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How to Tell the Difference Between Terrible and Good Parenting Advice

You see those two blue lines on that pregnancy test. You double check the box 5 times. Yup, you really are pregnant.

You are a little anxious, but as you start to picture this tiny baby coming into your life something awakens inside of you. Maybe those tingles are your motherly instincts coming to life, or maybe it is that pickle-covered pepperoni sandwich you ate for lunch.

Regardless of what emotions you are experiencing, you have a lot of questions. That’s for sure.

When it is finally time to break the news to family and friends, you are filled with a mixture of emotions.

You start to tell people and then BOOM. You are pounded with an influx of advice. From EV-ERY-ONE. The check out lady at the grocery store, your great aunt who has never had kids, your dog groomer. Everyone has something to say.

How do you decipher what is good advice and what is ridiculously bad advice?

The Worst Parenting Advice

Ten experienced mom’s below share the worst (and best) advice they received on parenting.

“If you hold your baby too long they will be spoiled”

Despite countless studies and child development experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, pointing to the opposite, this is common advice given to many new mothers.

Jennifer Crum, blogger at The Nerd Mom, recalls being told that if she let her baby sleep on her the baby will never learn to sleep on their own. She explained, “I believed this advice at first, but quickly realized that even if it were true, it was not something I could do. Ignoring my baby’s cries went against every maternal instinct I had. Babies need to be held!”

Jennifer’s instincts were spot on. Studies show amazing short term and long term effects on the health and development of babies who are cuddled and held close. Next time you are told that you are spoiling your baby, politely reply that you prefer the advice from the American Pediatric Academy.

“If your toddler bites you, bite them back”

When faced with a frustrating situation, it is common for some young children to turn to their chompers for defense. According to the American Psychological Association, if you have a biter, you can take take various steps to try to prevent it (and be proactive) or try a distraction method, but the experts stress that biting your child back is not acceptable.

This seems to be common sense to some, but many mothers including Tamra, blogger at The Nurturing Parent, are familiar with being on the receiving end of this parenting advice.

Before you go all vampire on your kids, remember that you are only modeling the exact behavior you are trying to eliminate.

“Diet when you are breastfeeding to lose weight faster”

Margaret, mother and blogger at Suburban Tourist, recalls being advised to diet when she was breastfeeding so that she could lose weight faster. She explained, “I never followed this because I thought it was extremely silly. Somebody was trying to tell me I was overweight. Well d’uh… I just had a baby! And secondly, I knew I needed just a bit more to be able to produce enough milk. I lost my pregnancy weight fairly quickly anyway. “

According to the La Leche League International, you should consume at least 1,800 calories a day while breastfeeding. If you are craving those extra calories while breastfeeding, it is most likely because your body needs it.

Eat that cake, mama!

“Give your newborn cereal in their bottle so that they sleep better”

While struggling with sleep deprivation, many new moms will admit that they will try anything to get a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, putting cereal in an infant’s bottle is a popular and dated piece of advice given to many new moms.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that only breastmilk or formula should be in an infants bottle, and solids typically shouldn’t be introduced until around 6 months of age.

Abby, blogger at The Mom Corner, clearly remembers being told to give the her baby cereal (and cough medicine!) in the bottle to promote sleeping. She urges that both are dangerous and unhealthy for your baby.

“If you go back to work after having your baby you will never bond with them”

After having my first son, I decided to go back to work. “Decided” is not the best word choice. It makes it seem like it was fully voluntary. It is true that I worked hard for my degree and enjoyed my job; however, the driving factor was really a financial one. We really couldn’t afford losing my salary.

Even though this was the most difficult decision I have ever made, some people still looked at me like it was a selfish decision. They asked me if I thought it would negatively effect my baby.

Luckily, studies continue to show what I felt in my heart. As long as I continued to love my babies deeply, there was no negative effect on my children by having a working mom. In fact, there are a lot of positives for all of us!

“Don’t follow your pediatrician’s advice on that!”

You may even be given directions that contradict what your pediatrician recommended.

Jessica is a mother, blogger, and owner of Concinnity Crafts, where she sells handmade custom wood signs, home decor, and personalized kids’ craft kits. She recalls conversations when her child was constipated, where someone was trying to give her alternative treatment advice that were different than what her pediatrician advised her on.

Every baby is different and your pediatrician’s advice should always be followed first.

“Give your baby Benadryl so they can sleep better”

While some advice given to parents is ridiculous, other suggestions are just flat-out dangerous.

Leslie, from Super Mom Picks, was once told to give her baby Benadryl on a plane so that they sleep better. She said, “The crunchy mom in me doesn’t like medicating unless it’s absolutely necessary – so medicating a healthy child is ridiculous to me.” 

The Cleveland Clinic, recommends several different ways to promote sleep in children, none of which include medication, except for in rare (and pediatrician-guided) circumstances.

“{Fill in the blanks} Sleep Method will give your baby psychological problems”

It is one thing to feel strongly about a parenting method, but some advice-givers are extremely harsh and over-the-top.

Amy, mother and blogger at The Postpartum Party, specifcally recalls expressing to a friend that she was interested in reading The Babywise Book. Her friend expressed that this book would cause deep psychological problems.

After ignoring that advice and reading the book Amy explains, “I was so confused at how she could have drawn that conclusion. [The book] literally gives moms a basic guide for getting your baby on a sleep schedule and doesn’t do much else!”

It is important to do your own research, to decide if certain methods work for you or do not.

“Sleep When the Baby Sleeps”

Interestingly, while some mom’s feel that “Sleep when the baby sleeps” was the best advice they received, others disagreed.

Ashley, blogger at The Irish Twin’s Momma, labeled this as the worst advice she received. Sophie, blogger at Baby Toddler and Kids, agreed saying, “This seems like a great idea on the face of it but errrmm no! When the baby sleeps, take a shower alone, sit and enjoy the quiet briefly or just brush your hair. Sure, it takes a while to adjust to the lack of sleep but very soon I learned that I could cope with less sleep if I prioritized a little self care!”

In my opinion, this piece of advice just needs updated. I think it should say “Take care of yourself when the baby sleeps”. This could mean sleeping, or it could mean reading, taking a bath, or even cleaning up a mess if that will reduce your anxiety level.

The Best Parenting Advice

Not all advice is bad. These 10 moms also share the advice that they felt was the most beneficial and meaningful to them.

Print this as a reminder!

Final Thoughts

Throughout your parenting career (yes, I consider it a career), you will receive a plethora of advice. Some will be helpful, yet some will be unwarranted, ridiculous, or downright dangerous.

Before you take anyone’s advice, do your research. Always trust your gut, and never be afraid to call in the experts. No, not the old lady giving you advice at the grocery store- your pediatrician!

If you found this helpful share it!

I’d love to hear what strange advice you received below in the comments!

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How To Easily Make The Best Parenting Decisions - theMomCorner

Thursday 5th of September 2019

[…] comes from another mom. I’ve gotten some awesome advice from other moms, and some absolutely terrible, down-right dangerous advice as […]

Ceci Rey

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

I have 5 girls. And yes, I have heard all of this advice. Every child and every mother is different...what works for one may not work for another. Just go with your instinct...thanks for sharing!

Mamie L. Pack

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

Sleeping when the baby sleeps is always funny to me. Who can do that especially when you have other kids

Elizabeth Holly

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

Personally, I always appreciated the "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice. People take it as a hard and fast rule meaning to only sleep when the baby sleeps. No this is entirely false in my experience. You should sleep when the baby sleeps, but you should also read, shower, have quiet time to yourself, etc. Sleep should not be tossed out for cleaning when you only slept 3 hours.

I ended up with severe postpartum depression due to sleep deprivation. Sleep is self-care as your body creates more stress hormones when you lose sleep on a continual basis.

I don't think it makes it bad advice but advice that needs editing.

Great post. After 3 kids, I can agree with why most of these tips are bad advice. I snuggled my kids constantly - avid babywearer.

Great post.



Tuesday 13th of August 2019

Trust your gut is the BEST parenting advice I could give. 2nd best is to ignore people that give unsolicited and judgey advice!

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