We’ve all been there right? The well-meaning but (oh please stop) unwanted parenting advice?
I’ve witnessed some beauties over the years, both as a professional and a mum – and here’s a few of the best comments or advice I’ve heard!
Unwanted parenting advice
•Sleep when the baby sleeps.
•Don’t create bad habits!
•Leave them to cry it does them good!
•In my day we didn’t fuss so much.
•You’re bottle feeding?
•You’re STILL breastfeeding?
•You should try co-sleeping.
•You shouldn’t eat that while you’re breastfeeding!
•Have you thought of using reusable nappies?
•Don’t use a dummy!
•Have you tried using a dummy?
•You’re making a rod for your own back!
•Not sleeping through yet?
•You’re using baby food jars?
•You home-cook for your baby – nobody has time for that!
•You’re going back to work already?
•You’re not going back to work?
•Interesting name choice!
•You’re using a baby carrier?
• You shouldn’t swaddle!
•Have you tried swaddling?
Tips for coping with unwanted advice
So how do you cope when the unwanted advice comes pouring in? Here’s my top tips for not upsetting those you love when they offer well-meaning tips.
The Knowing Nod
This is by far the easiest technique and one I mention in my latest book The Wide Awake Baby Club!
The knowing nod is my favourite! You simply and nod knowing you’re not going to take any of this advice on board! It’s really not worth creating bad vibes over someone’s (usually) well meaning advice.
You might actually find you agree with some small of the advice offered. So, if you’re feeling up to it and not consumed with rage – at the parts you don’t agree with – give a big smile and agree! Just because you’re showing outwardly that you agree – doesn’t mean you have to follow all the advice!
Pick your battles
If your mother-in-law insists that your baby wears the awful knitted hat she made – just let it be. Does it really matter if your baby is wearing an awful hat if it brings the new granny so much joy? You can save it just for granny visits!
Grandad insists on using a nickname instead of the name you spent months picking? It really doesn’t matter (as long as it not hurtful obviously!) Same goes for name shortening by friends – just let it go! Friendships and family are important – pick your battles.
Answer with a question!
If your Aunty asks why your little one isn’t sleeping through yet – ask how old her children were when they first slept through!
be genuine and interested while inwardly eye-rolling.
Prepare your response
If your sister-in-law is a huge breastfeeding advocate and you’ve chosen to formula feed – prepare your answers in advance by educating yourself with clear, simple facts why you’ve made that choice. (Of course you can just tell her to mind her own business – but this is all about keeping the family peace!) By backing your choices with clear reasons – it’s usually enough to quieten down even the toughest of parenting-know-it-all’s!
Be kind but honest!
If the advice is constant and not just snippets here and there – it’s time to be honest! Tell the well-wisher you appreciate all the advice and know they mean well but you want to do things your way and the constant advice spoils the time you spend with them. Sometimes honesty is the best policy if the advice is never-ending.
Sometimes advice can actually be really helpful so try not to be defensive when other parents, friends or family offer you tips if you’re going through a tough time. You might find some of the advice super helpful.
Whichever way you deal with I awaited advice – whether it’s from the granny in the supermarket to your best mate – don’t take it personally as a dig at your parenting skills. Most of the time people just want to help.