The good, bad and ugly of parenting advice

Every parent on the face of the earth has received parenting advice from a well meaning loved one or a nosy stranger.  There is always someone who has been there and done that.  Sometimes that is a blessing and sometimes it makes you want to scream.  Today I am sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of parenting advice that I have heard, read or been told directly.parenting advice

The Good

  • The absolute best piece of advice I received while pregnant was from a mental health worker.  She warned me that every man and their dog would have their two cents to say about your parenting.  Often it is easier to just thank them and take from it what you like.  It saves on arguments.
  • When Mr 6 first started daycare we had to wait 30 minutes at a main bus stop between connecting buses.  You soon get to chatting to people who are there regularly.  One day I was talking to an older woman about Mr 6 refusing to take panadol.  She told me to add a little water to the syringe to help thin out the liquid. It worked a charm and make it easier to go down Mr 6’s throat.
  • Be fluid in your expectations.  This one is one that I still struggle with but I know that when I take a step back and realise that I am making an issue bigger than it needs to be it takes a lot of the stress out of the situation.  No one is a perfect parent, and sometimes we just have to roll with the punches when it comes to our kids.
  • When I was in hospital after having Mr 6, one of the nurses told me that it wasn’t really necessary to heat bottles of formula and they could have it at room temperature.  It was the best piece of advice, especially when we were out and about.  When Mr 6 was 6 weeks old I also spent 12 hours on a train, not having to heat bottles was an absolute blessing.

The Bad

  • I was in a few support groups on Facebook for Mums who formula feed when Mr 6 was a baby and it was a mixed bag of advice.  However the worst advice was from women who joined the group simply to tell us how evil we were for poisoning our children with formula.  One woman in particular told group members to stop life saving medications because breast was more important.  Obviously she missed the whole part about the medication being what was keeping the mother alive.
  • Mr 6 had reflux as a baby.  Paul and I don’t have the best digestive systems so it was no surprise really.  After seeing a pediatrician, he suggested that we start solids early because Mr 6 was drinking so much formula.  I tried him on Farex and he wanted no part of that, so I tried veggies instead and he loved it (oh where is that baby now!).  Our child health nurse told us that farex was better so we persevered and still Mr 6 wanted no part of it.  The advice itself wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t right for us.
  • When I was being discharged after having Mr 6, the Dr tried to write me a script for a sedative I had been on previously.  He insisted that I need it, despite me telling him it had been stopped almost 12 months before even falling pregnant.  Fast forward to two years ago and again I was faced with a Dr who was trying to force sedatives on me, despite my insistence that they would make things worse for my anxiety.  I know that there are parents who have to take anti-psychotic medication in order to stay well, but I wasn’t in that position.  I just wasn’t sleeping well.  Something which thankfully my psychologist backed up when he rang her.

The Ugly

This advice isn’t mine, but is a story someone told me a few years ago.  I don’t know whether what the nurse said had any merit but the person she said it to made it hilariously incorrect.  This person was changing her baby and sprinkled the freshly cleaned rear with talcum powder.  The person next to them in the parent’s room scolded her and said that it could harm the baby.  Never having heard this before she asked what harm it did.  The person explained that it could cause cervical cancer.  Now throughout this exchange the baby was still wriggling around nappy free, waving his penis around for all to see.  The person who told me this said that she didn’t know whether to smack the person upside the head for being so stupid or to laugh in their face!

What’s the best or worse parenting advice you’ve received?

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26 thoughts on “The good, bad and ugly of parenting advice

  1. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

    LOL, The bad …
    I love your first point the best: “Often it is easier to just thank them and take from it what you like. It saves on arguments.” Three cheers for that.
    And three cheers for you for remembering all that parenting advice. I honestly can’t remember a thing!
    Oh, except for one piece of advice from a nurse about how to help latch a baby on the boob if you’re having trouble feeding. Not sure why that piece of advice stuck and nothing else did.

    1. Tegan Post author

      It’s funny the things we hang on to! I remember my year 11 physics teacher (so nearly 12 years ago) telling us frequently that you should never trust anyone who tells you to trust them. I can’t remember a thing from the class but I remember that lol!

  2. Lydia C. Lee

    This used to drive me nuts – I now tell new mothers that they may as well face facts that everything they’re doing is wrong and everyone will let them know. If you bought a house no one would say “oh, you did your dough on that dump’ but have a kid and the whole world throws manners and sensitivity out the window. Unsolicitied. Ahhhhhh

  3. Renee Wilson

    Ahhh that is hilarious! I was actually told the same thing by several people about the talcum powder and refused to use it on my first daughter just in case. Talk about paranoid. My mum would sneak in and dust my first daughter with it when I wasn’t looking 🙂 #teamIBOT

    1. Tegan Post author

      Haha that’s funny that you were told the same thing! I hadn’t heard it until the friend told me her story. Then again I have a boy so I guess it wouldn’t come up lol!

  4. Amy @ Handbagmafia

    Funnily enough, there’s evidence now that farex holds little to no nutritional value. It’s so refined and devoid of goodness that many no longer recommend it at all. So there you go! So many people will have something to say. Maybe 10% of it has any value, I reckon!

    1. Tegan Post author

      It’s interesting how things with feeding bubs changes so much. It can be confusing. I think the age for starting solids changed 3 times in the first 2 years of being a mum!

  5. Nadia

    Wise words. It was my frustration at the horrid parenting advice, that was being given by so-called experts, that led me to start my blog. I couldn’t understand how people were put in a position of responsibility when they obviously weren’t reading the latest research… instead relying on ‘old wives’ tales and outdated knowledge.

    1. Tegan Post author

      Yes it’s quite concerning when GPs etc don’t keep up with their learning. I remember having one GP who didn’t know what the contraception pill was!

  6. Tracy

    My kids are too old, I think. I’ve forgotten a lot of those little pieces of advice!!

    The best advice I had and would give is that you know your own child(ren) so go ahead and do what you know to be best for them.

    That might mean using formula instead of breast, despite your dreams and wishes.
    That might mean putting them to bed at 7pm. Every. Night.
    That might mean taking them to the doctor when their only symptom is they stopped eating.
    That might mean having some very strong boundaries and consequences.
    That might mean they have an enforced bed time until they’re 18.
    That might mean you don’t run about in every spare minute so they can have every experience possible.

    I figured the best thing for my kids was to have sane parents. We made choices for our family and our kids based on what we felt was best for them and for us.

  7. Tory

    Best advise we got was from Henry’s pediatrician, he is a fantastic doctor and very supportive of worried parents. I think he should write a book, he’s always coming out with little nuggets of wisdom.
    – No-one ever looks back on their deathbed and says I wish I’d held my baby less. If it works for you and it works for him, it works period.
    – Anyone who starts a sentence with ‘all babies love/hate’ should be freely ignored. Also ignore anyone who offers advice but won’t come to your house at 2AM when it doesn’t work.
    – Even a first time parent is an expert in their own child, so if you say something is wrong, then something is wrong.

    Reading your experiences they are so close to mine. We had to give up breast feeding at 6 weeks and pumped milk at 4 months and Henry was so much healthier and happier after starting formula, not to mention I could actually play with him not being hooked up to a milking machine for most of the day. Bottom line is babies need happy and healthy parents. Everyone does what they have to get through and that is super okay.

  8. EssentiallyJess

    Yep we’ve all had some really dodgy advice from well-meaning people. I think generally people like to help, but it doesn’t always.
    I do remember one great tip was to put half a teaspoon of sugar in boiled water in a bottle. One of mine used to get stomach cramps, and that always helped her with them.
    I’m sure someone else will say that’s a terrible thing to do.

  9. Vanessa

    I think it’s a good thing I don’t have kids, otherwise I’d be telling people to feck off left, right and centre. As it is we get enough stupid advice about Ben from strangers.

  10. Jody at Six Little Hearts

    Yes, I have heard so much of this advice too. I don’t use talc on baby girl bots but I have definitely splashed out on the boys – especially since they don’t have girl bits! 😀
    My best ever piece of advice came from my mum – look after you first.
    The other best bit of advice was at a tram stop when I was pregnant with baby number 1. An old lady said to me that the first year of motherhood was a joy but not much fun. Great and real advice I think.

    1. Tegan Post author

      That is great advice! It’s so refreshing when people are honest about their experiences in that first year. No matter our experience, I think we all find someone who we can relate to.

  11. Hugzilla

    Aaaah yes, advice…. Everyone is an expert on everyone else’s kid. I take the “nod and smile” approach and just do whatever I want. But I’m arrogant like that.


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