5 Tips for Ignoring Unsupportive Comments

Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world where we all supported each other’s choices? Ah, that would be blissful. Instead, however, we live in a world where it’s perfectly acceptable to criticize other people’s decisions. Even the decisions of new mothers who are arguably at a very vulnerable time in their lives.

You may hear unsupportive comments from friends, family members, colleagues, and even strangers. It’s not easy to hear that people disagree with you. When those comments are unsolicited or unexpected, it can be especially hurtful. The important thing to remember is that every single mother in the world knows what you’re going through. No matter how you choose to parent, there will always be people who disagree with your methods. Remember, you can’t please everyone all of the time. Here are five tips to help you ignore unsupportive comments:

  1. Remember, you are not alone

There are plenty of other parents out there who are choosing to do things exactly the same way you are. You’re not the first mother to face criticism and, sadly, you won’t be the last. Reach out to the other moms who share your parenting philosophy. Listen to their stories of criticism and know that you are not alone.

  1. Remember, you are the expert

Nobody in the world knows your baby as well as you do. You are the only expert in how to care for your baby. The people criticizing you don’t know your baby the way you do. They aren’t the ones kept awake at night, the ones who feed your baby or the ones who first welcomed him into the world.

  1. Be Honest

You don’t have to put up with rudeness or criticism from anybody. You are perfectly within your right to politely explain to anyone who questions you exactly why they are wrong. Or, if you’d rather avoid the confrontation, you can simply thank them for sharing and excuse yourself to the bathroom.

  1. Seek out positivity

Being a new mama isn’t easy. You’re surviving on very little sleep, have very little opportunity to think about your own needs and spend most of your waking moments caring for a very demanding, but adorable, little baby. You probably don’t have much energy left to battle off negative comments, explain yourself for the hundredth time or defend your parenting choices. It’s much easier to surround yourself with positivity. Surround yourself with friends and family members who support your decisions, who tell you what a great job you’re doing and who help you to believe that you’re an amazing mama.

  1. Remember, the comments come from a good(ish) place

It’s not easy being criticized, but it’s important to remember that the people who are criticising you are doing so out of love. Your grandma isn’t calling your sling risky to be mean, she’s just genuinely worried that it might be dangerous. Not everybody has access to the information you do. Respond politely and thank people for their concern, but make sure they know that you don’t need their opinions. You know what you’re doing.

Have you received any unsupportive comments and, if so, how did you handle them?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

Be a Breastfeeding-Supportive Partner

While mom may be the one with the goods, dads and partners can be an integral part in supporting breastfeeding. Research shows that the support of her partner is one of the strongest predictors of whether or not a mom starts breastfeeding and keeps going with it as baby grows.

The early days and weeks of initiating breastfeeding can be the hardest for a new mom. But, as far as long term milk supply, those first experiences are essential. Babies need to feed early and often, and they need to learn to latch and transfer milk well. And moms need to learn to get baby positioned and latched for the most productive feeding. As her partner, you may feel out of the loop. The mother-baby dance is happening without you.

So, how can you help? If you can’t feed the baby what can you do?

  • You don’t need to feed your baby to bond with him: Find ways to care for your baby that don’t involve feeding. Take care of diaper changes and bathing, burping and comforting. Your baby will love to cuddle to sleep on your chest, too.
  • Take on other tasks: Do the shopping, cooking and cleaning so mom can focus on the feeding. Freeing her from these responsibilities allows her to focus on the physically demanding aspects of feeding a newborn often.
  • Learn about breastfeeding: If you know the basics about how a woman’s body makes milk and how to tell if the baby is getting enough, you’re less likely to suggest formula as the first solution. You’re much more likely to find ways to fix breastfeeding. But keep in mind you don’t need to know everything – there are trained lactation professionals who can help mom with any breastfeeding concerns.
  • Take care of mom: Bring her a snack or a glass of water when she’s nursing. Care for your baby while mom takes a break to shower or nap, especially in those early days at home with a new baby. Bring the baby to her when he wakes to feed at night.
  • Find ways to support her emotionally: Tell her she’s doing a great job – be specific in your praise – “Look how the baby is growing on your milk alone,” “You are really learning our baby’s cues,” etc.
  • Turn away the naysayers: Be an advocate for breastfeeding and a gatekeeper for commenters. When someone raises doubts about your partner’s ability to breastfeed, kindly tell them “this is what our doctor has recommended” or “this is what works for our family.”
  • Help her find the help she needs: If she is having breastfeeding problems, find a lactation consultant or breastfeeding counselor she can call. If she seems to have symptoms of postpartum depression, help her reach out to healthcare providers for treatment. If she just needs a shoulder to cry on, be her rock.

If you’re a mom reading this, be sure to share it with your partner. If you’re an experienced parent – mom or partner – let us know what you found most valuable in the early weeks of learning to breastfeed.

Written by Michelle, Lamaze instructor, lactation consultant, and mother to 4 busy kids

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.