Parenting is probably the most challenging job in the world. It is tougher than many full-time corporate jobs but doesn’t come with any paycheck. There may be moments when it makes you feel proud and accomplished, but there will be times when you feel like you’re a horrible parent. The truth is, no one is perfect, and there is no rule book when it comes to parenting. Each child is different, even within the same family, so the way you practice parenting will always be different.
So, it can be highly annoying when people strut into your life to tell you what or how you should be parenting your child. Sometimes, they do so with good intentions, but there may be times when their comments are totally uncalled for or downright insensitive. These comments, be it from friends, relatives or just acquaintances, can be really hurtful to parents. Let’s look at a few:
1. “Are You Still Breastfeeding? Maybe It’s Time To Stop”
Maybe it’s time to mind your own business? Let’s get this straight — no one knows your child’s needs better than yourself. A lot of people think that they can gauge how much milk and feeding your baby needs. Often, people believe that if you don’t stop feeding your child before a specific age, they won’t ever get weaned off the habit. That’s not true. If you’re a lactating mother, it is recommended to feed your child for six months and then go on for however long it works out for both you and your baby. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding your child for two years and beyond! Of course, breastfeeding shouldn’t be the only thing your child consumes post six months of age (1).
2. “Formula Is Bad! You Must Breastfeed!”
It can’t be as bad as you interfering in my life, now, can it? We’ve all heard that breast is best, but when you don’t have the option of breastfeeding, baby formula is the alternative. And guess what? It’s not bad at all! It’s a substitute for breastmilk, which means it contains all the necessary nutrients your baby needs, just like breastmilk. Some mothers can’t breastfeed for reasons such as the lack of glandular tissues, certain medications, tongue-tie, cleft lip, and other lactation issues. It’s insensitive and uncalled for when people tell you that you must breastfeed (when you can’t) and that formula is terrible. You’re doing what’s best for your baby, so keep doing that! (2).
3. “Don’t Get Back To Work So Soon!”
Not to quote Destiny’s Child but, “Can you pay my bills?” A lot of people think that once you become a mother, your career has to take the back seat. It’s true that your baby needs you, especially when you’re nursing. But, as a mother, you know best when it is time to resume work. We can’t entirely discount the fact that your baby needs its mother. But having said that, if you feel like you’re done with your sabbatical, and you can resume work, then nothing anyone says should come in the way of that. Besides, many modern workplaces try their best to accommodate pregnant women as well as new mothers. Make the best use of these facilities that have been expressly designed for you.
4. “Don’t Feed Your Child In Public!”
Breastfeeding is normal. It’s a pure and beautiful act of feeding your baby the most nutritious food in the world. Nursing and breastfeeding a child should be admired and encouraged. Instead, often it is instead frowned upon. While some might just sneer or ignore, there might be times that someone passes on a judgmental comment like “why don’t you find somewhere private?”. People need to understand that many times, it is difficult for mothers to find a “private” place. Toilets and urinals, though private, are not the best places to feed a baby. It’s about time the stigmas surrounding breastfeeding in public come to an end.
5. “My Child Never Did That”
Many people throw away comments such as “my child was smarter by this age” or “I didn’t have that problem with my kids”. They regard their own personal experience as the holy truth which is a very ignorant way, to be honest. Comments like this will cause you to worry and might even put a negative influence on you to constantly compare your situation with others. So never let such comments get to you in any way and you better ignore them totally. If the person commenting repeats this too often, tell them that you don’t appreciate such uncalled-for comments.
6. “You’re Spoiling Your Child!”
Parenting is not easy. As parents, you are responsible for nurturing your child and shaping them into responsible human beings. There may be instances where you will have to put your foot down and set some ground rules, so your child learns right from wrong. However, it can be annoying when another person tells you that you’re spoiling your child, especially if they know nothing about your parenting or what kind of a human being your child is. Remember that parenting does involve correcting your child when they are wrong, so as long as you’re doing that, unsolicited advice from others is not really needed and shouldn’t get to you!
7. “Get Your Child To Shut Up!”
Maybe they will when you do! Children cry. And sometimes, they scream. You can’t just ask them to “shut up”. Crying and screaming are ways of communication for our little ones. The next time your baby is crying, don’t feel ashamed. You could maybe move around if it helps, but do it for your child or yourself, not for the rude people around you who don’t understand that babies cry.
People will always talk. You can either ignore them and go on with your life or tell them off. What you shouldn’t do, is let their comments affect you or come in the way of how you take care of your child. Have you come across some annoying comments from people before? Share them with us in the comments below!
- Review of Infant Feeding: Key Features of Breast Milk and Infant Formula