Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

I Recorded The Worst Parenting Advice I Got For 2 Weeks, & Just... Wow

Ad failed to load

I've long been of the opinion that unsolicited advice and criticism are, generally, one in the same. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop some people from casually doling out both on a regular basis. Since having my daughter nine months ago, I've learned that humans are not only chockfull of dieting, dating, professional, and fashion-related tips, but parenting advice as well. From my non-parent friends, fellow moms and dads, and other baby group attendees, to Instagram strangers, my immediate family and random relatives, I'm certain that I've received some of the worst parenting advice out there.

My interpretation of motherhood (and of parenting in general), so far, is that there is no recipe. Every child is different, so it would follow that every parent should find the methods that work for their own unique family. What's remarkable to me is just how many people seem to think there is a recipe — and how many will happily share bits and pieces of it with you whether you want them to or not.

For kicks, I thought I'd record some of the "advice" to come my way for two weeks. Having a baby, and raising that baby, is hands down the most difficult challenge I've ever undertaken, and I know that the same must be true for a lot of people. That folks would have strong opinions on how to do it is unsurprising, and I'm not so presumptuous as to think that I know everything there is to know. Some advice, I'm more than happy to welcome. Other advice, like the gems below, not so much.

Ad failed to load

"Just Leave Her In Her Crib While You Go To The Store."

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

When a cousin I almost never speak to suggested I pop my daughter, Luna, in her crib while I go grocery shopping, a couple of questions cropped up in my mind as it spun off its axis. What if she falls out? What if she gets sick? What if she gets hungry? What if she cries for so long, the sadness of being seemingly abandoned so all-consuming, that she kills some of her synapses and harms her neurological development? This could've gone on for a while. To list the myriad reasons why an infant should not be left unattended for a prolonged period of time would take days, after all.

Ad failed to load

It was my cousin's thinking that babies need to be left alone to gain independence — and that in the days before monitors and similar electronic devices, parents would "do things like that all the time." My idea of letting Luna grow independent is keeping her in her crib while I pee, or sleep training her so that she learns to spend the night on her own. Not leaving her to her own 9-month-old devices as I get in my car, drive five miles into the nearest town, casually buy my groceries, and drive five miles back.

"Babies Don't Need To Wean Until They're A Year Old."

Courtesy of Marie Southard Ospina
Ad failed to load

A non-parent friend of mine is convinced that babies can get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk for one whole year. When we went out for lunch recently, she scolded me for feeding Luna an Ella's Kitchen packet. Why was I spending money on such "bougie frivolities?" I believe she'd picked up the information from a holistic health counselor she once dated.

Long story short, babies don't get enough nutrients from breastmilk to survive a whole year. Not even a little bit. Most experts believe that weaning should start around six months to avoid malnutrition. According to Britain's National Health Service, a 9-month-old, like my little one, needs a variety of "fruit and vegetables; bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and other starchy foods; meat, fish, eggs, beans, and other non-dairy sources of protein; and milk and dairy products."

So, not just breastmilk. Unless I want Luna to lose a bunch of weight, have difficulty sleeping, and grow proceeding more malnourished.

Ad failed to load

"Uppers In The Day Will Keep The Sleep Away."

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

This nugget was delivered by an Instagram follower of mine who went out of his way to send me a direct message full of sleep-training tips. I'd recently written an article in which I noted that Luna was barely sleeping at night, while questioning whether day napping may be responsible.

Ad failed to load

The social media user believed that if I took a couple lines of cocaine of MDMA in the morning, just enough would seep into my breastmilk to keep Luna alert in the daytime and ready for a full night's sleep by 9 p.m. I wasn't sure if he was kidding or not, so I asked. "It really works," he quickly replied. "My wife did it with our eldest." Although I could see that the dude had photos of his family on his instagrid (and his oldest was presumably alive and well despite this horrifying method), I wasn't about to load up my breastmilk with uppers. I definitely believe that there are responsible ways to engage in recreational drug use without posing any risk to your children, the thought of taking recreational drugs specifically in the hopes that my infant would reap the "benefits" churned my stomach.

Unsurprisingly, cocaine consumption through breastmilk can be incredibly dangerous for infants. Side effects include changes in mood, irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, hypertension, rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, and seizures. MDMA, albeit thought to be less harmful if passed through one's breastmilk, can still lead to poor feeding and insomnia for the baby. So, yeah. I'd rather not.

"Stop Cuddling Her So Much."

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina
Ad failed to load

Without necessarily planning on it, my partner and I became attachment parents. We co-slept until very recently, and still bring our daughter back into our room (or bed) more often than not. I have fed on demand since Luna's birth. We respond with constant care or touch. Yet we also strive for a balance between our personal and family life.

There are plenty of alleged benefits to attachment parenting. Experts believe that, through this method, children could become more emotionally available later in life. They may be easy-going, experience less internal conflicts than those who are left to cry it out, preserve a sense of individuality, and grow to be resilient.

Even so, a non-parent friend recently commented on how much I hug and engage Luna. She felt that I was spoiling her. Like a lot of critics of attachment parenting, she believes that bed-sharing is dangerous, that Luna will become overdependent, and that my partner and I will be too overstressed to actually enjoy being parents.

Ad failed to load

I don't know everything about parenting by any means, but I do know that children need to know they're loved. In order to establish a healthy, trusting relationship, they need to know that their parents are there for them. They need to learn about affection and empathy — neither of which seem to be instinctual human qualities. Cuddling my baby closely is one way I'm trying to teach her about love, and I definitely don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

... This is all advice that I received just in the span of two weeks.

Ad failed to load

A lot of parenting is undoubtedly subjective. Whether or not to be an attachment parent, for example, is an entirely personal matter. Whether to homemake baby moosh or buy baby moosh is a choice. Whether to co-sleep or put your baby in their own room from day 1 is up to each individual parent.

Some things, however, feel more black and white. When non-parent friends, in particular, come out with something like "don't hug your baby," it's difficult to resist the urge to tell them, "F*ck off, you quite literally have no idea what you're talking about." Honestly, it's hard to resist saying that when people with children offer tips that I wholeheartedly disagree with.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a new mom is learning how to shut down the advice I don't want without alienating those around me. What I'm trying to keep in mind is that my ever-evolving recipe for this stuff will never be someone else's recipe for this stuff. Along the way, it's OK to pick and choose the ingredients I want to work with, though. It's OK to politely disagree with sh*tty advice. Hell, maybe it's even OK to not-so-politely disagree if someone just isn't giving up.

Ad failed to load

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}