep all the time in the first few weeks”
22. “The child should be in their own room by ‘X months’”
23. “Breastfeeding will shrink your tummy down faster”
24. “Everything’s just a phase”
25. “Just wait!”
26. “Always put them down drowsy but awake”
27. “Don’t rush your babies, they will go at their own pace (when it comes to crawling, walking, talking, etc.)”
28. What baby things to buy
29. “What you eat and drink comes out in your milk”
30. “Don’t forget your pelvic floor exercises and kegels!”
31. “If you just relax, the milk will flow / breast-feeding will be easier”
32. “Never wake a sleeping baby”
33. “You must use re-usable nappies / Disposable nappies are bad”
34. “Add some baby rice to their bottle to fill them up”
35. “Read to your baby”
36. “Take lots of photos, they’re only small once!”
37. “Don’t put them in childcare, they need you”
38. “You’ll have to get them used to a bottle now or they’ll never take one”
39. “Babies need a steady routine”
40. “Don’t let the cat/dog/other pet go near the baby”
72Point writer Richard Jenkins contributed to this report.