Poor Advice I Followed and Now Regret

New moms are bombarded with unsolicited advice.  It can feel overwhelming, condescending, annoying, and make you really doubt yourself!  Having no younger siblings, I didn’t know anything about babies when I became a mom!  Like many women, I learned as I went.  And 12 years later I’d like to share some of the worst advice I was given.  Advice that I followed and now wish I hadn’t.  And just for fun, I’ll throw in some unsolicited advice of my own now that I’ve had 4 kids and have surely become an expert by now.  🙂

1: Share your baby.  I remember shortly before giving birth to my first child, my dad encouraged me to share my baby with the family.  He pointed out that I would have soooo much time with her, and I should be willing to share her.  Having never been given poor advice from my dad, I followed this advice and happily passed my baby around as much as I could.  I now see that I should have held her close more and not have been so eager to make others happy with her presence.  (  can also see that he was possibly planting a seed so he would get more time with her….  It’s sweet and I love my dad, and I loved watching him be a grandpa to her, but I do feel like I missed out on her parts of her babyhood.)

My advice:  Sure my time with her was ample, but only for a handful of months.  I initially felt like she would be a baby for much longer than she really was, and before I knew it, she was crawling and wanted little to do with me.  My arms still ache to hold her as a baby.  So my advice is to mainly share your baby when it benefits you, not when it benefits others.  If someone would like to hold your baby so you can rest, shower, or eat- then that is wonderful.  If someone wants to hold your baby while he/she is content and snuggly in your arms, think twice about how fleeting babyhood is.  It’s ok to be selfish when it comes to your own baby.

2: Don’t sleep with your baby: Co-sleeping is a hot topic, and it was even more polarized 12 years ago than it is now.  There were no voices of reason when it came to co-sleeping back then.  There was one message, and that was you should never sleep with your baby.  If you do one of two things will happen: 1: they will become totally co-dependent on you forever for everything, or 2: you will roll onto your baby and they will die.

It’s always in my nature to do the “right” thing, so I fought my baby for months, insisting she sleep alone in her crib.  I wasted hours upon hours of sleep, on my feet, shh-ing her back to sleep, only to have her wake up the second I placed her back in her crib.  By about 4:00 or 5:00 am each morning I would give up and co-sleep until 9 or 10.  Then each morning I felt like a miserable failure and vowed to never co- sleep again.  Only to end up reliving the same torturous night again and again.

Everyone told me it was dangerous to co-sleep.  11 years later I’d like to argue that the real danger is a mother who is pushed to the brink of delirium due to lack of sleep!  No one told me that my rest was important.  The only message given to me was that the only important thing was teaching my baby to sleep alone.  And all that meant was that neither of us slept.  For about an entire year.  And it was dreadful.  And I almost lost my mind.

My advice:  Let your baby tell you how they want to sleep:  Due to extreme fatigue and baby number #2 arriving less than 16 months after baby #1, co-   sleeping happened constantly because I pretty much fell asleep every time I nursed.  I would nurse for 5 hours straight at night and not even realize it.  But then baby #3 came along and he was totally content to sleep alone.  So we hardly ever co-slept.  I enjoyed the freedom of watching TV at night with my husband, going out with friends after he was down for the night, and even started attending more births as a doula.  But then baby #4 came and he wanted to sleep in my arms.  So I cut back on doula work and slept with him most nights because by then I had learned that nothing is more important than sleep.  If your baby sleeps well without you, then don’t feel guilty for having them sleep alone.  Enjoy it.  If your baby wants to sleep with you, then tuck them into bed with you.  Enjoy it.  Don’t do drugs.  Don’t go to bed intoxicated.  Chances are you won’t only not kill your baby, but you just might get some sleep, too.  (Get more sleep tips here!)

3: Stop nursing when you get pregnant.  At my first child’s 9 month well baby visit I mentioned to our pediatrician that I was pregnant and we would be adding a new baby to his practice.  He asked me if I was still nursing and I told him I was.  He looked me in the eye and said “No, you’re done nursing.”  So what did I do?  I went home and weaned my baby, of course.  Again, wanting to do the “right” thing, I obeyed the advice I was given, assuming it was doctrine, because it came from a doctor after all.

My advice: Decide for yourself.  I think my big takeaway with this experience is that I wasn’t the one who chose when to stop breastfeeding.  I hate that I blindly obeyed a doctor, especially now when I know many women who have continued breastfeeding after becoming pregnant.  My big regret is not being an active participant in the decision making, not the decision itself.  My milk supply was dwindling by that point, and weaning would have probably happened on it’s own in the next month or so.  But that decision was mine to make.  No my pediatrician’s.

In my experience, regret tends to come more often when we do something because someone else told us to do it, instead of us deciding for ourselves that it is the best thing to do.  Over the years I have also been given an abundance of good advice that I have incorporated into my mothering, and I feel good about it because I thought it over and felt that it rang true to myself and my beliefs.  Bottom line is, you are the mom and you are in charge!  You get to decide what works for your family, because no one else is as in-tune to your family’s needs than you are.  So don’t doubt yourself.  You’ve got this!

If you want more information on how to make decisions, check out my book The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby.  Learn how women all over the country are using scientific data, LDS doctrine, and personal revelation to make birthing decisions that are right for them and prevent personal regrets.

Written by Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA)

Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe?

Breastfeeding Bond
Breastfeeding is so special. It can be a source of comfort, love and bonding. It is beautiful, good for baby, and good for momma.

But what about when it’s not?

For some women, myself included, there can be endless obstacles, problems, challenges, heartache and tears! This is my story, and includes a few major “obstacles” I experienced after the birth of my third child. We had a beautiful natural birth. It was only 4 hours long and he was delivered safely, all on his own. We chose to not find out the gender, so when he was born I swooped him up quickly and held him tightly to my chest as I cried tears of joy! I pulled him away and announced to my hunny that we had another son! It was a picture perfect birth.

Immediately following birth he latched on and began to nurse. I nursed my first two children exclusively for nearly a year. So I figured breastfeeding would be no problem for me! I was an expert. During this first feeding, it felt awkward, uncomfortable and painful. I asked my midwife to check his latch because it seemed different, she told me it looked great and to continue because “it’s always tender at first” (very true). I also asked the pediatrician to check the latch and she did as well.


Every time I nursed it still hurt. ‘Maybe I should call the lactation consultant,’ I thought. ‘But I’m a third time mom, this is like riding a bike! I’m fine.’ Wrong! I decided to be humble and ignore my embarrassment and eventually called for the Lactation consultant to come in. She checked the baby’s mouth and tongue for ties (what the heck is a tie??) and did not find any. She then evaluated the latch and said it was good. (okay, great! I’ll try again, thank you very much!)

Well guess what? Nothing improved. Even though I saw 4 doctors and 3 lactation consultants. None of them could help. I spent 3 long months trying figure out nursing. I would cry through every – single – feeding. My nipples had begun to crack and were very sore and painful to touch. When my son was 2 weeks old I was burping him and his spit up was completely red from the blood of my nipples. I never had baby blues with my others, but I had it now! I wanted to be happy and enjoy my baby, but I began to resent feedings. I was so weary of him that I went to great lengths to keep my older children quiet just so he would sleep longer and I wouldn’t have to nurse.

I was so mad at myself for feeling that way. I wanted to enjoy my baby. I wanted to love nursing like I did with my first two. I felt like a failure each time I saw a different professional and they told me nothing was wrong. I thought maybe I had post-partum depression and if I could just be happy it wouldn’t hurt to nurse. I was angry at my baby. I was angry at my breasts, but mostly I was angry at the professionals that couldn’t help me. I lost faith in their abilities.

My husband was so sweet and supportive, but he had a hard time understanding why I wouldn’t feed the baby formula. The problem was, I knew how to nurse and I knew I could do it! I had already successfully nursed two babies! I just didn’t know why this baby couldn’t do it! Together we prayed, fasted, and he gave me several blessings.

Seek Help

My sweet sister also had a nursing baby at the time, and one day offered to nurse my son. We spent the whole day together and she nursed him several times. At first she said it was good- felt normal- but by the end of the day she was in pain as well, and said she couldn’t do it anymore. Heaven to my ears! I knew it wasn’t my fault! Her confirming that it felt different gave me even more hope and a desire to seek answers. I decided to share my story on social media and got the response from several women that my son MUST be tongue-tied.
I thought they were crazy. How could seven different professionals say this was not the case, and ten moms who never even looked at my son be SO SURE that it was the case? I didn’t care! I listened to them and saw a specialist the next day.

At the initial appointment with the tongue-tie specialist, I watched a video describing tongue-tie, the effects in the baby and the mother, and the process of diagnosing it. I cried through the WHOLE video. My son had every – single – symptom. And I had EVERY – SINGLE – SYMPTOM. When the nurse came back to the room after the video she asked if I had any questions about the video. I immediately said, “YES! How long until the doctor can fix this!?” I felt so relieved. The doctor diagnosed my son with a 4th degree tie. I asked my doctor in tears why no one else could see it. I explained to him that I had seen SEVEN different professionals and none of them diagnosed my son properly. I had to endure pain for six long weeks! I was so angry at each one of them for being so neglectful. My doctor explained that 4th degree ties are very uncommon and hard to see unless you have been specifically trained in the area. He explained that many women who have breastfeeding problems switch to bottle feeding, so birth professionals no longer encounter problems like this, thus losing the opportunity to learn from it.

The days following the tongue-clipping were so much better! My nipples healed within days and nursing began to become lovely, just as I hoped it would be.

What is a tongue-tie?

“Tongue tie’, ‘Ankyloglossia’ or ‘short frenum’ are the terms used when the lingual frenum is short and restricts the mobility of the tongue.” (http://tonguetie.net/background/) In other words, a tongue-tie is when the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of your mouth is too short for the tongue to extend out past the teeth. A tongue-tie can cause many problems in a developing child such as breastfeeding difficulty and speech and language development.


Sometimes it seems our bodies have to go through heaven and hell. It’s hard. Sometimes there are obstacles. Don’t give up! Don’t stop trying! You are beautiful.

Your body is a gift. A gift that can keep on giving! Trust in your body and your instincts.

You are strong, Momma

Your body gives and provides life.

Your body sustains life.

Your body is beautiful.



I am Clarissa Baxter, mother of four. This experience helped me substantially when my fourth child was born. As soon as my baby entered this earth and I pulled her up to my chest- I could see she had a tongue-tie. The very next day an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) came to my hospital room and clipped her tongue right there. She was diagnosed with a 1st degree, meaning at the very front of her tongue.

It was such a relief to know that because of my hard work, learning and knowledge that I was able to take care of a problem the second time around before it even became a problem. In addition, my daughter was the first baby to ever have her tongue clipped in that hospital. The head nurse came to my room to thank me for insisting that a doctor come to my aid to help my nursing baby. She said that I was the first mother to ever do that and that it created a “buzz“ around the maternity ward. Throughout my stay in the hospital I had several nurses come to my room and thank me as well. I felt very proud to have helped the hospital in a small step to becoming a baby-friendly status hospital. Several of the nurses invited me to attend the breastfeeding support group to share my story and hopefully help other mothers.  I have always had a passion for labor; birth and breastfeeding, but feeling the reward of being helpful really lit a fire under me. This led me to enroll in an online doula course and become a certified labor and birth doula. I am now on my way to becoming a midwife and hope to help many more women in the future.



Written by Clarissa Baxter, CNA, CLD(CBI)

  • Birth Doula, Certified Nurse Assistant, Childbirth Instructor, Midwifery Student at Midwives College of Utah
  • 480-338-2851
  • clarissajbaxter@gmail.com
  • Serving San Lorenzo, CA