Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.

There are so many things you hear as an expecting/first time mum. In those first few months, usually starting as soon as you announce your pregnancy to the world, you are inundated with ‘advice’.

This can range from the genuinely helpful ‘Always pack spare clothes. ALWAYS.’ To not so helpful ‘Who cares if the midwives don’t recommend it? I did it and it worked for mine!’* To the downright bizarre ‘You chew their food first then feed it to them, that way they get your germs to improve their immune system!’*

(*yes, I have heard both of these myself… sigh…)

I remember reading for hours on what to do/not to do. These days, I have an idea of what works for us, and how to make life easier with kids.

I spent the entire first year with my first born checking the development charts every month to make sure he was on track, trying everything that was recommended.

I also remember the only time I didn’t listen to my instinct as his Mother.

holding - baby

The time I felt too weak shy unsure to speak up because ‘this person has had two kids who are much older, they must know what they’re doing’. That was the first time I was furious with myself as a Mother. Also with someone else for trying to parent my child against my wishes and messing it up.

Let me set the scene.

He was about 12 weeks old and needed a nap but was fighting it. This person insisted that wrapping him in their cardigan and cuddling him so he was warm would help him settle. Well it did. But it was pretty warm in there and once he had fallen asleep they didn’t unwrap him or move him away from their body. I asked several times if he wasn’t getting a bit warm by now, asking if maybe they could unwrap him only to be met with ‘oh he’s fine’ and ‘don’t worry it’ll keep him sleeping’.

I was only 12 weeks in as a first time Mother, but my instincts were screaming at me that this was wrong and my baby was not in a safe position. In the end I stood up and asked for my baby back but I had waited too long to work up that courage. As I retrieved him he started to cry, then he started to scream.

He had overheated, to the point his clothing was soaked with sweat and he was red faced and shaking.

I was furious. Not just with that person for failing so miserably to hold onto any parenting instincts whatsoever but with myself, for not having the courage to say ‘No, this is my baby, I’m not comfortable with this, give him back’ in the first place.

After that I was much less trusting of others with my baby, sad to say. Not that I stopped anyone else from taking care of him, or started hovering over anyone who held him.

I just became a little more careful about who I trusted to know their instincts.

I found more and more that people I knew who had, shall we say, outgrown the parenting experience many years ago, may have raised their own kids well but didn’t understand that the modern advice was different for a reason. Don’t get me wrong, my boys have grandparents who are excellent, savvy and I trust implicitly with their well-being. This is nothing against older people in general, just a personal observation of a few.

When I was advised by someone to swaddle him to help him sleep, I explained that the midwives had advised me not too. ‘They don’t advise that anymore’ I said, ‘because tucking the blanket under the arms is safer, swaddling with a blanket gives a higher risk of SIDs.’

‘So?’ They replied. ‘It will help him sleep better.’

Yup.

The response to ‘it may increase the chance of my baby dying’ was ‘so what, if it keeps them quiet?’ Um. Needless to say, I didn’t bother replying to that.

The point is, there will always be advice, unwanted or asked for. Good or bad. Bizarre or refreshingly practical.

The choice to follow that advice, however, will always be yours.

baby - face

Do not be afraid to make that choice.

My own advice? Don’t be afraid not to follow advice but also don’t be afraid to ask for more!

No matter how much more experience someone else might have than you, always remember; your child, your instincts.

If you’re worried about how to politely decline someone who is being pushy, try these tips:

Deflect: Try changing the subject by asking them about their own lives, mention some other area of your baby’s development that they can ‘advise’ you on without expecting you to jump up and enact it immediately.

Deflate: If they are trying to advise you to do something a certain way, just say thank you! Praise their advice but explain you already have a method that works really well, so you’ll stick with what you know and use their advice if it goes wrong. Likewise, if they’re pushing you to buy something you don’t want or need. Tell them it’s already on your list and you were planning to pick one up when you have chance, or someone has promised to buy one for you. If they ask again next time just say you haven’t got around getting it yet.

Praise: Praise their advice, make them feel good for being so insightful or generous or well meaning, then swiftly change the subject without making a commitment. They will likely still be focused on the compliments and won’t notice.

Find Support: If this person is really bothering you and will not let the subject drop, if you feel too uncomfortable to tell them no, time to call in reinforcements. If you have chance to speak to your other half/mum/dad/sibling etc beforehand, mention that this person has been bothering you with their pushiness and ask straight if they can back you up by supporting your decisions as opposed to those the pushy person is advising.

You can’t always pre-empt this, so if you get blind-sided, try to pull someone aside or draw them into the conversation by asking their opinion. It’s a god idea to imply they already agree with you. (throw in some ‘desperate eyes’ if you can get away with it!) If they know you well enough they should get the hint.

Take A Deep Breath: If all else fails, take a deep breath and make it clear the conversation is over by using non-committal phrases like ‘we’ll see’ and ‘maybe later’. If you really need a break excuse yourself to use the bathroom/breastfeed/pump etc and when you return, simply start a new subject and pretend the old conversation was finished.

I truly hope no-one ends up in a situation like I did. (Or that you all have more courage than I had, at least.) If you’re still learning as you go don’t be ashamed to use these tips, they are designed to support you!

Hopefully, you won’t have to deal with a pushy person but if you do, don’t lose sight of whose child is the subject of the conversation. Your baby, your decisions, even if you are new at this or young or have adopted or whatever.

rhyd

No-one in the world will know you child better than you. Own it, be proud of it, and most of all, don’t be afraid to say it.

advise, trust, instincts

*Originally appeared on Meet Other Mums.com*

big-pink-link-badge-resized

Mummuddlingthrough
Mummy Times Two

8 thoughts on “Don’t be afraid to trust your instincts.”

  1. This is such good advice-it must’ve been devastating for you, when your baby overheated like that, but it is incredibly difficult to stop people from taking over-especially when they’re ‘more experienced,’ or the type of personality who can easily overpower. When you’re tired, emotional, and actually want a bit of help, I think it’s too easy to get drawn in like that. I kick myself now, that there was a really ‘overpowering’ girl at my antenatal classes, who made a point of going out every day, pretty much from the day after her baby was born. When mine was born, she kept phoning/texting/turning up at my house, saying ‘oh, are you not out and about? We’ve been out and about from day 1. Are you struggling?’ And things like that. I was so emotionally fragile, that I broke my back trying to go out every day, and totally exhausted myself, and got the baby into terrible sleeping habits. She made me feel that sitting on the sofa having cuddles, and mastering feeding (which was going badly,) was the lazy option, and the option for the failures/struggling. I don’t know why I felt the need to keep up with her, and prove I could get out every day, like her. Not spending more time in, relaxing and having cuddles, is now one of my biggest regrets about the baby’s first months. So yes, these people and their advice definitely need to be deflected!!!
    #bigpinklink
    This Mum’s Life recently posted…All I Want For Christmas!My Profile

    1. That sounds like a sucky experience, I’m sorry you had to deal with that! I had to actually straight up tell certain people with my 2nd that they weren’t allowed to visit until I said so, because with my 1st they had steamrolled in before I was even close to ready and totally overwhelmed me! I shared this hoping to save more new mums from experiences like ours! xx Thanks for your comment! xx

  2. It is so hard when people can be very pushy with advice or sometimes just totally over ride you and I have had that many a time to detrimental effect also….as the old adage goes…mother really does know best. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub with this important message x

  3. Oh I’m sorry that happened to you and your baby – how scary. Thankfully he cried and screamed. Overheating is SO dangerous! The advice is that babies should never be swaddled in anything other than cotton with the head always uncovered. I noticed too that people seemed to be obsessed with covering my newborn baby up, and with my first, I thought that was true! I know better now, and thankfully I woke up to the reality with my first when he started coming up with heat rashes every time he was too warm. Your instincts always tend to be right! Thanks for sharing #PostsFromTheHeart

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment, yes it was awful! I always make sure to check on both boys when I go to bed now to make sure they aren’t too hot/cold for the night too xx

  4. I love so much about this post as I am sure will mothers. Nobody knows their children better than their parents and we should indeed have the courage to listen to our instincts and act of them. You give some excellent advice on ways to do that. It’s a fantastic post, that can’t help but serve to remind all of us of the potential consequences of ignoring what we know to be right. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at #PostsFromTheHeart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge