My Advice for New Moms

It is has been my experience that as long as one keeps herself in the presence of women, she will never be lacking unsolicited advice- bonus points if she is embarking on a new chapter in her life (engaged, planning a wedding, pregnant, moving to a new home.) I don’t blame them. Most of them mean well and just want to share a little something that helped them along when they were in that situation. But, sometimes it can be overwhelming.

When I was engaged, people offered all kinds of tips and tidbits on how to plan a wedding, where to buy a dress, where to go on a honeymoon, etc. This did not prepare me, however, for the onslaught of advice that came with having a baby.

“Never let your babies sleep in bed with you.”

“Bed-sharing is the only way to do it if you are breastfeeding. You are breastfeeding, right?”

“If you pick him up every time he cries like that you’ll spoil him.”

“How old is he? He should be sleeping in his own room.”

It’s just going to keep coming. But you know something? You don’t have to respond to it. More importantly, you don’t have to defend your choice (that’s right, your choice) to do whatever it is you decide works best for your child and your situation. For example, Henry was not a great sleeper. He would wake up at least three times every night to feed and be comforted. Most of the time he cried whenever I tried to put him back in his little crib in our room. I spent the better part of six months absolutely sleep deprived. The only thing worse than that was sleepily browsing Facebook and reading brag posts of my friends’ miracle babies who slept through the night, in their own room at three months old. It frustrated me. So, I sought advice. I tried everything: routines, baths, swaddling. Nothing worked. Then, a few weeks later, I noticed that Henry had only woken up once during the night. Eventually, he slept through the whole night, and recently in his own room. Just like that. In his time.

You’re the best qualified person to be your child’s mother.

I guess all this to say. People who give you advice mean well. They really do. Sometimes their recommendations might not be relevant to you. If that is the case, don’t be rude.There’s already enough of that in the world. Be gracious and smile. Remember you don’t have to defend your choices.

And in case no one’s told you today, You’re doing a great job, mom!