The advice we receive while pregnant and after having a baby, can be conflicting and confusing. It might seem like everyone has an opinion, from strangers in the supermarket to your immediate family and friends.
I remember my boss’s wife at the time predicting that I was further along than what the gynaecologist had predicted “since I was so big”.
And when a stranger confidently informed me in the veggie aisle that “it was definitely a boy since you are carrying so high”.
For the most part, I could grin and bear these comments, but I found it especially difficult after the birth of my first child, when it suddenly felt a lot more serious. No sooner had one nurse left the room after some instructions about feeding that I tried to retain in my sleep addled mind, then another came in with a different suggestion.
This continued when baby came home, everyone had a different opinion on why baby wasn’t sleeping properly, feeding regularly or walking exactly according to the chart (I’m not sure what chart this was but my babies never seemed to perform particularly well on it).
I found it inconsistent and overwhelming. At the heart of most mums is the desire to get it right for their child, so it really taps into that vulnerable place of trying to do their best under conditions which are not quite ideal.
So here’s my tips when you get bogged down with all the different advice:
- Your mothering instinct is there, it might be a bit tired or worn down, it just needs a chance to be felt, especially in the early days. You’ll be amazed how quickly you start to recognise your baby’s different cries
- Take all the advice with a pinch of salt and make up your own mind anyway
- If you’re feeling a bit fragile, don’t be afraid to shut down the conversation, ie. (firmly) “Thanks for that, but we are doing it xxx way” or simply change the subject
- Get your partner or a family member to time limit visits from others, particularly in the early days, you can even have a special signal.
- Don’t be afraid to shop around when it comes to health professionals – if you feel you aren’t being listened do, there is no need to go back, simply ask politely to be referred on.
- A sense of humour is imperative!!!