In life, there’s no dearth of advice, opinion, statements etc. However, the cycle manifolds with the arrival of a baby. Despite having the willingness to have a baby, a parent is often assumed to be an unwilling creature to learn about parenting and hence the advises galore! Right from birth, as in how good or bad the normal vs. C-section is to breast vs. formula milk, the opinions and unwanted advice keep flowing in, for almost every topic that crosses the mother’s brain, in surplus amounts. Suddenly everyone becomes a gynecologist, neonatologist, pediatrician to family planning expert!
I’m personally not against the advice flowing in, because sometimes they come in very handy, especially in moments when irregular hours of sleep and baby care leave you numb and with poor reaction time. Since parenting in itself is such a “hit and trial” project that the influx of advices just allows the newbie parents to “hit and try” sometimes a little more! However, there’s a saying, “too many cooks, spoil the broth!”
This means that the more you listen to a plethora of advices, the likely you are to get confused, overwhelmed and may even be left with little help, in actuality! Hence, there is some amount of art required to steer clear from this state of uber-confusion!
- Trust your instinct:-Understand that as a mother, you are spending the maximum amount of time with your child. Hence, any regularity or irregularity in your child’s growth pattern, is being observed in detail by you and not by anyone else (unless there is another caregiver or nanny). Incorporate only those changes (as per the advice of some), which works well or favors the pattern of your child. Any advice, which overwhelms you and your child, need not be followed (even if it is coming from trusted source).
- Base your judgment on expert opinions:-Normal or C-section, Breast feeding vs. Bottle feeding, time to wean off, potty training, etc. are all issues, which involve your personal choice and your understanding of the subject. So before you jump or shuttle from one opinion to another, understand what you want and then what you feel is right for the baby. To top it, take opinion from an expert or a doctor, rather than pseudo-doctors, who self-proclaim to be experts.
- Don’t take it too personally:-Listen to all, don’t opine right there (as some might get offended to even hurt), rather smile (try and make it as genuine as possible) and pretend to be interested and keen on executing the said advice. Later you can always say that the advice did not work (you don’t have to literally try it). This always works wonders as everyone stays happy and feels important in this child rearing process, and you stay sane and safe!
- What you are doing is sufficient: – As parents, sometimes even we suffer from “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and hence, tend to apply almost everything we hear. For instance, when a child starts on solids, we end up feeding so much in the name of variety (just because our neighbor was feeding the same to their child) that we get overwhelmed and tired. Try and feed foods that have form a basic diet plan in your life. You don’t have to plan a seven course spread for the baby. That elaborate menu can wait maybe when he/she grows up a little more! So relax, what you are feeding or doing is just sufficient for the baby! You don’t have to do everything you see/hear!
- Understand the right set of people to go to: – Amidst a sea of opinions and advices from people, figure out the ones, who really appreciate what you do and give a lot of space and respect. Such people will have honest, genuine feedback and advice for you. Also, stick to people, whose children, show a similar pattern as that of your baby. Maybe certain things can work in a similar way for you too! Also, no matter how much you dislike, yet grandparents (both sets) often have several eye opening inputs on your child rearing. For e.g. if you learn that your child shows a distinct allergy to a certain type of food, then maybe an input from grandparents on either yours or your better-half’s reaction to the same, could help you sigh with relief! At least, for certain actions and reactions of the baby, you will trust them as you will have solid evidence from the right pedigree! For instance, my son gives me hardly any buffer time (starts crying incessantly and screaming) when hungry and it has been the same right from his birth. Now I know it is just normal behavior! He is just genetically programmed to behave like his dad, who has zero reaction time to hunger as well!
Hence, the hidden agenda of advises pouring from every direction is to mean well for you and your child. So, no matter whether you like it or not, listen to everything, but take only the ones, which you feel are helpful and beneficial for you and the baby. The rest are like a stack of hay! Don’t pay heed, don’t get affected and don’t take anything too seriously!
Enjoy everyone’s stories! After all, people are reviving nostalgia, sharing snippets from their own experiences and stating what worked and what didn’t work for them! You don’t have to star in their drama and vice versa. You just need to be a good audience at times! Happy Parenting!