No sooner have you popped your new baby out, then a wave of advice, remarks and “helpful” observations will start coming your way.
If you’re not careful, you will start drowning in it. Some remarks are laughable and others can be just downright upsetting.
As a new mum your emotions are all over the place thanks to those dreaded hormones. The problem is they make you weep over ridiculous things, like not having any clean spoons, and it makes you extremely susceptible to bullshit.
The uncertainty that comes with being a new parent makes it difficult for you to drown out the nonsense and recognise it for the utter nonsense that it really is.
So, for the good of mums everywhere, here are the remarks and advice you need to ignore after having a baby:
1. Oh, you’re not breastfeeding?
As if we haven’t already been bombarded with enough information and facts about breastfeeding from midwives and health visitors, for some reason other people seem to feel they need to express their view on why you should be breastfeeding.
The fact of the matter is some people choose to breastfeed, some people don’t. Some people can breastfeed, and some can’t. It really doesn’t matter as long as you feed your baby.
2. You should never rock a baby to sleep
Fact, newborn babies are rubbish at sleep. Another fact, mums need sleep to survive. If you find a way to get your baby to sleep, you do it. This is about survival, by any means necessary.
You will not still be rocking your child to sleep at 16.
3. You really should sleep when the baby sleeps
This one seems obvious, but it’s easier said than done. For example, it’s kind of hard to sleep when the baby sleeps when visitors keep popping in every couple of hours, only to remind you that you should get more rest. It’s kind of difficult to do that when a revolving door has been installed where a locked one used to be.
4. In my day…
Nothing good ever comes from this phrase, regardless how the sentence ends.
In your day babies may well have been given whisky, put in their own bedroom from day one and sleeping through at two weeks old, but this isn’t your day. This is my day and my baby.
It’s worth reminding yourself when this little nugget does pop out of someone’s mouth that you forget A LOT about the early months, even in the space of just a year. It’s all a blur, so anyone recounting the baby days from several years, or even decades, ago probably isn’t recalling it very accurately.
5. You’re holding the baby far too much, you’ll spoil her
I’m not sure what the origins of this comment are.
It’s possible it comes from a place of jealousy, as people clamour to hold the baby and lavish their own attention on him or her.
Or it comes from some kind of misplaced desire to help, by making you think it’s OK not to cuddle your baby as much.
It is absolutely fine, no more than that, it is absolutely normal for you to hold your baby as much as you and she wants. You cannot spoil a newborn baby. Enjoy those hugs and have them as often as you want to.
6. Co-sleeping is dangerous
There is nothing worse than sleep deprivation, Apart from being made to feel guilty about the way we choose to parent our children.
7. I’m sure you’ll lose the baby weight soon
Read this very carefully and make sure you remember it. You do not need to think about how much you weigh right now. Don’t think about it, don’t worry about it and if other people are insensitive enough to even mention it, take that remark and stick it in a box in the furthest recess of your brain.
8. Get your baby to a doctor pronto
Having a newborn is a totally scary time. You worry about everything. What’s that rash? Why are they crying so much? Does he seem less alert today than yesterday? Is he growing enough?
Therefore when people, sometimes ones you don’t even know that well, start telling you that you need to panic, get your baby to a doctor and that you’re being far to relaxed about caring for their health, you need to learn to take it with a pinch of salt.
If you’re worried about something, of course see your doctor. If a fellow shopper peers into your pram and remarks that her nephew used to cry just like that and it turned out he had colic/asthma/a brain tumour, try to let it wash over you.
9. Just leave her to cry
“You’ve fed her, tried to get her to sleep and given her loads of cuddles but she’s still crying, so just put her down! It won’t do her any harm.”
This tidbit is like telling a starving Yogi Bear to stay away from a picnic basket. When a mum hears their newborn baby cry, they are going to be at their side in the blink of an eye.
10. Start solids early to get the baby sleeping through
Starting solids can help your baby feel more full. However it can also lead to more restless nights as their tummy struggles to cope with the change of diet.
If you want to start solids early, because you think it’s the right thing to do, then go right ahead. Don’t do it because Doris down the road thinks putting baby rice in the bottle will give you 12 blissful hours of sleep from three weeks.
Do any of these sound familiar? What’s the worst piece of baby advice you have received?