In addition to the hilarious bad parenting advice we once received, and the advice we wish we knew when our kids were babies, we’re so grateful to be able to share some of the best advice from some of the most wonderful, caring, helpful parents we know.
You might recognize some of them, through their blogs, Facebook communities, or social media feeds (which are all worth a follow, by the way).
If you’re a new parent, thanks to BTDT parents like the ones here, you can start to form your own judgment, boundaries, and parenting style. Really, the goal is to help you learn to trust your own gut so you can parent with confidence.
Because hey, isn’t that what it’s all about? Learning from parenting experts so you can eventually become one yourself?
The best parenting advice from 9 of our favorite parent bloggers and writers
1. “Parent the kid, not the concept of them.”
– Charlie Capen, Vice President @GISH, Author
It’s easy to fall into habits and look at your kids through a simpler lens than the complex and dimensional people they are. When I hold an idea of my child more important the person they’re showing me to be, I fail at parenting them. And learning about who I am in the process.
2. “Babies experience the same emotions you do.”
– Jill Krause, Author of 50 Things To Do Before You Deliver & Lactivate
In the beginning of my motherhood journey, it was easy to think the baby was crying because they were hungry or tired or needed a diaper change. Those were obvious needs, right? So when my baby was fed and changed and rested, it would be super frustrating when they cried. Remembering that babies can also feel nervous or confused or sad or even just restless helped keep crying in perspective.
Sometimes you can do all the “right” things, and you still have an unhappy baby, just like, as an adult, you can still be unhappy when all your basic needs are met. A lot of parenting, for me, has been learning to leave space for my childrens’ emotions, even when I can’t fix them.
3. “If travel is important to you, don’t be afraid to keep doing it, even with babies.”
– Karen Walrond, Leadership Consultant, Speaker, Author, Attorney, Positive Psychology Coach
If travel is important to you, don’t be afraid to keep doing it, even with babies. Too many times I’ve heard parents of young ones say they’re postponing travel until their kids are “old enough to remember.” The truth is that travel is more than about creating memories in foreign places: it’s also about learning to connect with folks who are different, feeling courageous and adventurous enough to experience unfamiliar people and places, and developing a grounded confidence in trying new things.
My daughter is 17 now, and even though she doesn’t remember all the places she’s ever been to, she is proud to have been traveling since she was an infant, and has an eagerness to learn about the world in a way only travel could’ve given her.
4. “Fed is best!”
– Stacie Billis, Cookbook Author and Co-Host of Didn’t I Just Feed You podcast
Instagram: @didntijustfeedyou + @staciebillis
I was crushed by the tremendous difficulties I experienced breastfeeding, but I can tell you now, 14 years later, that any baby who is loved and just plain fed will absolutely thrive.
Feeding kids can be exhausting, so give yourself grace, especially when that means leaning on formula, store-bought purees — and eventually, chicken nuggets and frozen burritos. The kids will be fine, especially if you keep mealtimes easy for yourself and stress-free for them.
5. “What he wants is love.”
– Roxanna Sarmiento, Writer, Marketing Consultant, Digital Strategist
I know it sounds cheesy, but my father reminded me that when my baby/toddler cried he wasn’t being difficult, he simply needed love — to be held and comforted or fed — it was simple and oh so true.
I’d also add “trust your instinct.” This advice drove me nuts at the time, but it was true — when I really paid attention to what I felt I was able to figure out what to do, when to ask for help (because my instinct didn’t know everything), and most importantly, it allowed me to enjoy my babies and grow in my confidence as a mother.
6. “Parenting is not an algorithm.”
– Dr. Jordan Shapiro, author of FATHER FIGURE: How to be a Feminist Dad, and Nonresident Fellow in the Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution
I would spend forty five minutes rocking my kids and patting them on the back all different ways. Then, I’d be convinced that whatever I did last was the secret formula to calm them down. So, that’s the technique I’d start with next time. But it never worked. My mother had to remind me that sometimes it just takes 45 minutes for them to calm down and all you can do is hold them and love them while you wait.
7. “I promise, they’ll go off to college potty trained.”
– Audrey McClellan, Founder Mom Generations.com
Parents love to compare notes and it’s the ones with kids “ahead” of the curve that love to share milestones the most. My mom gave me the advice here, and it could correlate to any new milestone. It gave me a chance to take a breath and stop feeling pressured by other parents. Your kids hit milestones when they’re ready — knowing they’d go off to college potty trained made me laugh. But it also helped me realize it’s not a race.
8. “When it comes to feeding kids, your job is to give them healthy options. It’s not your job to force them to eat.”
– Dr. Christine Koh, Ph.D., Author, Speaker, Podcaster, Columnist
I found this to be a huge shift from the clear your plate/must finish your vegetables or else type mentality of our generation when we were growing up. And it completely took the stress out of feeding my kids! Yes, they went through a stretch of only eating white, cheese-focused products, but I just kept putting out the produce, protein, and other good stuff…and yes, they eventually started eating it.
9. “You can’t spoil a baby with love.”
– Jeannette Kaplun, Founder & Editor of Hispana Global
When I was a new mom, everybody had advice and all I heard was not to pick up my newborn when he cried. Overwhelmed, I felt guilty about holding and soothing my baby until my mom said you can’t ever spoil a child with love. To this day, I shower my kids with love, not things. With hugs, kisses and words of encouragement.