Becoming a mother seems like suddenly handing out an invitation to a whole bunch of parents to comment on what they know and how they do things. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, fellow moms, friends, people you meet at the market, everyone. Most people will comment with good intentions, but it´s still a kind of “sticking your nose in other people´s business” kind of situation.
I had the opportunity of facing this early in my pregnancy where I had people addressing me with questions about how long I will breastfeed because their “son had breast fed for 1 year” or “how long will I take before going back to work because her son had gone to daycare at 5 months” and so on. Honestly up until after the birth of my daughter I had not given much attention to this constant flow of unsolicited advice because I usually tend to do things my way.
However, on her second day with us, my baby decided she did not want to wake up to eat. She would not breastfeed after 3 hours of her last meal. This had me and my husband going crazy, we had not met our pediatrician yet so we had to call a family friend who is a doctor and she told us what to do. In my state of panic I did what I was being told: I should give my baby formula…
Now, I don’t have anything against formula but I only wanted to feed breast milk to my baby. It was a decision I had made together with my husband. So by day 2, strangers were telling us not to follow through with our decisions. My mom instinct was going crazy, “Don’t do it! Let her be”
But being a new mom and having been giving a clear set of instructions that the baby needed to be fed every 3 hours I honestly did not listen to myself or to my gut. The result was my baby girl not receiving formula and after an hour or so she woke up and received my breast milk. This entire episode of panic and calls and fear made it clear for us that we needed to go with what we decided best and to trust our decisions.
When my daughter was born, and I guess this is something that occurs to a lot of moms, I went into a stage of basic instincts and lots of inner thinking. My baby girl has been teaching me how to trust myself as well as my connection to her. A connection that provides me with a great deal of understanding, it has come in handy to answer questions such as how to make her stop crying or why she does or needs certain things, etc.
This of course, has not been an easy thing to do, because if I heard all the free advice before, all I hear now is that I am “strict” or that I am a “mama tiger” (whatever that means). So if there’s something I can tell all mothers to be, is that your intuition is your biggest ally. No one will ever know your baby as you do, because you have a special connection to her. Do not second guess yourself, and listen first to yourself before you decide to let people tell you that you should let your baby cry it out, or let you have your baby sleep in your bed, or that your baby has had enough veggies in her lunch.
All of the people around you will be giving you their comments out of love, but it does not mean that they know better than you about what will be best for your baby.
Good luck to all of you and enjoy this fleeing moment.
Tatiana is a mom to an amazing baby girl who has rocked her world. She works in advertising, digital marketing in Colombia and is passionate about the environment.