I use Instagram for three things: keeping up with all of you (& my non-blog friends), inspiration for my Animal Crossing island (#nerdalert), and parenting information.

Let’s hone in on that last one.

Recently I started following some new (child) sleep experts and questioning every single thing I’ve done for M and her sleep habits. (Fear not- I question my parenting every hour of every day. All parents do…) It got me thinking… when it comes to parenting, advice and research is thrown at you from every direction.

Let’s think about a generic law. You show up to a store at 6:17pm and try the handle, only to find it locked. You notice that they closed at 6pm. What do the laws of the land dictate? You shrug your shoulders, turn around, and try another day. Breaking in would be wrong.

Ok… same situation, but apply the rules of parenting. Door is locked.
Well… some experts would suggest you jiggle the handle. Try tickling or stroking the keyhole to inducing unlocking.
Or you might try talking to the door about why it’s locked and whether or not it thinks that’s a good idea. If you’re more hands on, you might spank the door or shatter its glass to teach the door a lesson in defying you.
Try putting the door in time out and return 2 minutes later to see if anything has changed.
Maybe you don’t believe in locked doors. While locked doors might protect the herd, it’s not good for you and your family. You prefer open doors and plenty of sunshine.
**And there are no true consequences for any approach you take.**

That is a silly example, but it’s how it feels to read conflicting parenting advice on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

“You can’t co-sleep with your kid, you’ll crush them.” // “You put your child in a crib at 4 weeks?? Do you WANT them to die from SIDS?!”

“French fries will poison your toddler.” // “You know they make jar baby food, right? You don’t have to puree like a hippie.”

“Don’t give your child peanut butter(/eggs/fish/etc.) until they’re a year old.” // “Give you baby peanut butter before 6 months to reduce allergic reacts.”

“Breast is best.” // “Fed is best.” // “Goat milk is best.” // “Formula is full of sugar.”

“You must adhere to a strict and early vaccine schedule.” // “Make sure you talk to your doctor about spreading out shots and eliminating unnecessary ones.”

You get it.

It’s exhausting. (Arbitrary rules exist in more than parenthood, but this is trench I’m stationed in right now.) Like… give me a tried and true manual and I will follow the rules. Don’t give me this “Some experts say…” bullshittery.

Also… is fussing the same as crying it out? Because I would argue no but please don’t call the baby sleep police on me.

So what do you do? I don’t know. This isn’t an advice article. I’m just as clueless as the rest of ya.

A while back Kristen commented that she goes by, “Eat the fish, spit out the bones.” I can get on board with that. So here’s my not-tested, nonexpert-approved parenting advice:

Learn who your kid is. It’s tough because babies are potatoes but as they grow and their personalities emerge, change some of your routines and activities to foster their growth (and energy and sleepy cues and hunger pangs).

That’s the best I’ve got. Also- watch out for sleep regression and one-year-molars; they’re a true b*tch. I’ve heard the two-year-molars are just as gnarly. Will report back.

Best of luck, guys.

12 thoughts on “Every Direction

  1. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be a parent! Advice is a click away, but as you said, it’s all different! But, you are the mom and you know your baby better than anybody else in the world! Which is why I stand behind the eat the fish, spit out the bones policy! Some advice might actually be really helpful, but other stuff feels wrong for you. Take what you can, and leave the rest.
    Being a parent is probably the hardest job in the world, so it really stinks that there is so much judgement in place of support.
    I personally think you are rocking it!

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    1. Sometimes I know the answer and STILL find myself Googling it… and then I’m flooded with other ideas and advice which is NOT helpful. I need to learn to just stick to my guns and go with it.
      Thank you! ❤

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  2. I so feel this. There is no way to know if the decisions you make are the right ones. You just do what is best for your…and hope that it all turns out and that your kid wont need too much therapy when they are adults. And if they do, at least they have someone to talk about LOL. There is so much conflicting information and judgement. I always offer up things that work for me as an idea of something to try for people, but totally understand if you think it is total shit advice. I never judge. At least not when it comes to doing what is best for your family.

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    1. I think that’s the best you can do… Figure out what works, apply it, offer it to the next person, and let them decide how much of it they want to take. I need a tried-and-true manual. LOL

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  3. Baby sleep pushed me into PPA territory. It’s a long drawn-out story, but I ended up telling his pediatrician “meh, I’m waiting him out until I can reason with him”. We’re at the 2.5 year mark and the strategy worked. I just couldn’t try another “method”. I was exhausted all of the time. I always offer suggestions now, but I’m always like “yeah, it’s fine if they don’t do what they’re ‘supposed’ to”.

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    1. Breastfeeding was what sent me to a dark place. The day I decided to stop was honestly life changing. I’m so glad I made that call. Only recently have I chilled about sleep and (for the most part) it’s been ok. Once they can reason I imagine explaining the WHY becomes a little easier.

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  4. This is the BEST advice, and the locked door analogy is spot on. It often feels overwhelming and conflicting and I am constantly reading parenting books and blogs trying to do the best I can. I think for me my biggest current struggle is getting M to nap well and sleep past 530 am. I have read so many conflicting things that it often feels like throwing paint to see what will stick …. so far nothing is! I also have a rule where I have to try something for a few days or a week before I decide it’s not working ….which sometimes helps and sometimes just delays the inevitable. It’s so tough!

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    1. Agreed and thank you! And sometimes I’m just like, “OK, maybe my kid is like this and there’s no training it out of her. It’s just her quirk.” It’s tough. What’s a quirk? What’s a behavioral issue? Who’s got the best advice? SIGH.

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  5. While I am obviously not a Mom, I feel like parenting today is actually harder than it was for our parents. I’m sure my Mom had her trials and tribulations and people telling her what to do and not do but she did not have SOCIAL MEDIA. I love social media and I hate it. It can be so unbelievably helpful and wonderful and also very, very toxic. And when it comes to babies, it seems like everybody has an opinion and too many of them are designed to make moms feel inadequate, And let’s also be real – most are often trying to make people feel inadequate because they have something to sell, whether it’s the fantasy (in which they make money as an influencer) or they also have their own products to sell you. You just gotta figure out what works best for you and your baby and if baby is happy and healthy, then you’re doing it right.

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    1. Social media can be a bitch 😦 I appreciate information at my finger tips, but sometimes it’s too much. And the comparison trap is nasty. When you’re a mom you end up comparing yourself AND your child if you’re not careful.

      So true. Mom or not, you 100% get it. Social media is a fickle beast.

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