I love mom groups on Facebook. Seriously, I love them. They are beacons of sanity during 2 am feedings, they serve as litmus tests for reactions to crazy family members, they are the true definition of a hive mind.
Need advice about sleep training/poop/rash/bug bite/a fall/pumping/breastfeeding/bottle feeding/pace feeding (and on and on and on)? Mom groups are the way to go.
But I have an issue with all the parenting advice, one that I think we should talk about.
Let’s start with an example.
Recently a mom in one of the (many) mom groups I am in on Facebook asked for advice about milk production. She was having trouble keeping up with what the baby was eating while she was at work.
I’ve seen this question come up plenty of times. Hell, I have asked this question dozens of times.
The responses tend to vary – from actual decent advice: “Is the caregiver pace feeding?” to “Oh! Try this (super expensive) supplement from Hawaii, it did wonders for me!” to “Eat oatmeal on a full moon with 1.3 teaspoons of sugar and .34 tablespoons of cinnamon. I did that every month and breastfed until 198 months!”
( I am exaggerating, and FWIW, oatmeal CAN help milk production)
Or, another popular topic: sleep training.
“Make sure you don’t let her sleep in your bed! You’ll never have sex again!”
“Don’t ever nurse them to sleep or you’ll be doing it forever!”
“Nurse them to sleep; they grow up so fast!”
“If you ever want them to sleep, you HAVE to sleep train by four months – my sister didn’t and her 7-year-old is still waking up at night!”
With so much conflicting advice, it is hard to know what the hell is going to work and what is going to scar your kid for life.
But, here is the thing about parenting advice: You have to take it all with a grain of salt. What works well for one family might not work at all for another. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, that doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong.
It just means that every person and every family is different. And, bar feeding your kid antifreeze, all of those different parenting approaches are totally fine.
We all have different ideas about how we want our families to function. We all have different hormones and body chemistries. Those damn kids have their own personalities. New research comes out all.the.time. So, what worked for your mom/sister/uncle/first child/best friend might not be recommended today. And all that advice might not work for your family. And that is okay.
Take all that wonderful advice in, then do what feels right. Hell, try them all and then decide. Just don’t think you HAVE to do anything a certain way. And don’t let someone else talk you into ignoring what feels right for your child.