New Mums, Beware of the Know it Alls!
Overwhelmed by well-meaning advice when you were pregnant?
It was nothing compared to what you will experience now that your child is born. Every time you step out with your newborn, virtually everyone from the shopkeeper, newspaper guy, to the random lady in the bank queue, will have a word of advice about what is best for your baby. They will go into detail about what you should and should not do and, how you should do it, and swear that it will solve all your problems. It will drive you bananas, if you allow it.
Make a decision whose advice you are going to take from the get go. While websites such as MumsVillage provide excellent information, which you already know if you have been following the site’s week-by-week guide through your pregnancy, sometimes it makes a difference to talk to a real human being who can empathise with you. It could be your Mum, favourite aunt, or friend with four children whom nothing seems to phase.
Once you have identified your source of reliable information and advice, it is easier to deflect the unwarranted advice that will come your way.
Trust your motherly instincts. Those tend to kick in pretty quick after baby come. They may be hidden underneath all the fear and uncertainty, but they are like a true north guide as to what action to take and when. One of those moments might be when the doctor is trying to prescribe an antibiotic ‘just to clear anything that may be hiding’ when he just mentioned baby’s chest is clear and it is a viral infection, or when your neighbour tries to give you some powdery substance that will supposedly soothe your baby’s aching gums … just mumble something appropriate and walk away, or not.
Filter out the old wives tales, think through the new research, and pay attention to repeated information coming from different sources. Do not be afraid to try things out for yourself based on your motherly instincts. Countless studies have been done about co-sleeping, sleeping positions for baby, feeding, how to dress baby, etc. but soon you will discover that babies, much like pregnancies, are different.
You are the only one who knows what works best for your baby and your peace of mind.
Appreciate. You are doubtless hormonal, and fatigued adjusting to brand-new motherhood. Even though you may feel a little irritable, choose gratitude and allow the unwarranted advice roll off you like water off a duck’s back. Keep in mind that the aunty who keeps calling to find out if you have had your daily ration of porridge and njahi truly has your best interests at heart and whether or not you take her advice, take her calls as an expression of loving concern. Believe it or not, one day not too far in the future, you may be guilty of trying to give unsolicited ‘help’ another new mum. So enjoy the concern and attention, and remember it will soon pass.
Smile The best response to unwarranted advice is to smile, nod, and make the appropriate sounds. Trying to counter such advice usually falls on deaf ears, so you are better off holding your silence and your peace. Accept the gifts, visits, concern and advice graciously. Then do your own thing.
After all, it is your baby so you have the final say.
More from Ory on her Blog.
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