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It's Okay to Turn Down Advice

#37 of 100 Days of Wisdom and Encouragement for the New Mom

· first time mom,parenting tips,having a new baby,motherhood,first time pregnancy

Pregnancy and having a new baby are two occasions where many mummies would receive lots of unsolicited advice. I do agree that most advice come from well-meaning people, some of them wise in their years, yet not all are good for us and our babies.

I've had strangers in the lifts suggesting I should shave my baby's hair so that it can grow thicker, even though my baby was born with a lot of hair. I've had hawker aunties commenting that my baby looked tired and suggested I let baby nap when in fact my baby just woke up from a nap. I've had people sitting at the next table commenting that baby must be hungry because he kept crying and suggested I feed him, but I know he's upset because he's tired and feeling too uncomfortable to fall asleep. I've also had strangers touching my baby's cheeks, arms or legs when I walked by, or was waiting in a queue, without asking if it was okay to do so when the baby was in my carrier, close to my chest. Some ended making my baby wail in fear and discomfort. And all they could do was mutter "oh, baby must be tired or hungry" and simply walked away leaving me to comfort my little one.

In my opinion, all the comments and advice are absolutely unnecessary especially if they stem from "old wives' tales". It's worst when the words come from strangers who have completely no idea and honestly don't care for the well-being of my baby, yet feel compelled to say something. There had been times when I was irritated and just stepped away from the offending person and requested that she stopped trying to touch my baby. There was also once I was changing my baby's diaper at the side while waiting for my boys to be dismissed from school. It was not the best place to do so but my baby had pooped and there wasn't a proper diaper changing area around. A middle-aged woman came by and said, "Aiyo, the baby is so naughty, don't want to change diapers?" So I just said, "No, my baby is not naughty. She's crying because she's uncomfortable. And you are not helping. Thank you very much."

Some elderly seem to find that it's perfectly okay to touch the baby or give unsolicited advice. Yet I feel strongly against having strangers touch my baby without even trying to befriend us first. Even relatives and friends should allow the baby time to warm up to them before trying to peel the baby off their parents. No matter how adorable you think my baby is, please show some respect, to both the baby and the mummy.

As the mummy, if we don't protect our baby's interests, who will? Don't be afraid to say "thanks, but no thanks" to advice you don't need, and step away from people whom you or baby are uncomfortable with. There's also no need to worry about turning down advice, even from family members and close friends. After all, mummy knows best.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6

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