Yippee, you are pregnant. But with this precious time comes the tricky task of is navigating the many different types of advice that come from every side. Your family, friends, random people in the store, yoga instructors and (probably most confusing as all) Dr Google.
So who should you be listening too?
There are so many different options and tacts to take when having a small baby. And sadly, even the medical doctors vary on the advice. NHS in the UK says that babies shouldn't start solids before 6 months, SA paediatricians general view to help with allergies babies should start at 4 months. To name but one among millions. So it is important to decide early on what advice to take on board and which to nod politely to while ignoring completely.
The best advice on this was given to me by a friend and that is to whittle your sources down to ONE person, ONE medical advisor (paediatric nurse) and ONE book.
Every single person will have an opinion. Even if they don't have their kids. From strong opinions on whether you should be having natural vs ceasar, breastfeeding vs bottle what to buy for the baby.
Find one person you admire and respect, preferably someone who has a small child and you agree with their values. Use that person as your sounding board. How did they handle the birth and a newborn? What do they suggest is necessary or a total waste? Tell them that they are your 'person'. In most cases, they will be thrilled to be on hand to steer the way. They can even take you shopping to quickly zip through the aisle in those big baby stores that leave most first time mothers in tears.
One medical advisor
While your paediatrician is an absolute necessity many mothers only go there for their check-ups or when the little one is sick and the price tag is usually pretty high. For practical everyday advice find a paediatric nurse in your vicinity. You can book a slot with them for a few hundred rands and spend hours crying in their rooms. They have lots of advice and patience and can be a lifesaver when the world seems against you and little Thandi isn't sleeping or drinking or doing anything.
There are millions of baby books out there, and the advice, much like that of people, can range from wild free-range birthing to the very clinical and medical. Rather than making yourself batty - choose one book, perhaps recommended from the mother that you have chosen as your one person and stick to that. Because if you are not a rigid schedule keeper, chances are Gina Ford's regimented approach is just going to make you feel like a failure.
How to deal with unwanted advice?
Great so you have decided on your 'people' now you have to deal with the tonnes of unwanted advice that is going to come your way. People can be very strongly opinionated and pretty judgy when it comes to pregnancy and small babies.
The best thing is not to get in an argument with Sarah, your boho free-range mother who had her baby in a garden with only the birds as her guardians. Because she isn't going to change her opinion that your coffee a day is poison or the fact that you are planning on having a ceasar. Listen to her politely and then change the subject onto something else. If someone is particularly overbearing you may have to try to avoid them.
Unfortunately, even your mother isn't a great source of advice (as my one friend pointed out) as they had their babies twenty-something to thirty-something years ago.
Picking your sources of advice will make the craziness of pregnancy and bringing a small person into this world a little less daunting.