When your little bundle of joy enters the world, you are immediately inundated with (mostly) well meaning advice from EVERYONE. Literally everyone. When you’re out in the world it will blow you away how many people feel that it’s OK to tell you how you should be raising your child even if you’ve literally never seen them before in your life.
Again, I know a lot is well intended and let’s face it, it DOES take a village to raise these little creatures. However, there are some pieces of advice that NEVER go over well and some tried and true nuggets of wisdom.
I reached out to the lovely peeps on my FB page and asked: What is some of the WORST (and/or unwanted) advice you received and what is some of the BEST? Below are the responses (and a few of my own sprinkled in)
BEST: “If Baby, Mommy & Daddy are happy, that’s all that matters”
This nugget came from my Mom. She knows how I take everything to heart and how I never felt like I was doing enough. When I decided to pump exclusively, I was RACKED with guilt. She looked at me and then looked at O sleeping peacefully on the couch and said “I think he’s doing just fine. If pumping is better for you and makes you happy, then you’re doing the right thing. Whatever works best for you and your family is what’s right” Every time I second guess myself I check back in with this statement for a reality check.
WORST: “Enjoy every moment, it goes too fast”
Jenn J said “It seemed really innocuous at the time but I came to really resent the advice: “Enjoy every minute it goes so fast.” While, I’ve found that to be true …time really does fly …when I first brought my daughter home from the hospital and I wasn’t enjoying her because of how much/long I struggled to nurse her.. I felt doubly guilty.
I was hormonal, exhausted and my baby was a hungry screaming mess but I kept thinking:” what’s wrong with me? I’m not enjoying every moment!?!”
What I wish someone had told me was: ‘It’s going to be the toughest most rewarding thing you’ve ever done. Love them first and forgive yourself second'”
Kathryn M said: “Well some moments are just meant to be gotten through.“ PREACH, Momma.
Try Instead: “I know it’s probably very hard right now but you’re doing an amazing job!”
BEST: Join a class
Cassie B-M said “Participate in free baby classes through Ontario early years centers (or any baby class really). Got me out of the house to interact with other moms of babies and learn from their experiences too. Baby classes are definitely for the moms and dads, not really the babies!”
WORST: “It’s ok to let them cry”
Amanda W said “Worst advice: don’t pick up a newborn all the time, you will spoil them. I personally don’t believe in spoiling a newborn.”
And I agree. I mean, if you’re having a pee and the baby starts wailing, finish your pee and then go get them. But there have been studies showing that in the first few months of life, if a baby cries, it’s because THEY NEED YOU. I repeat – YOU CAN NOT SPOIL A NEWBORN. Now, when they become toddlers and are wailing because you won’t let them eat a candle, that’s different. But in those early stages of life, babies need and want to be cuddled.
Try instead: “Would you like me to hold the baby while you pee/shower/eat/sleep? You’re doing an amazing job!”
BEST/WORST: “Sleep when the baby sleeps”
This one is a little controversial. Personally, I lived by this advice and for the first while, I did sleep (as much as I could) when O slept. However, this was only really realistic for the first 2 weeks or so and then I had to get back to real life. However, A LOT of Mommas I know hear this advice and secretly think “How about you eff off”
Try instead: “If you can, sleep when the baby sleeps. Or, I’ll watch the baby while you sleep. Better yet, let me do all those annoying chores you keep putting off because you’re too tired. Also, you’re doing an amazing job!”
WORST: “Why aren’t you Breastfeeding? Breast is best!”
TRUST US, we KNOW “Breast is best” You know how we know? Literally every person, ever has told us that. When you’re at the hospital there are posters EVERYWHERE of a new mother, blissfully nursing her baby saying “Breast is best!” The reality? Your baby sucks on your nipples for an hour. They are raw, cracked and sore. You put the baby down. Baby starts screaming because they’re still hungry. Turns out, they can’t latch OR you don’t have enough mild. LISTEN – if a woman isn’t breast feeding, you can be PRETTY certain she choose not to for a specific reason (and that reason is none of your business tbh).
Try instead: “Way to keep your little human alive! You’re doing an amazing job!”
BEST: When in doubt, pump & bottle feed:
Kathryn M said “Best advice: ‘Why don’t you just use the breast pump… I’ll help you boil the bottles'” I had O about a month after Kathryn had her little guy and she shared this wisdom with me. It was because of her that I decided to pump exclusively (and saved my sanity).
BEST: “Get out of the house!”
This is another gem from my Mom. The first day she came to visit us at the house after O was born, I greeted her at the door in tears. I hadn’t left the house in 4-5 days and I was an emotional wreck. She took one look at me and said “Get out of the house. I don’t care where you go, what you do, but go out” I VERY reluctantly agreed. I drove to the nearest store (Walmart) and shopped for new bras that would work for pumping and clothes for O. As I started to walk around Walmart in a haze, I started to relax a bit.
Sometimes you just need to remove yourself from the situation to gain a little perspective. Also, it’s good to just be on your own for a bit. I knew O was in good hands with my Mom and it felt really good just to be out.
ABSOLUTE WORST: “You should____________”
If you find yourself EVER starting a sentence with “You should…” just stop and don’t say what you were going to say. Just because you did something a certain way doesn’t mean I should. I’m doing the best I can and believe me when I tell you I’m ALWAYS thinking about what I SHOULD be doing. Short of me trying to throw my baby out the window, please keep your “shoulds” to yourself.
Try instead: “You’re doing an amazing job!”
Anything I’m missing? What else would you add to the list?
SUPER huge shout out to the Momma’s who contributed. LOVE having feedback to share.