Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
"Can't you see the baby's hungry? Go feed her now!"
"How much will the baby sleep? She has been sleeping all day! Let her play."
"Cover her up or she will catch a cold."
"Mummy isn't taking care of you. Your cheeks are chapped."
"Diapers are the cause of nappy rash. Take them off!"
Do these comments sound familiar? Every new mother will have heard one or more of these remarks from well-meaning but completely misguided neighbors, friends, or family members. Suddenly, everybody is an expert at child rearing!
Depending on her personality, the new mother may behave in any one of the following ways:
She could just grin and bear it, and let people have their way with her infant. Or she could politely tell people that she's only following doctor's orders. Or she could simply tell people to mind their own business!
The last option is perhaps the most tempting, but it can also cause the most conflict. As we're all a part of society, albeit a nosy and interfering one, we need to maintain a delicate balance between caring for our baby our way and paying heed to other people's advice.
In my opinion, the best way to ward off intrusive people is to tell them that you'll speak to the doctor and take his/her opinion on the subject. Usually, people will back off. But there are always those who will sniff and say, "Today's doctors are a fancy lot with fancy ideas! We never went to the doctor so often and we grew up just fine!"
I wish these people would understand that it is not okay to offer unsolicited advice, or worse, pass judgement on a mother's parenting style. Each mother-baby duo is different with varying needs and personalities. Your way need not necessarily be the only way.
Let mum and dad decide how they want to raise their child, down to the last detail. Offer help and advice only when they ask for it. Give them a chance to stumble on the path of parenting and learn from their mistakes. After all, babyhood comes only once and flies by too soon--let them enjoy it while they still can.