The Best and Worst Parenting Advice from the Real Experts: Parents

As parents, we receive a lot of advice. With three kids, I’ve heard it all.

Breastfeed. Supplement. Don’t breastfeed. Rock your baby to sleep. Don’t rock your baby to sleep—it’s a sleep association. Potty-train early. Wait to potty train. Offer baby food at 4 months. Wait until at least 6 months to offer baby food. Don’t yell at your child. 

The list could go on.

Some advice is requested, but we get plenty of unwarranted advice too. I am sure the person giving the advice has good intentions, but sometimes this advice leaves me feeling like I am doing everything wrong.

What is the right answer? What is the right way?

I went to the true experts, parents, to find out what is the best advice they have ever received and what is the worst. Here are their answers and links to their awesome blogs.

The best parenting advice I was told was that society, family, and even friends will give you all kinds of advice on how to raise your children but to take it all with a grain of salt and do what I think is best—since mothers know best. I was a young mom and didn’t have a clue so hearing everyone’s advice was so overwhelming.

-Bryana, Web With Dunn

The worst parenting advice I received involved colic—recommendations for a chiropractor/baby massage, dairy free/soy free diet and colic drops—none of which are medically proven to be beneficial. FINALLY, a friend told me to just accept that it’s colic, stop killing myself with dietary changes and just trust that it will pass with time. Wish I had accepted it sooner. 

-Katie, Katie Plus Coffee

The best advice I ever received and now give to new moms is – it’s okay if you don’t enjoy EVERY moment of Motherhood.

-Amanda, Hustle and Mom

Best Advice: When the baby is napping, keep living your normal life. Vacuum, watch TV, talk in a normal voice. Your baby will learn to sleep in a room that is not totally silent AND that allows you to live your normal life! You won’t have to tell your friend you can’t have coffee because the baby is sleeping!

-Stacy, Protecting Your Pennies

The worst is probably anytime some one assumes what worked for their kids who are YEARS apart will work for me with 3 kids in 3 years. A five-year span between two kids makes a huge difference. 

The best was probably when a family friend reminded me to ignore his own wife’s advice and do what was best for my family.

-Erin, Rocking MomLife in the Chaos of Three in 3

The best advice I’ve ever been given is to always trust your gut, no matter what, because as their mother no one on the planet knows your child better than you.

-Sarah, Sweet Miles

Worst: Never listen to parenting books because they’re useless and they take things too far. 

Best: Do what is best for you and baby. What works for one mom won’t work for the other. Parenting is an art not a science.

-Breanna, Mommies To Be

Take lots of videos while your kids are small. In a couple of years, you’ll be amazed because you forgot how small and cute they were.

-Val, Thoughtful Neighbor

The worst was all the breastfeeding comments from people who believed it was just simple and to supplement with cereal or formula if he was always that hungry. They didn’t breastfeed so they didn’t realize the work that it can be! 

The best was trust your gut!

-Kim, This Love Filled Life

The best advice was not to compare yourself or your baby to others. It’s SO easy to fall into that trap of feeling inadequate because so and so is always perfectly made up with immaculate hair and goes to parent baby yoga class or whatever—or worrying because your baby isn’t crawling/talking/eating yet and others are. You are doing a great job and your baby will develop in his/her own time.

-Haley, Mama in Progress

Worst – You can’t breastfeed if you have flat or inverted nipples. I finally tried with my 3rd and used a breast shell that helped fix the problem.
Best – was in the beginning, to nap when the baby naps as often as you can. Or to put stained clothes outside to sun bleach them! Pretty amazing!

-Jenn, One Hoppy Momma

The best advice I got as a new mom was that my baby was a new person. No one else had this little person and no one else was his mom. I was made for him and I had to trust my innate ability to make good decisions. That I would make bad ones too but to forgive myself and learn from them.

-Tricia, Habibi House

Crying is how baby communicates. Baby cries are like adult conversations. As moms we tend to over stress and interpret all cries as adult cries, when in fact we should understand that they are two very different things.

-Carol, Grow with me, Mommy

I agree with others, best is to trust yourself – but I mean really trust yourself…if your gut tells you not to worry, really – don’t! 

‪One of my kids was a late blooming reader and I thought, “It’s OK, he’s just more of a hands-on kid,” but omg people kept making me feel like I just wasn’t doing enough. It was really defeating, and every so often I would torture us both trying to force it. Then one day he found out there are books about Minecraft & Captain Underpants and suddenly he was reading chapter books. I wasted over a year second guessing myself. 

‪When I look back on it now I really wonder if the people beating me over the head with it even had kids. 

-Megan, Happy Healthy Messy

Best Advice – Give up trying to be the perfect parent! When you allow yourself to make mistakes and just do what you can, so much of the pressure is taken off and you can focus on really enjoying your kids!! 

Worst Advice – any time someone mentions the importance of kids reaching milestones on time!! Children develop and grow at different paces and having expectations for when they walk, talk, potty train, etc. puts unnecessary pressure on both parents and children. The large majority of kids will get there…let them be themselves!!

-Talya, The Mother Fix

Worst Advice: “Let him cry. He needs to cry. He’s a boy, it will help him man up.” (I am NOT kidding… and he was only 6 weeks old, and this advice came from our PASTOR at the time).

-Rachelle, Mama Writes Reviews

Worst Advice: anytime a stranger assumes they know what is better for your baby than you do. “I don’t think the comments were malicious in intent, but they stung. The first woman was making me feel bad for something I couldn’t control. Of course I would rather be home, curled in bed, recovering. But I have other children and ANNA had a doctor’s appointment that I couldn’t keep from my bed. And the second woman? I guess she was looking out for Anna, but in doing so she was questioning me and my judgement. I do that all day, I don’t need a stranger confirming my own doubts.”

Best Advice: being reminded that I am blessed, “[The cashier] finished the transaction, handed me my bags, and before I walked away she said, ‘You are so blessed.’ …Buoyed by that kind, simple interaction, I walked to my van with tears in my eyes.”

-Amanda, Living on Grace, Excerpts from: How to Talk to Moms: A Beginner’s Guide

Worst parenting advice: You need to put your baby down. Don’t hold her so much, you’re going to spoil her. You have to let her cry, don’t respond to her so quickly. You’re teaching her that when she cries someone will show up instantly.

-Keyona, Professional Momma

The worst advice I got was that my daughter needed to be potty trained before she was 3. We tried and cried and forced. It was the worst thing ever. A few other people told me to just wait. She’ll be ready when she’s ready. She finally trained at 3 and a half and it was infinitely easier when she was ready. I really wish I hadn’t tried so hard to get her potty trained in 3 days at two years old.

-Niki, Toot’s Mom is Tired

The worst advice was to withhold things to get mine to speak. He’s speech delayed and in therapy, and positive reinforcement has worked way better than refusing him a sippy cup until he says “cup” which just causes frustration.

-Jasmine, Love, Life, Laugh, Motherhood

The best advice I received was to know you are doing your best and that’s good enough for your children. You can’t make everyone happy 24/7, but at the end of the day, only you know the best decisions for your family. 

-Samantha, Journey to SAHM

Worst parenting advice I ever received was – you should just let the child cry out sometime and ignore his / her howling. It makes their lungs stronger and they understand ‘No’. My twins were just 5 months old at that time. Thankfully I ignored the advice and was attentive to the kid’s howls. 

-Charu, KetchupMoms

The worst parenting advice was from a trusted family member after having my firstborn. I was clueless about breastfeeding and my milk supply seemed low at the time.

She herself had only breastfed one of her two children as the first one she bottle-fed and the second she decided to give it a go. Her milk supply was so high she could’ve donated it she had so much.

She made me second guess myself and feel that there was something wrong with my milk supply if it was taking 30- 40 minutes for my daughter to nurse. She told me I was starving my baby and I needed to supplement. I should’ve listened to actual experts instead. My daughter was still gaining weight so she clearly wasn’t starving. What I didn’t know was that not all women have TONS of breastmilk when nursing. There were measures I could’ve taken to increase my milk supply which I learned with my next two children. I never had enormous amounts of milk but I was able to breastfeed my next two babies without having to supplement with no issues or weight loss.

-Tonia, Why Not Mom

The absolute worst advice I EVER got was that you don’t need to worry about brushing your babies teeth until several come in at about a year or later. This advice came from my own mother and I can’t believe that I didn’t think about this more. I did brush my little guy’s teeth but I didn’t heavily stress on consistency. He ended having a ton of cavities! He had to be taken to the hospital and put under anesthesia to have several of his teeth fixed. I was a new mama and I just assumed she was right. Worst. Advice. Ever. He has great teeth now and we’ve had 2 other babes since. We make sure everyone is getting excellent dental hygiene.

-Toni, This Little Nest

The best parenting advice I ever received is that it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you. Have you been told not to feed your baby to sleep or that you hold them too much? If it is a problem then perhaps reconsider. If it doesn’t bother you or interfere with what you need to do, then it isn’t a problem. Some things might be a problem for you but not for other people, and that’s ok.

-Kathleen, Life By Kathleen

The worst advice I ever received was to start food so my baby would sleep through the night. We started with rice cereal when my son was four months old (with the pediatrician’s blessing too) and it ended up making his sleep worse. We ended up stopping and starting solids again at the 6 month mark, avoiding cereal for a while! 

-Ashley, Spit Up and Sit Ups

The best potty training advice I have is to put the paper liner or potty protector under your travel toilet seat when out, otherwise it’s so gross!

-Rachel, The Analytical Mommy

Some of the best advice I ever received was to hold my baby looking forward as soon as I felt comfortable doing it. I started her very young compared to some others. My little loved to look around and interact with others at a very young age. It encouraged her curiosity in a healthy way and others knew that it was ok to come up and interact with her because it was obvious that she was awake and not trying to catch a few zzzzz.

-Emily, So Sunny Day

The worst parenting advice I’ve ever received is that holding your baby will spoil them. Your only job as a parent at that stage is to hold and comfort them! 

-Kristi, Keeping Motherhood Real

The best advice I remember getting was to just follow your instincts and don’t doubt them. You know what is best for your child. I don’t honestly remember who even said that to me, but it has always worked well. 

-Sheila, Midlife Mom Blog

The worst advice I was given was that baby-wearing my baby would make them spoiled and would make it to where no one else could ever hold them unless they were in a carrier. 

-Breanna, Breanna Milburn Lifestyle and Mommy Blog

The best advice I was given: prioritize your own sleep above all things. Whatever gets the most of the family the most sleep in the first year is what you should do.

-L.F. Wade, Fort Birthday

Best Advice: to trust my instincts. And I still think that’ll be the best advice for the rest of my life. 

Worst Advice: to put my kiddo in situations that scare him so he’ll get over it.

-Jessie, Her Arms Are Strong

The best advice I ever received is there is no such thing as loving your baby or child too much and you cannot over hold your baby. Bread spoils but a baby does not. These moments go by quickly. Take advantage of them when you are there.

-Tricia, The Healthy(ish) Home

The best advice I ever received was to follow my instincts and be true to myself as a mother because I know my daughter better than anyone. 

-Amber, Graceful Little Moments

So, what is the right answer? What is the right way?

In summary, the best advice seems to come in the form of support rather than direction. It seems to involve letting it be, trusting our intuition, not falling into the comparison trap, being ourselves, and doing what makes our lives easier as parents—or what helps us get through the day and remain sane! 

Hearing from these parents shows me that in the end, we truly have to take the advice we receive with a grain of salt. It is up to us to decide whether to listen to or use that information. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all advice as every child and family is unique. Just because we are doing something differently than someone else, it doesn’t make us wrong.

So take the advice in, but know that you don’t have to use it all. Decide what works for your family and go with that. When in doubt, listen to these lovely mamas: go with your gut, cut yourself some slack, and feel confident in yourself as a parent. Do what works.

As I like to say, we don’t always have to listen to what “they say.” Trusting our intuition may just be the right answer.

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