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Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Feeding bacon to babies and other helpful tips

I was 21 when I had my first baby. I assumed that’s why I received so much unsolicited baby advice. But now, 15 years later, I’ve just had my third. I am (much) older and more experienced with babies. And I get just as much advice.

So I loved this story from Slate, about baby tips throughout history. Some of the worst tips include never holding or cuddling your baby, giving your baby bacon and eggs at 9 weeks old, bathing your baby in lard and giving babies coffee.

In the end, the article’s author opines:

If it’s any consolation, surveying the fads of past advice can give you some perspective on contemporary ones. There may never be a baby book that offers the conclusive answer to every question, but it’s possible to extract some wisdom from the suffering of past generations of parents. Does the book you’re reading contradict itself repeatedly, require you to override all your parental instincts, or send you into a panic over your own inadequacy? If so, burn it.

What about you? Did you receive a lot of baby advice? Was any of it helpful? What was the craziest advice you received?

As for me, some of those baby tips did work. I think the best may have come from someone at church who stopped by the hospital the day after my first son was born. She had just had her fifth baby, and she told me that if you ever feel angry, just put the baby in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes. At the time, I couldn’t imagine ever needing that advice. I was holding the most precious gift ever, and I couldn’t picture being angry with him. A year later, his brother was born–and had colic. I think that advice saved both of us. And over the years, I’ve had to use it many times. I still sometimes have to remind myself to walk away from my teenagers. These days, I’m more worried about saying something I’ll regret than being tempted to shake them.  But time and time, I find that giving myself just a 10-second break really helps.

The other great advice? Repeatedly, people told me to enjoy every moment because it goes by fast. When my boys were babies and I was sleep-deprived, it felt like those times lasted forever. With a 14-year gap in having babies, I really do know how temporary this stage is. And so I do make sure to enjoy every moment–even the ones that occur at 2 a.m.

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