The old saying “babies aren’t born with instruction manuals”
has opened the door for unwanted advice from family and friends,
alike. If you’re a mother, specifically a “new” mother, at first
you may appreciate the guidance of those that went before you.
But eventually even the most patient of women will break. You
will most likely become a hermit, hiding the car in the garage,
locking the doors, turning the ringer off and avoiding anyone
that perceives themselves as an “expert” on the subject of
motherhood and newborns. So before you become a recluse and
start avoiding all human contact; here’s some more advice on
Often times, a new mother’s insecurities get the best of her,
and in all honesty, this happens to all mothers; not just the
“new” ones. As mothers, we’re always questioning our abilities
to raise our children. You want the best for them and fear
you’ll make bad choices, its human nature. Therefore, when
someone offers advice or guidance, we often take their words as
criticism. But in all reality, most family and friends mean to
help, not judge. Open your mind to their words; ignore the
little voice inside your head that says they’re judging you. In
most instances, these same people have been giving you
“unwanted” advice for years and you’ve never paid any attention
to it. The insecurities of having a newborn often times warrants
defensive behaviors when faced with unwanted advice. However,
motherhood is a learning experience; it starts at the birth and
never ends. Listening to family and friends that have walked in
your shoes before can, however, be a soothing and rewarding
Everyone will have opinions on certain
circumstances and if you listen closely, even theirs will differ
from one another. Pretty soon, you find yourself throwing your
hands up and surrendering like General Lee. However, often times
by educating yourself on what the actual “experts” say can
eliminate the frustration and the insecurities that a new mom
will face. Educating yourself on the best choices that you can
make for your newborn can build self-confidence, self-respect,
It is very important for mother’s to have a
good relationship with their infant’s pediatrician, as well.
Often times, the trust you put into your child’s doctor will
help fight off those insecurities that you may have. A
pediatrician sees most infants several times during the first
few months of their lives. These are great opportunities for
mother’s to ask questions. Keep a notebook handy, write down
concerns that you have, or questions.
is just that, when given it’s meant to be taken as helpful hints
and suggestions. However, in some instances, you will have
family and friends insisting on “their way” of doing things.
When this circumstance occurs, be prepared. Thank the person and
tell them you will consider their advice, quote what you have
read from child-rearing books, explain to them that you and your
child’s pediatrician has discussed the matter and you’re
following doctors orders. If all else fails, change the subject
or leave the room.
In many circumstances, especially
those that are short-term, you may consider following the
person’s advice while they are present. In all reality, they
will leave and when they do, so can their advice. Short-term
circumstances that have no long-term effects are just that. They
won’t warp or change the big picture. If your mother-in-law
comes to your house to “help”, and suggests adding more blankets
to the crib or turning the heat up because the baby looks cold,
just go with it. When she does leave, you can quickly undo the
Often times, you may find yourself in
a circumstance where all other methods of deterring an opinion
or advice have failed. You have tried avoiding the subject,
quoting a doctor or expert, and even ignoring the advice. But
yet still, the person insists on you listening to them. It is at
this time that you have to result to what I call, “the truth”.
In the kindest fashion possible, you explain to them your honest
feelings on the subject, you express gratitude that they care,
but in all honesty, the child is yours and you know what’s best.
If you’re uncomfortable saying this to someone; ask a friend,
your husband, or another family member to talk to the person and
explain to them your true feelings on the situation.
It’s important to surround yourself with positive people. If
possible, find other mother’s that share your views and values.
Then, as mother’s you can swap stories, not advice.
About the Author:
Dr. James Brann is a board certified Obstetrician and
Gynecologist and a Fellow of the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He is also the Editor of
Women's Healthcare Topics an information source for all women.