Having a baby is an exciting time that is a cause for celebration for you and your nearest and dearest. However what you don’t realise is having a baby is an invitation for everyone to comment on everything they and you are doing. I often wonder why people can’t just leave you to get on with it, after all the parents do know best. Instead it’s like these well meaning advisers think you are utterly clueless (maybe we are a bit but we kind of want to find our own way).
I think it’s very easy for grandparents to fall into this trap. They see you as inexperienced and themselves as total experts. What they don’t appreciate is they didn’t have Google back in their day. This is both a helping hand and a curse for parents, but it does mean we know pretty much everything about all matters baby. Anything we’re not sure of, we can become experts on within 30mins of staring at our smartphones. There is no better or more diligent researcher than a new mum.
There are also the throwaway comments that just hit a sensitive spot. The thing is these comments always come from the right place, it’s just us new parents really just want to be left to do the parenting and have the advice/remarks saved for when we ask for them.
So here are my top picks for comments/questions that left me grinding my teeth.
She’s crying, have you fed her?
No, never! Blimey is that why she’s been crying the last 12 weeks?? I had no idea we were supposed to feed them.
Not sleeping through the night yet? You need to get her on solids/formula/both.
I get there is a good reason for early weaning some babies and some just don’t get on with breastfeeding. Even though it is perfectly normal for a small baby to wake frequently in the night people seem obsessed with getting your child to sleep through the night. What they don’t get is by saying this the implication is you’re doing something wrong. When we whinge about those late night feeds all we’re really looking for is sympathy, not a mega bottle pumped full of baby rice.
She doesn’t look anything like you.
Thanks, I spent 9 months growing her and she’s 50 per cent me but apparently I had nothing to do with her based on your first glance. Also they reveal this information time and time again with great enthusiasm as if it was a big secret who she looks like and we as her parents had no idea. This is a subjective matter and people see what they want to see when it comes to babies, however I wish they would keep it to themselves.
She can’t be hungry again?!
Yes she can because her stomach is the size of a grape and she’s enjoying the comfort of being close to mummy!
Does she really need a nap? She doesn’t look tired.
This is another case where mum knows best. People often see newborns looking wide eyed and assume they’re alert and interested when in fact they’re so knackered they’ve gone glassy-eyed.
You shouldn’t rock her to sleep, she’ll never fall asleep on her own now.
It’s been three hours of non-stop crying. I need her to go to sleep now or I’ll never cope with my toddler in the morning. I won’t be rocking her to sleep when she’s 16.
She’s very big/small.
You wouldn’t comment on my weight so why comment on my baby’s. This can be a really sensitive subject if baby was premature or baby has a particularly big appetite. It leaves mummy feeling like she has to explain. Just don’t go there.
Has anyone ever made annoying comments to you during pregnancy or motherhood?