Since I started sharing my journey into motherhood I have had a lot of messages from other mums. One thing I’ve found is always popping up in these messages is the ‘advice’ given to all of us, whether we want it or not. So here follows an open letter to the older generation.
To clarify before you read on, this is not aimed at any one person and is not meant to offend anyone. But hopefully it will save a few new mums from hearing the same thing again and again and again.
Dear older person who has successfully raised children,
It seems that you know best when it comes to our children or at least that’s how you make us feel. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t. That more often than not we don’t want your outdated advice and if ever we do want it we will ask, it is that simple.
So please bear in mind the following;
Don’t make me feel silly for following guidelines, I know that your babies slept in their own rooms often from birth. But these days it’s suggested that they stay in our room until at least 6 months. This is to reduce the risk of cot death. I will do anything to reduce the risk of cot death. Even if you think it’s silly.
Please don’t tell me to feed my baby boiled water to fill them up. Breastfed babies do not need water full stop until they start weaning, formula fed babies only need water in the boiling heat, so that’s when I’ll use it.
Please don’t tell me I’m making my baby clingy by holding them all the time. I’m simply showing him he is loved. I like holding my baby.
Stop telling me I’m ridiculous for not wanting to leave my baby with someone else, I’ll leave him when I’m good and ready. I had a baby for a reason and believe it or not I like looking after him.
Stop telling me to leave my baby to cry, babies cry for a reason. A little whinge here and there can be ignored but if my baby is crying then I’m picking him up and doing this will not make a rod for my own back.
Making comments that the reason my baby is awake at night is because I let him sleep during the day and that I should keep him awake. My baby sleeps when he wants to. I’m not going to purposefully deprive him of sleep if he wants it, just so I can sleep at night. Also he’ll just get over tired and sleep even less.
No I will not feed my newborn baby baby rice, even if it meant your children slept through the night earlier. Giving food too early will simply mess up their digestive systems and cause unnecessary problems later on.
On that note I will also not give my baby calpol unnecessarily or a little alcohol to put them to sleep. If they don’t sleep through the night just yet, that’s fine, they will find their own way.
I will potty train when I’m good and ready and when my little one is showing signs that they are ready and not before then, regardless of the fact that your children were dry by their first birthday.
I will not bite my child to stop them biting others. Of course no one wants their child to bite but two wrongs don’t make a right, isn’t it your generation that taught us that?
No I won’t smack my child as a form of discipline, I won’t wash their mouth out with soap, give them the wooden spoon or any other form of mild torture. I’ll stick with time out and the naughty step thank you.
Our decision to use or not use a dummy is entirely our own. Telling me they’ll soothe better with one when we’ve chosen to not use them is frankly just annoying. Equally telling us we’re lazy for using one is just rude.
So to put it bluntly, times change, what worked for you may not work for us. Telling us “you turned out fine” doesn’t mean we’ll instantly go against all the medical and professional advice.
Don’t make us feel bad for finding our own way, that’s what parenthood is all about. We know you mean well but just stop, if we want your advice we’ll ask for it.
Hormonal mums and fed up dads everywhere.