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Attachment Parenting

Dealing With Criticism of Your Parenting Choices
From Our AP Forum Archives
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 From cuz I care ~ Okay, I never believed that we would have this much of a problem before we even have our baby so it makes me afraid for how much it will be when the baby IS born!

We have chosen to make baby's "room" in our room. I HAD crib but it turned out the person I was getting it from didn't take care of it so I am NOT EVEN SETTING IT UP!!! I am planning on having a bassinet and probably using it as much as I feel I should. I am not sure if I will want to sleep with baby but I don't want baby far from me. Everyone is already opposing my idea of not putting baby in his/her own room from the start. Some people will agree that the first few weeks are okay in my room but emphasize that I should put baby in a crib. My husband and I have discussed this and we feel that baby could sleep in our room as long as baby wants or at least not really worry about moving baby till age 2 or so.

I am 2 months from my due date and it is getting more and more frustrating dealing with people opposing my parenting choices! I am constantly getting "what kind of bottles will you use?" and I answer with I will breast feed. Nine out of 10 times I get a snippy "Well you need a back up plan!" or "You should decide on a bottle for supplementing!" I haven't even had this baby yet and already everyone else is trying to raise the kid!

How do you handle these issues before the baby even is born? Breastfeeding, sharing a room, cloth diapering (big issues here), and everything else that goes along with saving money and natural parenting? I know that saving money takes extra work but isn't doing a load of laundry every day worth saving $10 a week in diapers???? I just can't see paying that much money for diapers when I am capable of doing a few loads of laundry. And don't get me started on formula . . . I will only use that as a last resort.

Thanks in advance for helping me out. I am just getting to wits end because the baby isn't even here yet and I need to think of some smart answers before hand if I have this much problems now!

 From jacbyrd ~ I used really non-committal answers like to "What kind of bottles ..." I would answer "We don't know yet ... The baby isn't here to pick!" I would also let people give me their opinions and then just go on my merry way. It didn't hurt me to hear it and it did make them feel better for sharing.

You really have to let stuff go in one ear and out the other because it will only get worse once the baby is actually HERE and everyone can see everything that you are doing wrong! I had a lot of support from my husband and my mom (my folks are border line AP). It sounds like your husband will be a big help. Let him field some of the comments for a while . . . people quickly get tired of dealing with a man and move on to more receptive targets.

 From SusanH ~ I truly believe that that is one of the biggest frustrations a new parent can face - lots of well-intentioned but unwelcome advice from everyone from your father-in-law to the clerk at the grocery store! The best thing I found to do was smile, thank them for their input and continue on my merry way. You don't need to defend or explain any of your choices unless you *want* to. If someone keeps harping on something you are doing, just smile and say, "It's working for us, thanks." Then change the subject. Even if you have to do it 10 times in a row, they will eventually get the hint.

It's even harder before the baby arrives, as everyone wants to "save" you from the dreadful mistakes you are about to make. Smile and nod, smile and nod. There are lots of noncommittal responses available to you:
~ "Thanks, that's an interesting perspective."
~ "Great! If I ever need formula advice, I'll know to ask you."
~ "I'll keep that in mind."
~ "We'll let you know how things work out."

Etc. I think that most people do genuinely want to help, but it can be so hard to listen when their advice is directly contrary to your desires. Try to think the best of people, believe that they are just excited and want to help you out, then go right ahead and do things your own way. And come here to vent whenever you feel ready to explode!

 From cedar ~ Oh boy, did you ever come to the right place! I just wanted to pass along the best piece of advice I ever got about both pregnancy and looking after the baby: "Feel free to disregard any advice anybody gives you." (And that even came from a couple without a baby!) I know that's pretty much what Susan and jac said, and the way you're already heading, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again.

It sounds like people around you are being pretty aggressive. Good luck standing your ground. If you and your husband both feel the same about the important issues, that will make dealing with the nay sayers so much easier.

People are just so sure that the way they've raised their own children works so much better than anything else they hear about, that they can't believe your way might work just as well. (Of course that's true for all of us here too.) Blow off steam here whenever you need to!

 From LawnGirl ~ I am sorry you have to listen to their unkind remarks. Nobody ever knows what will happen (for instance, if there would be a reason you couldn't breastfeed etc) but, it sounds as if you have the best intentions and I think it's rude for them to rain on your parade.

I have found that people are uncomfortable when others do things that are different. Not that they are uncomfortable with cloth diapers (chances are all the older mothers used them!), it's just that you aren't following "what everyone else does". How neat that you plan to share a room and breastfeed. Even neater that you plan to cloth diaper. If you need support, this is a great place for it. Also, try to hook up with a local LLL, they are sooo supportive with the whole breastfeeding thing. As a young first time mother, I got many of the same comments as you do, and it is frustrating. You know that you CAN do this!

 From ILmomtobe ~ You kind of need a thick skin and let things roll off your back. Just remember, you're doing what's right for your family. We had my son in a bassinet for two months, and it was great. Sometimes he slept with me, my husband or both of us, but usually in the bassinet. We were really ready for him to be in his crib when the time came, and he was banging on the sides of the bassinet, and it was fine.

I would suggest having some bottles around, because you never know what's going to happen. I knew I was going back to work, and my son would need a bottle at 5 months, but when he was only 3 weeks old, my mom went into the hospital in a coma. I was not allowed to bring him into ICU, so I had no choice but to pump. I also took the premixed formula home from the hospital, but ended up using it to mix cereal months down the road if I was ever short on pumped stuff. I'm just saying it's not bad to have a contingency plan. By the way, we love Avent bottles. I think we have six that we ever used.

And as others said, it will only get worse. Wait until someone tries to feed your 7 month old an Oreo!

 From stargirl ~ I think the helpful advice I got only served to worry me. I wasn't worried about how long I would nurse Juliana until my stepmom warned me against doing it for "too long" (whatever that is).

Everyone is right - in a sense it gets worse after the baby is here. You just have to start dealing with it. Just because someone gives you advice doesn't mean you have to debate the merits of it. "I'll keep that in mind" works wonders. Or "how interesting, is that what happened with you?" After a few months people quit asking about the breastfeeding. Family quit asking about the bed at about a year (but they were polite). Regarding the bottles, I never used formula, but did use the bottles for breastmilk when I had to be away from her (I pumped it). So you could really throw them for a loop and say yes, you're getting the special kind of bottles that go with a breast pump! (you can also use them for formula, btw).

Also - most people will not take you seriously until the baby is born. So don't lose any sleep over it. They will think you don't know what you're talking about. So just let it roll off your back. I bet you're going to do great! Whatever you decide to do.

 From Sorsha94 ~ Ahh yes, that charmingly hellish third trimester when you are surrounded by people who are soooooo non-AP you could cheerfully throttle them. Been there, done that. You have been getting some great advice from the other posters. I do agree that it wouldn't hurt to have some bottles because you never know if you might have to pump for some reason. Also, room-sharing of some sort is a wonderful bonding experience. It also helps reduce stress, lowers blood pressure, produces a feeling of calmness and security. I think that also goes for the baby. You sound like the type of person who needs Dr. Sears and Elizabeth Pantley not for yourself but so you can hush up other people.

One bit of gentle advice regarding cloth diapers. I too wanted to be a natural parent in addition to being an attached parent. When my baby arrived 2 1/2 weeks early, small, it was easier to use disposables.

Oh yeah, my baby started out in the 5th percentile, on breastmilk. Even after going to formula he still stayed in the 0-5th percentile curve. Even now despite cereal, bread, fruit, veggies, meat, toddler formula, my 14 month old is still on the 0-5th percentile curve. So much for what They Say creates average babies.

 From Terrilein ~ After hearing a lot of the same things you did, I suggested to my brother while they were expecting to make a suggestion box. Any visitors who have a suggestion to make, have them write it down and drop it in. Wouldn't be too helpful with shop clerks though. I think it's so hard on new parents when people spew information and expect you to have the same opinion or to blindly follow what you say. Better to make them follow your procedure before even considering what they say. Tit for tat. I like the suggestion box idea because you can read the ideas at leisure add them to your own collection or toss them. It also gives you time to think up replies and to be forewarned that others may ask the same thing.

 From Lucy ~ I used to get all the advice and then when I explained what we wanted to do, it would be 'Oh you'll change your mind when the baby gets here!' cheeky so-and-sos! Maybe you could answer more vaguely like, "we plan to try cloth diapering / breastfeeding / co-sleeping etc first but if it doesn't work for us, then we'll try something else" - it sounds a little more like you're open to other ideas. The more gung ho you sound about your choices, the more people will push you on it. At the end of the day, ignore them

 From AmyMarch ~ I agree with what everyone else says, with the exception that for me, it actually got a little easier after my son was born. I think it's that once he was here, co-sleeping and breastfeeding, etc. just felt so amazing and perfect and so obviously right for us, that their comments started rolling off my back a little easier. Then after about a year it got really easy, because suddenly my family and friends just stopped asking the questions. I guess they gave up!

Oh, and one last thing -- I never bought a bottle, or needed to. I might do it differently with later kids, just to have a backup plan like the others mentioned, but it was never a problem with my son. In fact, I remember once when Ben was about eight months I had to buy some sort of baby thing for someone else, and there I was (with my son in the sling, of course) walking up and down the aisles looking at the vast array of baby foods and bottles and pacifiers, and it hit me that WOW, this was the FIRST TIME I had ever set foot in the baby aisle! I could not believe all the stuff that they make you think you need that I never even realized was out there. I'm donít think of myself as being particularly anti-consumerism, but that still rings in my head as one of my prouder moments as an AP parent.

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