If being a first-time mom isn't hard enough, many then also find themselves having to deal with mounds of unsolicited advice from their mother-in-law, making the whole process that much harder. Being scrutinized over every single parenting decision while bringing up baby is enough to make any mom want to throw in the towel, but before that happens, try to imagine that all of that information she's spewing at every hour of the day actually comes from a good place. Also, try to imagine that some of those "tips" she's sharing may actually be spot on.
Hard to imagine, right? Well, that is why we are here – to help translate the nagging blah blah blah into, "that is actually great advice, thanks."
If politeness is no longer working and things are getting a bit hopeless, look no further, we have affirmed the 10 times the mother-in-law really did need to butt out, but we also cataloged the 10 times she may have actually gotten it right.
We know it is not easy, but filtering the things she says can be helpful and those little parenting tips that were passed down from generation to generation can also be priceless. So read on for some ways to cope with all the noise and some scientific evidence that what she says isn't all so bad.
10 Times MIL Needs To Butt Out!
20 Cry It Out
Whatever your parenting views may be on sleep training, when it comes to determining if the "cry it out" method is best for your baby, you and your partner should be the only ones to decide.
According to Psychology Today, cry it out is an idea that has been around since the 1800s when doctors thought babies should rarely be touched due to germ transmission.
In today's world, modern science shows that caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed and prevent crying are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite.
Whatever you decide, its YOUR decision.
19 Take A Hit
If your mother-in-law suggests disciplining your child with a spoon, belt or any other physical ways and you are okay with it, great. However, forms of discipline should be something determined only by the parents.
Food for thought: The University of Texas has determined that the more children are [physically disciplined], the more likely it is they will defy their parents—and experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties that last into adulthood.
Though the majority of the population still engages in these kinds of disciplining methods just like in the 'good ol' days,' this should not be left up to your mother-in-law to decide.
18 Babies Don’t Need Vegetables
Yes, you read that correctly. My mother-in-law once told me after I started my son on solids that, "Babies don't need vegetables, just put some cereal in his bottle."
Needless to say, I was appalled. Why was it wrong to introduce a baby to vegetables like carrots and peas as part of their first meal?
In fact, it was actually my mother-in-law who needed to butt out. Pine Street Pediatrics found that cereal in a bottle is not a good idea because you may throw your child's “I’m full” instinct off.
More importantly, babies have been known to aspirate cereal when cereal is mixed in a bottle with formula or breast milk.
17 Still Breastfeeding!
If you are breastfeeding, then chances are you will face criticism about your decision at one point or another. So if you are looking to extend your breastfeeding journey and your mother-in-law isn't on board, you are more than likely to hear a lot of this criticism from her.
Want to know how to deal with it? Show her the research, According to WebMD, breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
Breastfeeding lowers your baby's risk of having asthma or allergies. And breast milk does not lose its helpful properties just because your baby gets older.
16 Run, Don't Walk
Having a baby has become more of a competition than ever before and if your mother-in-law is pressuring you and criticizing you about your parenting based on your child's developmental milestones, ignore her and talk to your pediatrician, instead.
Hearing her say things like, "Shouldn't he be walking by now?" or, "When is he going to learn how to run?" Can feel like a personal offense.
The truth is, every child is different, but the CDC says that most children learn how to walk between 9 and 18 months. That is a huge window! Keep that in mind and relay that to your dear mother-in-law for next time.
15 Show Me Your Pearly Whites
Unlike some of those other developmental milestones, cutting teeth isn't something that your little one will do in a few months time. That transformation from all gums to pearly whites will take time.
Don't allow your mother-in-law to convince you otherwise and try not to let it get you down. However, BabyCenter suggests that if you still don't see any sign of a tooth by his 18-month checkup tell your child's doctor or dentist.
Although, premature babies may be a few months behind in getting their teeth. Your child's doctors will be able to rule out issues by this point. And in the meantime, be kind and parent on.
14 Let's Decorate
There are few things as frustrating as listening to your mother-in-law berate you about the way you've decorated your house, and what's worse, the way you've decorated your kid's room.
Though she may have good intentions, there is no better time than the present to politely tell her to butt out of your business. And above all, try not to take what she says personally.
As hard as this may be, remember that her constant advice giving says more about her than it does about you. What’s fueling her behavior is a strong need to give her opinion, says motivational speaker Deanna Brann, "Which has nothing at all to do with whether or not you actually need it!"
13 The Name Game
With all of the crazy celebrity baby names going around, you may be inclined to be a bit more adventurous when it comes to naming your little one.
And as you should, you are your child's mother and you should name him or her as you see fit. Plus, a creative name lends to a creative person.
But after your baby is born if your mother-in-law says, "You should have named (Her/Him) after me. Why did you name (him/her) that anyway?" Feel inclined to laugh it off.
Deanna Brann goes on to suggest, "When your mother-in-law brings it up, just laugh, shake your head like she’s told the funniest joke, and then change the subject."
Don't consider it impolite, consider it funny.
12 It Looks Like You Need Help
We can't all be the best cooks, but it doesn't help to hear our mothers-in-law pointing that out every time we try making dinner. If she asks if you need help cooking dinner, instead of taking offense, say "yes", allow her to cook and go take a nap.
Allow her to butt out of your business by keeping her occupied. I know it may sound crazy, but it won't be every day. Just enjoy the added you-time you get since she insists on "helping" so much.
When you have an extra hour of sleep here or there, trust us, you will thank us. And if you notice she offers a little too often, consider investing in a cookbook.
11 Just A Few French Fries?
When it comes to your child's dietary restrictions, your mother-in-law really needs to butt out! Whatever your stance on your child's nutritional needs, stay firm and grounded on what you want for your little one.
If you are breastfeeding and continue to hear, "He/She still seems hungry, can I just give her a little..."
Don't engage, just allow her to say what she wants. Parenting is hard enough as it is. Continue to do what you are doing and as always, if you start to see anything alarming like weight loss or rash take it up with your child's pediatrician before changing up what you are used to doing.
10 Times The MIL Has It Right
10 A Spoonful Of Medicine
If your mother-in-law is telling you to replace the whole “spoonful of sugar” tale with honey, then you can safely believe her. A spoonful of honey actually will help cure the common cold in children over one year old.
It's a great natural remedy without the medicine. According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, “Honey may be a preferable treatment for the cough and sleep difficulty associated with childhood upper respiratory tract infection.”
The reason is simple, honey forms a mucous membrane that soothes the irritation in an infected area in the body. It's also antibacterial; it was used in ancient history to heal wounds and reduce infection.
9 Chest Massage
Is your mother-in-law telling you crazy ways she knows to help cure the common cold in your child? Listen up! In addition to honey, a chest massage with any sort of natural balm has been shown to help break up mucus in children and adults.
Though most colds just have to run their course, using a mentholated balm or something nice and warm like shea butter on a baby's chest and lymph nodes, (the same works for an adult) can help speed up recovery, according to modern reflexology.
Massage also helps encourage blood flow which helps the body ward off toxins and germs.
8 Hat On
Okay so first, let's get a few things straight. No, your little one will not get sick if they are exposed to cold air, only a virus does that, and no, most the body's heat does not escape from the head, scientific studies reported by The Guardian reveal.
So you may be wondering, "Why does my little one need a hat?!" Well, if your mother in law is insisting that you put a hat on your little one in the cold months, the reason may be that the face, head, and chest are more sensitive to cold than the rest of the body.
Therefore, you should still cover your child's head, if for no other reason than to keep them comfortable.
7 Take That Coat Off
If your mother-in-law is anything like mine, it can be really irritating to have her run to bundle up your little one before you leave the house, just to demand that you take off his or her coat before you buckle them in the car seat.
The truth is, your little one should never go in the car seat with a coat on. According to Consumer Reports, putting your little one in his or her car seat with a coat on can leave he or she susceptible to injury in case of a crash.
A puffy coat won't provide all the protection they need if the harness can't be tightened enough.
6 Bucked Teeth
From thumb sucking to pacifier soothing, we've all heard what the mother-in-law has had to say about our little ones getting bucked teeth as a result. The thing is, she's right.
According to The New York Times, pacifiers "can have some adverse effects on the structures of the oral cavity, especially after prolonged use,” says Dr. Abhinav Sinha.
The most common effect is what's called “chronic” pacifier use is an obvious gap between the upper front and lower front teeth when the jaw is closed. In this circumstance, he said, “The back teeth touch, but the front teeth do not.”
This creates that bucked tooth look Mom in law keeps talking about.
5 Sleeping Alone
Co-sleeping has been a pretty controversial topic for at least a decade. Co-sleeping basically means just sleeping in relative proximity to another so you can sense their presence.
Even if it is not bed sharing, co-sleeping when it comes to babies means having your little one's crib in the same room as your own. One of the largest reasons people advise against co-sleeping is for the potential of your little one getting SIDS, which co-sleeping has also been shown to prevent, so if your mother in law is telling you to put your baby in his own room, which is right?
Well, the real reason is that of developing sleep independence if your child gets too used to sleeping with you.
4 Wear That Baby
Babywearing is a tradition that spans across cultures multiple cultures and is something that has existed for centuries, though it sort of went out of style over the past few decades.
If your mother-in-law mentions how important babywearing can be, listen to her. Wearing your baby is a great way to get things done hands-free while bonding with your little one.
If he or she won't sleep it's also a great way to snuggle him or her and make he or she feel safe while you are multitasking. Not to mention, it just looks really cool. According to WrapyourBaby.com babywearing can also protect your child from added germs.
3 Burp Up A Hairy Baby
We've all heard the old wives tale that heartburn during pregnancy will result in a hairy baby. If your mother-in-law said it to you, don't just shake it off as she has an 82 percent chance of being right.
The New York Times reports that 82 percent of pregnant women complaining of heartburn delivered babies with full heads of hair, while the majority of women without heartburn had bald babies.
“Other studies have shown that in pregnant women, high levels of estrogen and other hormones can relax the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, causing heartburn,” explained Anahad O’Connor in The New York Times, “The same hormones, other studies show, can influence fetal hair growth".
2 Pregnant? Take A Walk
My mother-in-law would not stop talking about how active she was during her first pregnancy and how it really helped during her labor and how I should do the same.
The thing is... there was actually something to her talk about being active while pregnant. According to the United States office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, staying active during pregnancy can help you have a more comfortable pregnancy.
It may also help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. If you were already physically active before your pregnancy, it's healthy to keep exercising.
If you weren't, it's never too late to start.
1 Protect His Head
If your mother-in-law annoyingly has yelled out "watch his/her head" after you just had your baby, whether you were nursing or trying out your mom hip, or just carrying your bundle of joy in that football position that feels so much lighter on the arms, there's something to her nagging.
In fact, newborns can experience a number of different issues if their head isn't supported, according to Parents Magazine.
Positional asphyxia, which cuts off oxygen to the rest of the body, tears in their muscles and ligaments, and brain trauma are just a few possibilities if you don't protect their precious necks.
References: Psychology Today, University of Texas, Journal of Family Psychology, Parents Magazine, Very Well Family, Web MD, Baby Center, Speaker on Family Awareness Deanna Brann, The New York Times, Healthfinder.gov, Wrapyourbaby, Modern Reflexology Practices, The Guardian, and Consumer Reports.