on handling new baby advice (a huggies post)
I've been asked by BlogHer and Huggies to take some walks down memory lane and explore some (what I think will be) FUN subjects about babies and having them and getting ready for them and all the fun stuff that goes with THEM! I volunteered for this series for selfish reasons. I think it will be a great way to document some thoughts and feelings that maybe I haven't before but should have. I hope you will enjoy them, too!
What is it about a woman having a bulging abdomen or a tiny newborn that opens them up to advice from every. single. living. person. on the planet? If the average person received as much unsolicited advice from the population at large, there would be a lot more charges for assault.
If you are holding a newborn, it seems like everyone around you thinks she's an expert on how to care for that newborn. Everyone from sweet little grandmas to bossy know-it-alls with NO kids of their own will just cover you with all sorts of advice if you give them the smallest window of opportunity. Heaven forbid you actually give the slightest hint that you may actually NEED advice.
It's inevitable: you will get advice that you don't ask for. The real question is how do you handle it?
For me it was generally a nod-and-smile sort of situation. This was really the best way to avoid a long, drawn-out battle between someone who thought she knew better and the person who knows best (psst, it's the mother!). I tried my best to be polite and recognize that most people mean well. And in general, most people will eventually move on and go about their OWN business and leave you to go on your way. It was the insistent ones that made me crazy. The ones who said things like, "You should really put that baby down or you will spoil him." Yeah, no, I don't buy that. I would usually reply with, "Well, I know he won't let me hold him for much longer, so while he has no say, I'll keep snuggling him, thanks."
You know how you handle these people? You do your homework and have a great support system. Doug and I talked a lot about all the big choices and some about the little ones, and in general we just made sure we were on the same page for all the things that really mattered. That was step one. Step two was having a REALLY great pediatrician to back us up. Find a doctor whose philosophy matches up with the path you have taken to raise your kids. This second step is especially important when it comes to issues that will bring about lots of extra advice...like vaccinations, potty training, sleep training, etc.
We were very fortunate to find a great pediatrician right away. She agreed with our methods. She was helpful when we needed it and we could be honest about any sort of problem we were having. It was great to have a doctor back me up so I could say to the insistent advice-givers, "Well, we've talked about it with our doctor and she agrees with us." Totally not necessary, but it gave me the confidence I needed to gently brush these people off. Politely, of course. Being informed goes a long way.
Step three is to find people you can willingly seek advice from. I am fortunate that I have a great mother-in-law who is also a nurse. She has been endlessly helpful when it comes to all sorts of issues...baby and otherwise.
Really, what it comes down to is having confidence in your own ability as a mother. God gave you instincts for a reason. If you allow others to stifle them from day one, you will lean less and less on those instincts until you can no longer hear them!
How about you? How do you handle the gobs of advice you get as a mother of a newborn?
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