Mothers with tiny babies would have to be one of the most publicly commented-on phenomenon in today’s society. Well-meaning onlookers, family and friends simply cannot resist giving their two cents when it comes to how things should be done – or how they did things.
After having four daughters myself, I have definitely heard my fair share of corkers – although, I have had some awesome tips and advice thrown in there, too.
Here are the 7 most common, kind of annoying things new mothers hear, and my go-to responses:
1. “Is she a good baby?”
I’m sorry … do bad babies actually exist? It’s common knowledge that newborns can take a little while to adjust to life outside the womb, but I wouldn’t think that an unsettled baby is necessarily a bad baby, not at all.
When someone says this to you, my suggested response is “Aren’t all babies a blessing?”.
2. “Is she sleeping through?”
I suggest you just skip the dialogue and get straight to answering this one with “Yep, totally!”
By answering this way you get to save yourself explaining that sleeping through for a newborn is actually not normal and regular night time waking is actually biologically imperative for growth and development. And also, you save yourself from hearing all kinds of random magical solutions that – more than likely – time will naturally resolve, anyway.
3. “Can I have a cuddle?”
I used to kinda resent the standing expectation that I would be happy to hand over my brand-new human to just anyone, so as a means of avoiding this I would just make sure she was in a carrier or sling. People were more content to admire from a bit of distance this way. On the other hand, if you fancy a break (or a shower) hand her over!
4. “How often is she feeding?”
Truth is, it really doesn’t matter how often a newborn feeds. As long as they have unlimited access to whatever type of milk they’re being fed with, it’s (mostly always) all good.
A simple “As much as he needs to” is my go-to answer!
5. “You’ll treasure these moments.”
Yeah, maybe you will. The whole not-moving not-talking aspect of newborns is totally delicious if you ask me. However, if your particular newborn is of the fussy or non-sleeping variety, then it isn’t all that glorious and that’s okay – you don’t need to treasure those moments, and it’s perfectly fine to look toward the future.
6. “Make sure you don’t create bad habits.”
I always found this one amusing because it’s like there’s this common misconception that babies are, at the core, masterful manipulators – waiting for their vulnerable, gullible parents to fall prey to their tricks. Seriously, peeps. Newborn babies and their behaviour is innately instinctual, influenced by both their individual personality and imperative biological needs. Science backs this up time and time again.
“I’m just going to do what feels right for us,” is the response I’d give here, maybe paired with some obvious eye-rolling and pained facial expression.
7. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
This would have to be the one phrase I heard most with my first daughter. Ingenious idea, right? However not always so practical. Sometimes when the baby sleeps you have no choice but to sleep too; you literally can’t keep your eyes open. But other times, it’s nice to do other things when the baby sleeps – like, go to the toilet, or eat something with both hands, or binge watch some crap on Netflix because you can.
Whatever you do though, don’t do housework when the baby sleeps. There will always be more housework to do, so don’t waste your precious time doing something you’ll more than likely never catch up on anyway. Chocolate and sitting on the couch with your feet up watching Netflix beats housework any day – it’s called self-care.