Why You Should Listen to Your Motherly Instincts Instead of Everyone Else

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
From the moment you announce your pregnancy to all of your relatives, friends or even distant acquaintances, you should be prepared to be bombarded with tons of advice! This often continues even after you have your baby, and sometimes you may be confused about the best thing to do. After all, some of these people have a lot more experience than you do, especially if this is your first child.
This is also true with doctors and pediatricians who may give you certain advice that you do not agree with. There are so many things. From whether you should have your baby naturally, underwater or get a cesarean, or whether or not you should get an epidural. Then after the baby comes the advice will pour in as to when your baby should be ready to eat solid foods, whether you should have your child immunized all at once or spread it out over months, to sleep patterns or whether or not to co-sleep with your child.

All of these different opinions can certainly make any new parent’s head spin. Guess what? None of these opinions ultimately matter when it comes to your baby. Unless it jeopardizes your baby’s health – which most mothers would never do – then you should mostly go with your gut on all matters concerning your baby.

Why listening to your maternal instincts is best

You are unique. The way you were raised was totally different than the way someone else was raised. Maybe you saw things about the way you were brought up that you liked and thought were right, and maybe you saw things you would have done differently. Ultimately, you have to figure out what parenting strategies will work best for you and your own baby.
Most of these things do not even matter in the grander scheme of things. Does it really matter whether your baby’s first bit of solid food was rice or turnip? Does it matter whether the baby was five months or six months? Not really. For some mothers, it worked for them, and so they feel compelled to share what worked for them with you.
With the doctor, this is more difficult to do. For example, Western medicine may have a different philosophy than you do. You may be encouraged to do something that goes against what you feel strongly in your heart not to do, but listen to your instincts. If your doctor says your baby needs to get shots every six months but you have recently read up on high mercury contents and are worried about getting too much in your baby all in one dose, then offer a compromise. You can say, “You know, I don’t feel comfortable getting three shots for my baby today, so just do one and I will come back in a few weeks to do the others.” This is just one example. If you feel good with it, fine, but if you feel strongly swayed to go against something that is pulling at your heart, then do not be afraid of saying no.

Many women fear putting their baby in harm’s way, yet they do by going against the internal gift that all mothers are given. Yes, mothers are born with an inherent instinct to protect their babies and this is something that nearly all mothers have, unless they have somehow been marred by a past bad experience. However, most bad judgment calls as parents are often made by confusion, indecision or going against your feelings.

Will you make mistakes as a parent? Of course. You are not perfect, you are human. As long as your child grows up to be healthy, happy and a good person, you have done well. You cannot control everything.

Be mindful of the way you feel, because most of the time, you will be correct. As a mother, you have a unique bond with your baby, and even if your own mother or your spouse’s mother, or your best friend or the pediatrician tell you that you “have” to do something and you do not feel good about it, then listen to your motherly instincts. 99% of the time, they will be accurate.


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