Babydoll is a 55 year old gorilla with a whole lifetime of experience. She is Ape Times' resident "agony aunt". Write to her with your problems at email@example.com and she'll share her wisdom with you.
My aunt and uncle like to give me lots of advice about how to take care of my 6-week-old baby. The trouble is, they completely disagree on what’s right for him. For example, my aunt believes that breast is best, and that if I don’t breastfeed my child, he will grow up physically ill and psychologically traumatized. My uncle, however, thinks the whole idea of breastfeeding is “pornographic” and self-indulgent. He says I should formula feed my baby, and has even written out a detailed feeding and sleeping schedule that I’m meant to follow to the letter, otherwise my baby will grow up “undisciplined”.
My aunt and uncle don’t have their own children, but they persist in telling me how I should raise mine. They like to visit me every Saturday, pelting me with judgmental comments and sideways glances the whole time they’re here. I just can’t do anything right!
Babydoll, what should I do? And what do you think is the best way to feed a baby?
Well, since your aunt and uncle are obviously such experts in parenting, I think you should follow their advice. To that end, I recommend that you show up at their doorstep in the middle of the night with a crying baby. When they open the door, hand over your wailing child and explain that you were going to feed him, but you just weren’t sure what to do. Bat your eyelashes innocently and beg them to show you. If they seem anything less than delighted, praise their unique child-rearing expertise and insist that they are the only people in the world who really know what they’re talking about.
Then, relax on their sofa for the rest of the night while they deal with your squawking infant.
If they still seem self-assured and confident in their baby-rearing skills after one night, repeat the exercise again the next night. And the next night. And the next. If they refuse to open the door, break in through the window. Surprise them by standing over their bed with your shrieking baby. Continue to do this until your relations’ minds are ready to snap like peanut shells from sleep deprivation.
Soon enough, you’ll be amazed to discover how their beliefs have changed. Your breastfeeding berserker aunt and formula fanatic uncle may suddenly admit that the best kind of baby is a fed baby, regardless of how you get there. The two of them might become a lot more supportive of your chosen parenting style, so long as it works.
On the other hand, they might also stop talking to you entirely. Which would be just as well, as it would liberate you forever from their obnoxious opinions.
And to answer your other question, here’s how I think you should feed a baby. Take milk. Put milk into the baby’s mouth. Continue until the baby is fed. Repeat as needed. And get some rest while you can.
And above all else, never, ever wake a baby if it's asleep. Let sleeping babes lie.
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