How to Deal With Unwanted "Mum" Advice
Once you’ve announced you’re pregnant there is no getting away from it.
People will give you advice whether you want it or not. Some will give great advice, some will leave you reeling, and a lot will make you feel patronized but, remember, advice is often offered with kind intentions…
It is really difficult to not be sensitive when you’re pregnant--I personally was particularly sensitive when I had a newborn baby. But of course you’re sensitive! You’re exhausted and hormonal, adjusting to life with another human being completely reliant on you for survival, and you have no idea what you are doing most of the time! It's a lot to handle.
When being given advice you can either:
1) Take all the advice you can get
It's overwhelming having a new baby and there’s a lot of information to make sense of. Take the advice you get on routines, sleep training, winding etc., because it could all work wonders for you and your baby.
2) Get offended
I think we’ve all been here to some extent, especially when we feel patronized and I think as a first-time Mum, it is going to happen at some point. We are exhausted, hormonal, and wanting to do the very best for our babies. Chances are we will be sensitive.
3) Ignore it
If you don’t want advice but are given it anyway, politely listen and then discard the information. You will know what is right for you.
I tried really hard to not feel patronized by whatever advice I was given, I always tried to take advice wherever I could but I did sometimes react to other Mums assuming they knew best.
I did have a situation when I couldn’t help but react:
When my baby was 5 weeks old she became very fussy when taking a bottle whilst out. I couldn’t understand why, she had always been very easy to feed up until this point.
One Friday afternoon we were out with her and she needed feeding so we stopped at a friend’s house for convenience. I took the prepared formula, put it in her bottle and gave it to her, a bit anxious at how she might take it…
She cried, moaned, arched her back… I was anxious and embarrassed.
My friend looked pityingly at me and said “do you want me to do that?”, as my partner sat next to me.
With that one sentence, I was crushed.
The intention was probably kind, veiled with the belief that it was my fault that my daughter wouldn’t drink her milk. She obviously felt that, based on her experience, she could do it better.
I was so offended.
Turns out my daughter had developed a tasted for warm milk and would no longer take anything else. I figured this out quickly and we never had another issue.
It was a small problem which was resolved and I was proud that I had figured it out.
10 months on I can look back at that situation and realise that perhaps I was overly sensitive but at the time my confidence was knocked. I was very hormonal and any presumption by another Mum that they could do it better upset me.
Perhaps Mums who offer advice (and only do so kindly) should consider how a new Mummy may react to help and advice before offering it--is it really the best thing to do in that situation? The answer will change each time.
If you do find yourself feeling embarrassed, patronizing or offended, take a step back, breathe and remember that all help and advice really is offered with good intentions.
If the advice isn’t offered kindly, ignore them!
1) take the advice 2) be offended 3) ignore…
Or do a mixture of all three, but for your own sanity, don’t be like me and get offended; try 1) and 3)!