Pregnancy and childbirth came and went in the blink of an eye. The excitement and anticipation dwindled to the reality that the baby is finally here and you have to make all types of decisions at least for the next 18 years.
You are grateful for having the help of your parents in the first few months of this adjustment period. However, here comes another day where your Latina mom spews unsolicited advice about how you should parent your baby.
As if the first few months of becoming a new mom are not challenging enough, you have to deal with her warning you about “mal de ojo” and nagging about the “right” way to raise your baby.
Babies cry. They cry because they are hungry, because their diapers are wet, or because they are sleepy. But what happens when you have checked all the boxes for potential reasons they are crying, and they still won’t settle down?
At these moments, it may be best to allow your baby to self-soothe. Self-soothing is when you allow your baby to calm themselves down and go back to sleep on their own. This means you do not carry them until they feel relaxed enough to go back to sleep.
When two generations of mothers disagree
One of the biggest disagreements I have with my Latina mom is that she does not agree with me allowing my baby to self-soothe. She believes it is painful and traumatic for your child to undergo this amount of emotion and stress without the support of their mom.
Of course, I always make sure my baby is okay and not trying to communicate any real pain to me, but why should I carry him at the slightest movement or whimpering?
I am here to tell you that it is okay to block out the sound of your mother’s voice and do what is best for you and your baby. I mean, why would you follow the advice of a person who also fell into the vicious cycle of generational trauma?
For me, self-soothing is one of the steps toward establishing a healthy, solid sleep routine for your baby. This is not only helpful for the baby but also for the parents as well.
It starts establishing a practice where they can understand when it is time to sleep and when it is time to be awake and play. It is so easy to simply allow the baby to sleep most of the day and then be held most of the night because they keep waking up. There’s nothing wrong with the latter, but for me specifically, this is what works.
My mom’s advice comes out of genuine concern, but I simply do not care. What worked for her in the years when there was no internet or wealth of knowledge at your fingerprints is not what needs to work for me too.
Amiga, it is okay to set these boundaries with your parents. Tell them that it makes you feel uncomfortable and offended every time they give “suggestions” against what you are doing.
These are our children, and it is up to us to defend ourselves and their rights as well.