by: Pippa

I thought weddings were bad for advice. But that day of celebration isn’t a patch on the wealth of advice I’ve received from so many, many people once my pregnancy became noticeable. From work colleagues to strangers on the street, my goodness there are a lot of pearly wisdoms that folk can’t wait to tell you.  Some are absolutely brilliant and some are just plain bonkers – but regardless, advice is coming your way.

Of all the many, many pieces of advice – the majority of which unprompted and some highly unwarranted – I did find a few nuggets of gold that thought useful to share. Which in turn makes me a total hypocrite, as here I am sharing advice unprompted to you all!

In fairness though, I thought these ones were the most universal ones that fitted all babies.

Take all the photos off your phone before you go to hospital

This was a funny one that a good friend of me told me around my due date. And I actually phoned her to thank her about this when we got home!

I had totally underestimated such how many photos I was going to take when we were there – sure it’s only a few days! But oh my goodness. If my daughter moved a millimeter, my phone was out snapping away. And I was so glad that all pre-daughter photos were saved on my computer, leaving me free to capture every millimeter move.  It’s a small tip but damn was this handy.

No pregnancy book has been written about you and your baby

This statement gave me great comfort when I read list after list of possible pregnancy symptom for each stage and I wondered if something was wrong as I wasn’t experiencing any of them. And then I remembered this statement. No book has been written about my baby because no one has met her yet.  So maybe none of those symptoms did apply as she just wasn’t into those.

The calm I got from this statement during pregnancy trebled when I got to holding a baby in my arms. Some of the baby books are frankly hilarious about what a baby should be doing during those first few weeks.

No baby has ever rolled off a floor

Very simple but oh so very handy to remember when you are chronically sleep deprived, juggling a squirmy baby that is semi-dressed and the doorbell rings and you need to answer it.  Best not apply the other advice ‘ach, baby will be grand just there, they don’t roll yet….’ but instead go for this one. Yup, the trusty floor.

Take photos of your baby with their childhood teddies

One of them is going to be The Teddy for their early years, that teddy that is going to be dragged around to every outing, every party and every night to bed. So it’s lovely to have that early photo of them with The Teddy at a super early age.

But the ultimate bit of advice I got, that I’ve relied on time and time again over the last few months has been:

Read all the books you want….. but ultimately read your baby

There are just so many book. So many, many, many books. And many of them provide conflicting advice, which is so confusing for parents. You really can get bamboozled with all the information you read – especially if this is your first time being a parent. Take one issue of sleep. How to swaddle – arms in or arms out? Sleeping – moses basket or straight to crib? In parents’ room or in their nursery? Napping, when they want or set a routine from birth? Argh.

A great pal of mine gave me this brilliant sentence, that has served me so very well as my husband and I try to navigate this crazy new journey. “Read the books. Read as many as you want, hell this is a new job after all. But ultimately – when you are faced with a crying child and you don’t know what to do – read your baby. They are trying to tell you something so work out what it is. You can do it, you do weirdly know the options that you have. So calmly go through them and work out the answer. Read your baby.”

If there’s one thing that you could take from this babbling article, it’s this one. Read your baby. Because weirdly when we started to trust in this, we started to hear the difference between a tired cry and a hungry cry, a ‘I want to be picked up’ cry and especially for our daughter, a ‘please change my nappy as I have a low tolerance for a wet nappy’ cry. That last one is the one that nappy companies must be delighted to hear about.