What new mums don’t need to justify to anyone

We often hear from first-time mums who feel deflated, confused, and angry with the advice they’re being given.

Even if it isn’t intentional, the people in our lives, whether that’s family, friends, or professionals, should make us feel supported in our parenting choices, rather than judged or incompetent.

Of course this isn’t every new mother’s experience. There are countless wonderful, open-minded, caring, knowledgeable, and empathetic individuals that are respectful in a parent’s values and choices even if they’re not considered part of our mainstream culture.

If you’re unhappy and uncomfortable with the advice you’re receiving, search for a support network that aligns with your parenting style, and if that’s not an option or you simply can’t find one, then please know that you don’t have to justify everything you do.

It doesn’t mean that you have to hold back either, because rather, if you are completely open with people about absolutely everything, it will help to normalise it. Not being honest also skews the data and understanding of biologically normal infant behaviour.

The more mums that speak truthfully, the more informed people will be. It’s most likely a lack of awareness of current parenting practices and the latest evidence around infant feeding, sleeping, and responsive parenting that prevents others from being able to offer educated support and guidance.

As long as you yourself are informed, and follow all of the safety and wellness guidelines for your baby, you can parent how you choose to. It’s your baby, your family, and your right to parent from the heart.

What new mums don’t need to justify to anyone

Being a new mum can already feel so lonely, but when you can’t find like-minded people to encourage you, listen to you, reassure you, and inspire you, it can deepen that sense of isolation. But mumma, we hear you, we see you, and you’re definitely not alone. You matter and you’re amazing.

Here are just some of the things you don’t need to justify to anyone, whether it’s mums in your mother’s group, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, your GP, your neighbour, your co-workers, your MCHN, your sister, and even your partner…

By telling the truth, you help to change an outdated culture

Confidently stating to healthcare professionals that you feed on demand, co-sleep, go with the flow, or prefer to nurture your baby to sleep rather than sleep train them, is an opportunity to help other parents.

A healthcare provider’s education and life experiences hugely influence their advice, and if they’re not up-to-date with the current evidence, they can’t grow professionally.

Before you go to your next appointment, be prepared. Practice responses to questions that you feel comfortable with. Gently ask them for evidence to back up their advice. If this doesn’t feel like something you can do, make the complaints later. Email them to ask questions, or provide written feedback through your local health service’s compliments and complaints forum.

If family or friends question your parenting, send them evidence-based articles (such as the ones listed above) to show that you have made informed decisions.

If you want some quick responses to anyone’s criticisms or unwarranted advice, you could try some of these ideas:

  • ‘Thanks, but we are happy with our choice’. You could follow that up with ‘we have made it based on current scientific evidence’
  • ‘I understand that you disagree, but I’m doing what is best for my child based on an educated decision’
  • Or simply, ‘this is how we’ve chosen to parent, thanks anyway’

Remember that to affect any change, it’s important to engage in discussions on parenting in a kind and respectful manner. Being aggressive or defensive won’t be constructive to the cause. Try to choose science over emotions.

Trust your instincts. You are an expert on your baby.


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