The toughest and most rewarding job is being a mother. The process into motherhood is one that is full of joy and hurdles and most mothers who are taking care of a newborn or a toddler can tell anyone who's listening that it's no walk in the park. Becoming a mother starts from the moment a woman discovers she's carrying a child, and it never stops.
But one of the hardest aspects of being a mother is dealing with parenting advice from every source and knowing what to follow and what to disregard.
From the moment a woman announces she's expecting or starts showing till long after the baby is born, new parents are bombarded with advice from all corners and sides. All of a sudden everyone feels obliged to share some tidbit of wisdom about parenting from the stranger in the store to old friends and family and even in some cases their boss and colleagues.
Some of this advice can be heaven sent and help the transition into motherhood a little easier. But with so much being dished out, it's not a surprise that most of these well intentioned nuggets of wisdom are not helpful at all and in some cases can be more annoying.
We compiled the top 15 advices and suggestions that new moms don’t want to hear or are tired of hearing over and over and over again.
15 Stay Calm
Many new mothers are advised to always stay calm despite what might be going on as babies have a way of sensing stress and distress in their mothers and caretakers. While this is very sound advice, it may not be very helpful to a mother faced with a screaming baby.
As a new mother it can be very disheartening and stressful when your little one seems to have an issue and won’t stop screaming and crying. In circumstances where the baby has been crying for what seems to be hours, reading or hearing someone tell you to stay calm does not really provide a solution.
Instead giving the mom methods and tips on maintaining their cool is of much better help. Remember, that even when you do manage to stay calm, it is a guarantee that your baby will calm down.
14 It’s Okay To Make Mistakes
The number one fear (other than dropping the baby) for mothers is making mistakes when it comes to caring for the baby. Every mother worries that they will not provide the best care or do not know a certain secret that will determine the wellbeing of their baby and might even affect them as they grown up.
It is therefore no consolation when someone tells you that you should expect to make mistakes. To most, especially first-time mothers, this sounds like a prophecy for doom and could end up making them more nervous than helping them.
Therefore what might be said with the best of intentions and motives could end up making an already nervous mother even more nervous and have her second guessing everything she does. A more helpful approach would be to lend a helping hand and listening ear to the mother who might not be too sure of herself.
13 Always Dress The Baby In A Hat, Socks And A Coat
As a mother to a newborn, you will hear this especially from elderly people who will give you a harsh talking to for exposing the baby. This is more annoying when a complete stranger stops you in the middle of your walk and tells you that your baby is not dressed appropriately.
This might even happen in the middle of summer where everyone is in shorts and t-shirts with temperatures soaring high. But contrary, to some people’s beliefs that babies need to be bundled up, this is completely unnecessary (unless you live in Antarctica).
Moreover, research has shown that babies who are too hot run a higher risk of SIDS (sudden infant death) than their chilly counterparts. So as the mother, it is up to you to decide how to dress your baby and how much to put on him or her.
12 Breastfeeding Or Bottle Feeding Is The Best
This is one of the most annoying and insulting pieces of advice anyone can give to a new mother. Once you have a baby, people and women everywhere think it is okay to voice their personal opinion on whether you should breastfeed or use formula.
Everyone, from people in the supermarket, in the street and even family members not to mention on parenting forums has an opinion and feelings on the matter. Everyone believes that their opinion is the best and listening to everyone could make your head spin.
The decision to breastfeed or bottle feed the baby is a personal decision and one that many women struggle to make based on their personal set of circumstances and preferences. Therefore it is no one’s business (no matter who they are) to come and make a mother feel inadequate or as though they do not care enough for their baby’s wellbeing based on their decision.
11 Mom Needs To Make Time For Herself
This is one of the most common pieces of advice that people love dishing out. You'll most likely hear this from your friends who may not have a baby yet or have several hands helping out and don't understand why you're not able to meet with them for drinks or coffee.
The truth is, becoming a mother is a demanding role that occupies your every moment more so if you have a newborn and are going at it alone or few hands to help out. An infant will especially take up most of your time and it's okay to be super busy for some time. In some cases, this may go on for several years since toddlers can also be quite demanding.
Therefore, it is okay to accept the fact that you are busy with your new role, one that is quite rewarding that you may not be able to do or participate in some activities like you did before. So, although taking some time to yourself is a great idea, it may not always apply to you.
You might even find that just one hour of nap time is enough for you.
10 Don’t Let The Baby Change The Marital Relationship
One of the greatest fears couples have when the baby arrives is that it will ruin their relationship. You'll hear of all these horror stories of how a couple used to be happy, but as soon as they had a baby, they started fighting and drifting apart which was the beginning of the end.
Although having a baby might indeed change the dynamics of your relationship you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the change is for the better. Many moms have reported that they felt more in love with their partners once they had the baby.
You might find yourself cherishing your partner even more than before and start sharing little inside jokes that come up in the middle of the night as you're feeding or changing the baby. Don’t fight the change, but instead go with the flow and work together and you'll find that having a baby might just strengthen your bond with the love of your life.
9 Mom Will Love Every Second Of Motherhood
Everyone you meet is very quick to talk about how motherhood is a wonderful thing and that as a new mother you will love every single second with your baby. They conveniently forget to mention that when you're super cranky because of lack of sleep and maybe not eating enough, you may not feel too happy or even want to treasure that moment.
Having a baby is a wonderful experience that fills one’s life with joy and love, but this wonderful journey also comes with exhaustion and a lot of stressful situations. No one mentions that it’s okay to at times cry because you have not showered for days, the house is a mess and you may not have had any solid sleep in a long time.
The truth of the matter is having a newborn is full of wonderful and precious moments, but it also comes with its own set of challenges (all of motherhood does) so expect to have days when you may not feel elated and instead feel exhausted and in need of a good holiday or massage. And that does not make you a bad mother, but with all the hurdles the second your baby smiles at you, it makes everything worth it.
8 Sleep When The Baby Sleeps
Sleep deprivation and newborns go hand in hand. Therefore, finding a tired and sleepy new mother is a very common occurrence. Immediately and even before the baby comes, this piece of advice starts flowing in from all sides, people will tell you that you should always ensure to sleep when your little one sleeps .
Despite being said with the best of intentions, this piece of ‘wisdom’ is not always practical or doable. In many cases, infants will nap for very short periods of time before waking up again, which means that you will not have slept at all. The more likely scenario is that you will be at the point where you are almost falling asleep only to be woken up.
This (in my experience) leaves a new mom feeling worse than before. Furthermore, once the baby takes her nap, it is normally the best and only chance one gets to clean up a little, eat and take a shower or just put your feet up and relax.
7 Don’t Hold The Baby Too Much
This is a sentiment that your mum, mother-in-law, aunts and other maternal figures are very quick to dispense. Every mother out there with a newborn can attest to being told this a few times, or even a few thousand of times. As a new mom your first instinct the second your baby cries out or even makes a sound that could be construed as distress is to pick him or her up and offer comfort.
The notion that giving your baby the attention and comfort he deserves by holding him and reassuring him that nothing is wrong is not a crime. Don't listen to the comments and strong whispers that tell you not to give your baby what you as his mother feels he needs. Holding your baby (I believe) is not going to spoil him it is just going to help him calm down (everyone avoids the screaming) and make him feel loved.
6 It’s Okay To Let The Baby Cry
Crying is the only way that babies can communicate their needs and express themselves with the outside world. The notion that your little innocent baby is only crying to manipulate you into doing something or picking him or giving attention is baseless and holds no weight.
Babies are not born with the ability to play mind games and are not developed as infants to get into some psychological blackmail only to get what they need. Their only reason for crying is to communicate and express themselves. Letting a baby cry too much can not only be distressing to you, but also to your baby who is not able to get his needs tendered to.
As a mother, you are entitled to soothe your baby, let him know that everything is okay and attempt to figure out what is bothering him. So if you want to hold your baby when he cries to soothe him, go ahead and do it.
5 Follow Those Motherly Instincts
For a first time mom, the advice to follow your own instincts is one that is normally met with annoyance, especially in the face of a fussy baby or one who might be in distress. Being a mother can be compared to a job, which means if you are new to it, you might not have a lot of the answers.
Although following your instincts might be helpful in a large number of situations, it does not always come in handy. This sentiments insinuates that within us are all the solutions and that every mother knows how to deal with every hurdle motherhood throws at them. This can make you feel like an utter failure when you find yourself baffled by a certain issue.
It would be more helpful if someone did say that it is okay at times not to have all the answers and that it does not make you a bad mother, but instead you will also learn a few things on the job.
4 Don’t Feel Guilty
The feeling of guilt attacks every mother no matter how old their child is. With new moms and those with newborns seem to be affected more. This is something every mother struggles with, they can't protect their child from every little thing or be there with them every single moment of the day.
Most of us hear this sentiment when we are trying to carve out some time for personal time or going back to work and are raked with guilt. Even though it is said with the best intention, it does not really help the mother feel any better.
A more helpful way to help would be to encourage the mother and explain that everyone (including those supermoms) all struggle with finding the right balance and stability in their lives and it does take time to be able to do what you easily get done pre-baby. Help her to find what is most important and focus on that instead of taking on too much at the same time.
3 Put The Baby On A Schedule
Although putting toddlers and older kids on a schedule is great idea, this does not work for newborns and babies below 6 months. Newborns operate on their own schedule which is one of the reasons why it is so demanding to take care of one.
At birth, a baby does not really understand the concepts of night and day so there is very little chance that you can do to make them follow a schedule. Trying to get them into a schedule usually results in crying fits on the baby’s side (sometimes on yours as well) and frustration on yours.
The best approach is to go with the flow and let your little one sleep and eat when he wants. If you still want to establish some sort of schedule for your sake, then try having a routine during bath time.
2 Co-Sleep Or Put The Baby In The Nursery
Another controversial debate is whether a mother should sleep with her newborn in the same bed or let him sleep in the nursery. Everyone you encounter will have their own recommendation for you with numerous reasons why you follow their advice or experts who prove that one works better than the other.
The decision on which type of parenting concept or where the baby should sleep is one that is between you and your partner (if you have one) and should not be influenced by what people believe. Do not let these voices overwhelm you and make you second guess your decisions as a mother.
Remember that every child is different and thus each responds differently to different things and keep in mind that babies and children are very adaptive and will get used to what is available to them. The only important thing that should concern you is that your baby is cared for and is developing excellently.
1 Plan To Lose The Baby Weight
It seems that when you are expecting everyone cheers you on as you add every pound as it shows you are eating well for both you and the baby. But as soon as the baby arrives mothers are under immense pressure to start losing weight and go back to their pre-baby body size.
This has been enhanced significantly by the media and society with tabloids writing on celebs who have shed their baby weight quickly. It is therefore no surprise that you will find some people who are eager to dish out how they were able to drop the pounds quickly each with their own method and strategy to use.
For a mother dealing with an infant and a myriad of other things this can be frustrating making her feel in some way as though she is failing at some invisible womanhood or motherhood type test.