Becoming a mom can be a confusing time, in many ways and for a variety of reasons. Every parent has had a unique experience with their kids, yet happily insist on offering you their advice about what works best for all parents everywhere. I'm exaggerating, clearly (kind of), but there is honestly a long list of things every new mom never wants to hear again, because of how much unsolicited advice is thrown a new mom's way and how contradictory it all is and how unnecessary the majority of it can be.
For every mom who wants to tell you their story about struggling with breastfeeding, there's another mom who wants to tell you that it's the most blissful experience they've ever had. For every cry-it-out advocate, there's someone silently (or not so silently) judging all those parents who would dare let their baby sob alone and in the dark. Honestly, every single piece of unsolicited advice becomes too much for new moms to take, as they're just trying to figure out how they're going to do parenthood in a way that works best for themselves and, of course, their child.
I think no matter how you decide to take care of your baby, you are going to be faced with naysayers and judgmental individuals. I breastfed both my kids for almost two years, despite multiple struggles, and I wanted to knock my head against a wall every time I heard someone express surprise that I had continued to breastfeed. "Wow, I couldn't have kept going if I had gone through what you did." Uhh, thanks? What does that even mean?
Of course, not every mom has to hear every one of these things. Depending on where you live and who you surround yourself with and how supportive your family is, will definitely determine what type (or how much) advice or shame or judgement or unsolicited comments are thrown your way. Still, it's important to highlight that regardless of whichever side of any "parenting debate" you end up choosing to associated yourself with, you're going to have people responding to your decision with shock, judgment or smugness. That's why, honestly, a new mother doesn't need to hear anything other than, "I support you," and the following 14 things can just be put to bed. Like, forever.
"Oh, You're Using Formula? I Would Never Use Formula, Even Though I Had To Spend 68 Hours A Day Pumping."
All the judgement surrounding formula feeding needs to stop. Women have a choice to make when it comes to feeding their baby, and I think we can all agree that fed is best.
"You're Still Breastfeeding? I Had To Stop. I Wanted My Body Back!"
You do you, girl. I support your decision to stop breastfeeding whenever you felt it best to do so. However, please let me breastfeed my 15-month-old in peace, OK?
"I Could Never Do Cry It Out, That's Just Mean"
Regardless of whether you believe this particular sleep training method is going to scar a child for life or not, you need to hush. Why? Because that isn't your child.
"You're Not Letting Your Baby Cry It Out? I Can't Imagine! I Needed My Sleep Too Much."
Yeah, it's hard to function on broken sleep, I know. Trust me, I know. But do you see how I'm currently functioning enough to tell you to back off? Exactly.
"I Never Gave My Baby A Pacifier, So They Wouldn't Rely On It"
I was so this smug mom the first time around. Then I had a baby who desperately wanted to suck without getting more milk. It was clear as day that he needed a soother for the first few months, and when we finally caved, it was magical.
"Don't Listen When People Say You Shouldn't Give Your Baby A Pacifier! They Are Life Savers."
I've said it already: You do you. If you are trying to stand strong and not use a soother, then don't do it. Plenty of kids go without.
"What Do You Mean, You Use A Stroller And Not A Sling?"
Again, I was the judgmental mom, silently shaming moms who didn't wear their kids, my first time around, back when I had a 13-pound one year old. My second kid was 13 pounds when he was four months old, and more than 20 pounds when he was a year. My back screamed when I wore him, so I no longer judge the non-baby-wearers.
"I Don't Know How You Can Carry Your Baby Around All The Time Like That"
Live and let live, people. I'm sure there was a better sling than what I had for my son, that would have distributed his weight better, but I was suffering from PPD and I had a crazy three year old who demanded my time and attention like an evil dictator. I was just surviving.
"You Must Be So Happy To Be Back At Work"
The people who can't imagine staying at home alone with a baby all day are usually the ones who don't have kids. Bless their hearts.
"You Must Be Devastated To Leave Your Baby With A Stranger, So You Can Go Back To Work"
GEE, THANKS. I wasn't already losing my mind with anxiety and guilt, so I appreciate you making it even harder for me to concentrate and be productive!
"You Only Took [X] Weeks Off For Maternity?"
I can't even imagine the pressure American women must feel to return to the work force. Being Canadian, where it's the law to allow women 52 weeks of maternity leave (during which you get a decent percentage of your normal salary from the government), I admit to being guilty of saying this to my American friends.
"Wow, You Took A Lot Of Time Off For The Baby!"
Again, not something I've experienced personally, because yay Canada! But I can imagine that returning to work after a longer-than-average leave would be met with some judgement.
"You're Co-Sleeping? Can't You Kill Your Baby Doing That?"
I have actually gotten a few comments regarding babies dying from co-sleeping, and while I'm sure it's only because my friends care (the family members that I know are judging us for it never say the words out loud), it actually doesn't help anything at all.
"Your Baby's In Another Room? I Couldn't Be That Far From My Baby!"
Good for you, I guess? I know plenty of parents who literally can't sleep at all when their babies are in the same room, though. Babies are loud sleepers, with all that snuffling that happens in the early days.