A while back, a friend of mind was interviewing me for a leadership video and one of the questions she asked was, “What is the worst piece of advice you’ve ever been given?” I was surprised at that question because ordinarily, people want to know the best piece of advice you’ve been given.
It was tough to come up with an answer. Maybe because after I realize it was bad advice, I generally forget about it or I choose not to take it in the first place.
But on this day, the thing that came to mind was reading baby books.
I’m not sure if someone told me to read books or if, perhaps, I decided it on my own. Nevertheless, I consider it ill-advised and probably the worst piece of advice, to date, I’ve been given.
Reading the baby books caused me to question my intuition.
Several times in my life, I have realized questioning my intuition was a bad decision. Whether it was because I didn’t ask a question or because I changed my mind based on something other than my gut feeling.
When Ella was born, like many new parents, I thought I knew nothing. I spent a lot of time reading BabyCenter and WebMD and consulting “What to Expect in the First Year” and a few other select baby books. I read a lot.
While finding some answers was comforting, I began to see that the majority of the time, if I would have just done what I thought was right in the first place, Ella wouldn’t have screamed for an hour and I wouldn’t have ended up in tears next to her.
Figuring out her eating habits was the worst. Breastfeeding and I were not the best of friends so I pumped exclusively for the first four months of Ella’s life. We also supplemented with formula. I followed the books and the websites to know when and how much to feed her because I was so afraid of underfeeding or overfeeding my child. That was quite possibly the worst thing I could have done. 1) Because most babies let you know when they are finished and 2) they also definitely let you know when they want more.
I can’t begin to tell you the many times I kicked myself for not following my intuition and feeding Ella, even if she had just eaten 30 minutes previously. We have since learned that our daughter can put food away like no one’s business and looking back on it, she’s been that way since the beginning.
I finally had the epiphany that I should put down the books and listen to my baby. That made all the difference in the world.
In my opinion, most women tend question themselves way more than we should, as mothers and in general. I know I do. My loving husband (gently) tells me to “STOP IT” constantly.
But just like my experience with feeding Ella, once I had a few “I was right” moments, that is all it took to know I should just put down the book, stop looking on internet, and trust my instinct. I know I’m a good mother and I also know I’m a pretty intuitive person.
Most often, when we question ourselves and our gut feelings, it ends up back firing.
So whether it’s a baby book or something else, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and trust in your intuition from time to time. I’m pretty confident you’ll be surprised at the outcome.
And so what, if you’re wrong, at least you know there’s a book or website out there to tell you how to fix it!