Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Advice for a Mom-to-Be

Today was the baby shower for my best friend since High School. She and her husband are "Auntie" and "Uncle" to my two little munchkins, and I am beyond thrilled that they will be welcoming their own little bundle of joy very soon!

During the shower we were discussing the fact that pregnant women seem to be public property. Complete strangers feel as if they have the right to touch your belly and offer up unsolicited advice. It can get annoying very quickly, as any pregnant woman knows.

As I reflected back on that conversation, I realized that too often new moms are also considered public property. So many other moms decide they need to share their horror stories, awful experiences, and bits of "helpful" advice. This so-called advice is often contradictory and confusing, and can make a new mom want to break down in tears. Between that and the magazine articles and parenting books that all espouse opposite practices and philosophies, you can be left feeling at a complete loss with no idea how to handle the brand new miracle that you have been blessed with.  

So, my dear friend A, as you embark on this new chapter of your life, I offer to you this list of friendly, sort of un-advice. I hope it will be helpful for those times when you hear people tell you their way is the only right way, or look at you in horror because you let your child sit in the shopping cart without a cover. 

-If you want to hold your baby, hold her. If you want her to learn to be put down, put her down.

-If you want to rock her to sleep, rock her. Want her to put herself to sleep? Put her down awake or sleep train.

-Want to nurse (or bottle feed) on demand? Do it. If you prefer a schedule, set a schedule.

-You want to co-sleep? Just do it safely. Prefer her to sleep in her own bed? That's fine too!

-If you think something is wrong and you're not sure whether to call the Dr, just call. It will make you feel better, and all pediatricians are used to those 3am phone calls from new moms. 

-Trust yourself. You have already known your baby for almost 9 months. You are a mom, and your instincts are strong.

-You don't want your child dependent on a pacifier? Don't use it. Your baby has been crying endlessly and you decide you can't take it anymore? Go out and buy some, and use them as long as you want to. 

-Seek advice from people who can truly help. Your mom, your close mom friends, and your pediatrician. If the advice is contradictory, trust that you know what's best!

-Know that total strangers will love to tell you things. Sometimes the only way to handle it is to smile, walk away quickly, while all the while thinking  "Sure lady, my baby should be wearing socks even though it's 101 degrees outside. I'm sure her feet are freezing. Thanks."

-Find a group of mom friends that you are comfortable with. They don't all have to share the same philosophies as you, but they should accept you and the choices you make for your baby. Having people going through the same stage of baby-hood as you will be a life-saver. (And an online support system is great too because you can usually always find someone awake with you at 2am. It helps you feel less alone!) 

-And lastly, know that i'm always here for you, to listen, to share my personal experiences, and to be a shoulder to lean on. You're going to be an awesome mom, and I can't wait for you to meet your new little baby!!


  1. I absolutely LOVED reading this! Thank you for writing your blog! I always find it so inspiring! This entry especially made me tear just a little, and I will save it and read it often. I have always looked up to you as a person and then as a mom.  I am comforted to know that you will always be there as I enter this new and exciting phase in life! Love you!

  2. Totally brilliant :)

    I have three, with one on the autism spectrum, and I have a very highly developed "smile and nod" reflex when unsolicited advice comes my way :)

  3. I get this one! With 3 little ones, I have learned to ignore the strangers who come and expect me to do what they are saying right that minute. I'm not kidding! Here in India, sidewalks are few and often useless, so most of the time we have no choice but to walk on the side of the road. Since my kids are 4 and under, I hold the two youngest's hands and the eldest holds one of their hands. More times than I can count, people have come up to me, even stopping their car, to tell me that all 3 kids have to walk on the inside away from the street. Well, if I could trust them to stay on the side on their own I would but I can't, so I just ignore them and even at times give an annoyed retort of my own.
    When will people learn to mind their own business?


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