Dear Peanut Gallery: I don’t give a crap about what you think of my parenting decisions.

Attention pregos and new moms: Consider yourselves warned.  You are about to be subjected to more unsolicited opinions than ever before.  Get excited!

Not sure why, but people get so. passionate. about their ideas on pregnancy and parenting, whether they have experience giving birth and raising children or not.  And since they want you to be passionate about their ideas, too,  they relentlessly dish out advice and spew passive/aggressive remarks that they believe will sway you to their way of thinking.  As if.

Your parenting decisions will be judged by your mother.  Your father.  Your friends, both real and Facebook.  The UPS guy.  Your relatives.  Your co-workers.  The cashier at the grocery store.  Because they all know your baby better than you do.  Just FYI.

Here are just a few topics that you know nothing about, but it’s OK – because everyone else does and they’ll share their wisdom with you, whether you want to hear it or not.

1 – Feeding.  This is THE. MOST. ANNOYING. point of conversation for a new mom.  Literally as soon as people see you with a baby, it plays out like this:  “Awwww, he’s adorable!  (HE, despite the massive flower headband).  Are you breastfeeding?”  Can someone please explain to me why people want to know that?  Why do they care?  Does someone else’s decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed impact your life in any way?  No?  Then mind your freaking business.

You can’t win on this one, so avoid discussing it whenever possible.  If you formula feed, you are lazy and/or selfish and don’t care about your baby’s nutrition.  If you breastfeed, you’re either gross, cheap, or a crazed attachment-parenting enthusiast.  If you breastfeed in the beginning and decide it’s not working for you, you didn’t try hard enough and now your poor baby will suffer for it.  If you breastfeed too long, you’re inappropriate, disgusting, and probably shop at Trader Joe’s.

Then there’s the solid food debate.  You’re either doing it too early or too late, and whatever you’re feeding is all wrong.  Because I don’t really give a crap if you judge my choices, I’ll share mine with you for the sake of making my point.

I have pretty much exclusively nursed.  When I first went back to work, she had a little formula here and there, but I pumped so she got mostly breast milk for her entire first year.  She just turned one and I’m still nursing twice a day.  I mean, I thought that was a good way to go.  “Breast is best,” right?  It says so right on the containers of formula.  Welp, turns out it’s NOT a good way to go according to a bunch of people whose opinions I didn’t ask for.

My mother: “Wouldn’t it just be easier to give formula?  You had formula and you turned out fine.”  “How long are you going to do that for?  What will you do when she gets teeth?”  Why. do. you. care. 

Solid food.  I waited until Buggy was 6 months to introduce solids, and when I did I made purees at home rather than feeding her pre-made baby food.  Apparently that is cruelty and she should be eating jarred foods that have been sitting on grocery store shelves collecting dust for months.  I mean, expiration dates on these things are literally Oct. 2014.  I don’t know of any bananas that will stay edible that long without added preservatives.  But I’m not a banana expert, either, so who knows.

Dad: “Give her some applesauce!  We gave YOU applesauce!”

Co-worker: “You make more work for yourself!  The Gerber jarred vegetables are the same thing, right?  It’s just peas.”

Relative: “Oh, come on!  She can have a taste of ice cream.  It won’t hurt her.  Look; she’s pointing!  She wants a taste!”

Yeah, no shit she wants a taste.  She points at my car keys all the time.  I guess I should let her drive?

2 – Sleeping.  Who knew comforting your crying baby was frowned upon and considered spoiling?  I know now, I guess.  She’s spoiled.  Oh, well.

To each her own, but it’s just not my style to “sleep train” – aka – let my baby who needs me wail in her crib until she eventually loses hope that I’ll help her and falls into a lonely, frightened, uneasy sleep.  I know crying it out works for many parents, but it’s just not my thing.  I knew going into this that I was in for sleep deprivation, and while I don’t love being overtired and drained, it is my belief that babies will sleep through the night when they are ready and able.  My responsibility to my child is 24/7, not just during my chosen awake hours.  And if I’m exhausted, what’s it to you?

Peanut Gallery: “You know, Lori.  If you know that she’s been fed and is clean and dry, you really should just let her cry.  It’s the only way she’ll learn.”

Learn what?  That she’s on her own in life?  That Mama and Dada don’t give a crap if she just had a nightmare?  Or just wants to be held?  I mean, obviously it ends somewhere.  She won’t be a baby forever.  It just baffles me why when it comes to other milestones – crawling, walking, talking, etc. – people say, “Oh, she’ll do it when she’s ready.  All babies are different.”  But when it comes to sleep, or I should say disrupting or upsetting the parent’s needs in general – neglecting “training” is required.  I don’t know.  Just seems harsh to me.

3 – Clothing.

If ONE. MORE. PERSON. says to me – “Where are her socks?!  Mama, my feet are like ice cubes!” – I will honestly take a pair of socks and shove them up that person’s nose.

My daughter has three million pairs of socks.  I find them all over the house.  Why?  Because she rips them off her feet.  All the time.  Clearly I don’t neglect my child and force her to walk around sockless and freezing.  But I’m not going to chase her around with socks all damn day or glue them to her feet.  We’re in the house for crying out loud.

Anyway, I could go on and on about how maddening everyone is about everything – from how atrocious it is that I let our dog son kiss her face to how I meticulously wipe down every public surface she touches with a sanitizing wipe (mind you, she’s 1 and has never been sick), but you would probably stop reading because it’s just that annoying.  But the moral of the story is that opinions are like… well, you know.  And if you’re going to have a baby, you’re about to hear a lot of them.  Tell them all to take a hike.

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