“She’s not crying – she’s just exercising her lungs!”

EVERYONE is a comedian.

Everybody has a novel ‘in them’.

And apparently everyone is an expert when it comes to babies.

Everyone, that is, but the mums who are raising them, who are doing it wrong and should be grateful for any advice they can get.

“I tell you what I think…” is a group of words I’ve heard more times than I can count.

“When mine were little…” always precedes a pearl of wisdom which is approximately three decades out of date.

“In my day we’d have had no truck with nonsense like that!” I was told by a man waiting behind me, as I used some spare time in a queue earlier this week to book a baby massage course.

“In my day we didn’t take babies to massage and yoga and all that claptrap!” he informed me.

“You want to just put the child in a pram in the back garden! Let her cry awhile so she can exercise her lungs!”

I didn’t enquire but would assume he’s also of the school of thought that says babies don’t need cots and are quite happy sleeping in a chest of drawers.

(“Just squash her in next to dad’s socks – she’ll be fine!”)

Days later, in the hairdressers, three people climbed atop their soap boxes to inform me breastfeeding is wrong.

“It just doesn’t seem natural, does it?” said a woman with purple-dyed hair.

“I think it’s disgusting,” said a (childless, male) hairdresser. “If I have kids my wife won’t be doing that!”

Another customer leaned over and smiled at me kindly.

“There’s a reason bottle-fed babies sleep better and it’s because it’s better for them!”

(I told her this contradicted the current thinking of both the World Health Organisation and anybody who isn’t a half-wit and she nodded and said: “Exactly, love. Exactly.”)

So my advice to any pregnant women would be this: ignore all the advice.

And get practicing your best ‘nodding and smiling politely’ routine.

You’re gonna need it!


Article first published in the Westmorland Gazette on June 25, 2015

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