Some of my social media music therapist friends have newborn babies (or will soon). When chatting with one tonight, I mentioned I have three biological children. My friend commented that I had some experience, and that she and her husband were complete newbies. Got me to thinking...maybe I should share some of my experience!
Really though, I think I can sum up my vast child raising experience, specifically advice for new parents in just two simple points:
1. Babies are the most powerful magnetic force in the Universe
You will have people constantly coming up to you in public, staring, asking questions, and the pushy, creepy ones may even ask to hold your bundle of joy (walk away quickly!)
The experience of being a new parent is exciting, life affirming and exhausting. You will have strangers approach you frequently. This can be fun, since your baby is the most amazing thing the world has ever seen (it's normal to feel this way!) but sometimes, all the attention can be overwhelming. Just be prepared for it.
2. People will advise you on best practice for your baby
Everyone who has ever seen a baby thinks they know the absolute best way to burp them, calm them down, change diapers etc. They will share this information with you, whether you ask for their opinion or not. Of course, this is to be expected from family members and close friends, and sometimes you will ask for this advice. What constantly shocked me was when complete strangers were sharing this unsolicited advice (see point 1).
I chose to deal with that by affirming their idea, thanking them politely and going about my business. There were many times when I thought, "What a stupid idea! That would NEVER work!"
Since I had already affirmed the person's idea and moved on, I avoided lengthy debates over the merits of the idea. Remember the old saying, "Never wrestle a pig...you just get dirty and the pig enjoys it?" Same applies here.
And you know what? You're going to figure out most of it on your own anyway!
I tell people to take a Bruce Lee approach to parenting advice...keep what is useful and discard the rest.
Even advice like the kind I am giving now...maybe you think these ideas are stupid. If so, discard them!
But please, smile and nod before you go about your business.