I was about to change my 3 month old daughter’s diapers and a distant relative walked up and said “You don’t know how to change? Let me show you how.” I’ve been changing my daughter’s diapers since her birth…~ Rose, mother of Ariel.
“Wow! You are enjoying life! Still so fat!” I delivered my baby a day ago…~ Amalina, mother of Diyanna
“You are doing it wrong!”, “That’s not the father’s job”, “What do fathers know?” ~ Vanu, father of Anish
“What are you doing at home? Shouldn’t you be at work?” I was on paternity leave. ~Wei Siang, father of Zheng Kai
Original article from Skoolopedia. Republished with permission.
It isn’t uncommon for new mums and dads to bear the brunt of disapproving looks and disparaging remarks when they’re out and about. It’s amazing where all that negative energy can come from – overly meddling grandparents, other parents who think they know better or the casual observers on the street! While most suggestions are intended to mean well, some things are still better left unsaid. What they need is positive support from friends and family, and not the added stress and anxiety from potentially doing something ‘wrong’.
Don’t jump to the conclusion that baby’s incessant crying means that Mummy isn’t feeding her properly. A crying baby can mean so many things – she may be feeling too hot, too wet or simply too hungry for attention. New parents are naturally flustered and would welcome helpful tips on how to soothe a baby for a good night sleep instead of a careless remark like this, which can be seen as unsupportive, offensive and hurtful.
You might experience a jaw-dropping moment that first day you decide to pay a visit to your friend’s house, just to see how she and the baby are doing. Her house no longer resembles a walk-in showroom – there are piles of unopened bills on the dining table and rubber play mats all over the marble floor. But this isn’t the time to unthinkingly blurt out, “Wow, your house is such a mess!” Embarrassing your friend at a time where she’s valiantly juggling the demands of a newborn baby for the first time isn’t only insensitive, but may lead this new mummy to doubt herself. Don’t put her in such a position, and try to be the listening ear she sorely needs. Remember, positive words and gestures are key in keeping postnatal blues at bay.
You used to double date and catch the latest blockbusters together, but now you can hardly get your friends out for a decent meal on weekends. It’s a little disconcerting when your friends’ lifestyle no longer matches your own, but you don’t get to criticise them for prioritising family time over me-time. This may come as a surprise, but new parents may often feel irritated at themselves for losing their’ freedom’ and ‘social life’. Understand that the baby will need to spend many hours sleeping and feeding all day. By the time she is safely tucked into bed, her parents would have been so exhausted that a night cap with friends is the farthest thing from their mind.
Once again, don’t jump the gun and assume that you’re looking at an irresponsible young couple who’s trying to have a date night while keeping their poor baby awake past her bedtime. Being out late with a baby in tow is usually a little trick parents do to lull their little one to sleep, when all else fails. Be sympathetic, and give these parents space for a well-deserved breather.
This is perhaps the biggest and most frustrating misconception stay-home mummies have to endure. For the uninitiated, a newborn baby nurses 8 to 12 times – about once every two-three hours – all day and all night. Some take only 15 minutes to finish a feed, while the fussier ones may take up to an hour. By the time the baby’s done feeding, burping and finally drifting off to sleep, another hour would have passed and mummy will have roughly another hour to rest before it’s time for the next feed. To top it all off, there are still bottles, clothes to wash and meals to prepare.
But it’s not all drab and dreary! Our advice? Just be the friend you’ve always been, shower your new mummy and daddy friends with words of encouragement and see them grow and bloom with the little ones in tow!