No judgy pants required…
Mum world is a lovely place, of course, full of cake and nursery rhymes and poo, but there are a few contentious issues which can cause disagreements between mum mates. Basically, we’re all different kinds of parents – different kinds of humans, in fact – and as long as we’re doing what makes us and our babies happy, it doesn’t really matter a jot. But when you’re sleep-deprived and questioning every decision you make, you can lose sight of this and feel like you’re being judged for the way you care for your baby…
This old thing. We all know that it technically doesn’t matter how we choose to feed our own baby, but because feeding them is so all-consuming, it is in our heads all the time, and we find ourselves utterly convinced that we’re doing it the right way. Which, of course, we are… for us. If you’re still breastfeeding when most of your mum crowd have stopped, you can feel isolated – especially when they seem to have their “lives back”. And if you’re a formula-feeder, but all your crew are boobs-out, you can feel guilty and left out. Either way, there are groups out there where you can find likeminded mums – bosom buddies, or otherwise – including on Mush. Plus, when feeding becomes less constant, it will soon all seem irrelevant anyway, so if you like your friends, hang in there!
Some mums start their babies on solids a little sooner than the advised six months. Some mums spoon-feed. Some mums do baby-led weaning. Some mums buy pouches and microwave meals. Some take great pride in meticulously home-cooking everything. Most mums just wing it. The majority of actual scientific research suggests your method of weaning has very little bearing on your kid’s future eating habits, so it’s really what you find works best for YOU and your family, and not Josie from Baby Yoga’s family.
Some mums swear by co-sleeping which, as long as it’s done within the safety guidelines, can be a way to get a lot more sleep in the early months. But some mums find that the whole household feels more rested if the baby moves to their own room sooner rather than later. Surely the ultimate in decisions which really only concern the people involved, right?
Crying it out
“I can’t imagine ever leaving my baby to cry,” declare some mums, while others use controlled crying when they’re at the end of their tether and need to bring a bit of routine into their lives. There are all sort of studies into all this which are well worth reading up on if you’re thinking of taking the plunge. But mum friends, however well-meaning, aren’t always the best source of info on this one, since, in case you hadn’t noticed by now, all babies are different, and all mums are differenter still.
Social media use
Some mums have dedicated Instagram accounts to show off their offspring’s outfit du jour. Others implement a social media black-out and don’t reveal anything about their baby, to the point that you didn’t even know they had one. Most of us, though, are somewhere in between, popping up the odd particularly cute photo, because do you know what? Our friends and family actually like it! Whichever camp you fall into, it doesn’t matter – but if you get told off for posting a picture of your fiercely private pal’s precious poppet, you can end up feeling a little bit told-off and judged. Don’t – everyone’s entitled to their own set of social media rules… just check next time!
This one can have practical implications on gangs of mates, with some new mums determined to have their babies napping on a schedule (and DEFINITELY at home in their cot) and going to bed at 7pm from early on, while others wing it and let them doze in their buggies should they be so inclined, even if this takes place at 9pm in a pub. All of which is, again, fine, but it’s worth seeking out extra mum mates who do things roughly the same way as you, simply so you actually get company when you need it the most.
Anyone had a mum round who’s gently requested that the TV be switched off, because they don’t like their little one seeing screens? It can make you feel awfully guilty if you’re the kind who likes a bit of background CBeebies action at all times. Or, if you’re the one implementing the screentime ban, you can feel like you’re being a bit precious. The truth is, both of you are entitled to do things your way, with no judgy pants required. Just maybe arrange the next playdate at an outdoor location…
If you wince when your mate puts her kid on the naughty step or shouts at them in public, they’re probably doing the same when you, in their eyes, let your little one get away with murder. Behaviour and discipline is a mega mum minefield – and one that only increases as babies turn into toddlers and beyond – but the main rule is: don’t tell off another mum’s child unless you’re prepared to deal with the consequences. The consequences often being said mum turning into an actual tiger.