Unsolicited advice come with the territory of being new parents. The moment your belly swells up to announce the new life you are bearing within, people come knocking on your doors – it’s like an open invitation to chat. And that’s when different sorts of advice start pouring in. “Grandma used cloth diapers on all of you and none of you have had diaper rash!” “Add cereal in milk to make them fuller.” The list goes on.
These advice are not all that bad. After all, they stem from the purest of hearts, the best of all intentions. But if you are on the side of dishing out these advice, there are several reasons why it may be better to keep some of these thoughts to yourself.
First of all, new parents may be pelted with conflicting advice all the time. Grandma says formula milk is better. But a friend, Jane, who is a mother of 3, explains breast is best. It can be confusing for these new parents to make a decision with so many different types of advice for the same subject.
Secondly, today’s parents are internet-savvy people who can access a trove of professional information with just a few swipes and clicks. Life experiences are worth a lot, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the comfort level of mom and dad.
Lastly, new mothers struggle to feel confident about taking care of their babies. They may have spent their pregnancy days learning all they can about motherhood. Some of the advice may conflict with what they have learnt, which can hurt the confidence level of the mom. Once again, leave it to mom and trust in her.
In celebration of mothers all around the world, we would like to give a voice to mothers facing unsolicited advice and highlight some types of advice which have become peeve topics for them:
On surface, this is sound advice, but in reality it rarely works out the way it should. In between the 716460 things a mom has to do such as pumping milk and then washing them after they are done, eating, clearing the 657 group chat messages and what-not, there is little time left for real sleep. And when you finally close your eyes, baby wakes up again. So let’s just not rub it in.
A new mom is as tired as an old man, so to ask her not to indulge in one of life’s best enjoyment – showering – is akin to torture. Yes, this practice may have stemmed from Asian confinement practices, but even today’s TCM professionals like Eu Yan Sang is starting to caution against it. Whether mom chooses to shower or not, it is up to her. Yet a lot of times, these moms are made to feel ashamed of their choice to shower – let’s not let it become a thing!
A mom has just pushed a watermelon out of her unmentionables, and the thought of doing that all over again can seriously cause full-blown panic attacks. This unsolicited advice can happen to parents whether they have 1 or 5 kids. Leave the family planning to the actual family in question instead.
No, they don’t.
Medical advice should be left to the experts, and ultimately the decision lies in the parents. Babies are born unique, and while one baby may poop more than the other, or look plumper than another, it doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with what mom is doing.
We all love sharing our knowledge with the uninitiated, and I’m sure most of us is guilty of saying “you know, when I was younger…” but sometimes it’s best to just keep it in. It’s just a pet peeve for many moms – no reason actually, but perhaps just let them create their own experiences and learn from there?
When you’re a mom, everyone’s a critic but at the end of the day you’ll know just what to do and what your baby needs. A popular tip to overcome unsolicited advice is the age-old adage ‘one ear in and one ear out’. Remember that these people love you and the baby and wants the best for you. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one in-charge. Stand firm in what you believe in, and take advice when you need it and thank them. The days are long but the years are short – one day, when your baby is a sassy teenager, you’ll look back at these good old days and wonder where all the time has gone.
I sound like one of them.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!