Unwanted Parenting Advice & How to Ignore It

As soon as you announced your pregnancy, you probably started receiving unwanted parenting advice. From your mother in law monitoring your diet, to the stranger at the bus stop giving you a dirty look for drinking a coffee, it may seem that your pregnancy is up for discussion. Add to this the number of people trying to touch your bump without permission, and it’s understandable that you’re getting a bit fed up.

Unfortunately, this unwanted advice probably won’t end when the baby is born. You’ll have strangers wandering over to you, desperate to stroke the cheek and squeeze the hand of your newborn. While they stop to tell you how beautiful and precious your newborn baby is, they’ll also probably drop a few parenting tips into the conversation. Your friends and family may also join in offering unsolicited advice at every opportunity.

Sleep

For the first few months, it may seem like the entire world is waiting with baited breath to find out how your little one slept last night. You’ll be offered outdated advice, and may even be made to feel that you have a ‘bad’ sleeper. Firstly, all babies are bad sleepers, that’s how they’re designed. Secondly, how they sleep at eight weeks does not determine how they will sleep forever. Yes sleepless nights are hard, yes having a newborn can be exhausting, but it won’t last forever. Don’t waste time worrying about sleep, just grab it while you can and make the most of this time with your newborn.

Size

There isn’t much to say about babies really, because they don’t do much. They’re cute, they have beautiful big eyes, and they are big, or small, or average. Everyone will comment on your baby’s size, probably because they’ve run out of other compliments to throw at him. As long as your healthcare provider thinks that your baby’s size is ok, then you have nothing to worry about.

Crying

There is nothing more stressful than being out and about when your newborn starts to wail loudly, going redder and redder in the face as he screams. Oh wait, yes there is: it’s when strangers choose that moment to come over and offer advice. What you really need is to be left alone so you can figure out, as quickly as possible, what your baby needs so you can soothe him. What you’ll get is a load of unwanted advice, “give that baby a bottle”, “he’s cold” and “get a dummy in him” being favourites. Ignore the advice, ignore everybody apart from your crying baby. You are his mother, you know what he needs, and if you don’t, you’ll figure it out in a few minutes. Breathe, and try to stay calm.

Parenting choices

Parenting can be a bit of a battleground, and almost every choice has two opposing sides. It is up to you how you decide to raise your baby. Bottle or breast, dummy or not, pram or carrier – all of these choices should be made by you and your partner. It’s not up to your mother in law to persuade you to use formula milk, it’s not your friend’s choice to give your baby a dummy, and you shouldn’t let other mums make you feel bad for letting your baby nap on you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, just do what works for your family.

Confidence

As a first time parent, you are likely to lack confidence when looking after your newborn. It can be an overwhelming time, and you may feel a lot of pressure from various people to conform to their parenting ideals. Don’t. Feel confident in the choices you have made, and focus your energy on being the best parent you can be, ignore the unwanted advice and comments from other people.

Have you been given any unwanted parenting advice, and how did you deal with it?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockUnwanted Parenting Advice & How to Ignore It

Comments 9

  1. Ethel

    Actually, I have enjoyed some of the unwarranted advice. I am expecting my number 3, and in previous babies, I have had strangers suggest how to calm my baby and it worked. Even advice on how to manage morning sickness, or labour. It was not all negative. ….I actually think most people have good intentions. I really think it’s a form of caring. You always do not know it all!

  2. Ursula

    Haha Tatianna, I got the same “advice” from my MIL when I was pregnant when she saw me reach up high on the kitchen cabinet. Being the smarta** that I am I asked which is the best method to keep my fetus perfectly still while he was in-utero.
    I am 8 weeks into motherhood and I am so over people asking if he is a “good baby” and how he sleeps at night. If by good baby you mean that he is rarely hysterical (all babies cry when they need something, this is not a startling new development) then that speaks more in favour of my/our parenting instincts than my 8 week old son being “good” or “bad”.
    Oh and my mother and her disapproving comments about evening cluster feeding being “Not normal” when he feeds predictably throughout the day because she either never allowed it with us or we never wanted to.

  3. Tatianna

    Im 7 months with my second and get alot of the unwanted crap… A friend of mines mom told me not to reach up into the cabinet because the cord would wrap around my babys neck… Like lady really? Shut up!
    She also keeps insisting Im having a boy although Ive made it really clear its a girl…so now I just ignore her when she speaks its like look this is my second kid I think I got this… You havent had a kid in 20 something yrs… Sit down and be quiet!

  4. Melissa

    I’m 3 months pregnant with my first child and I have had so much unwanted advice! And so many people thinking they can tell my news, it’s been heart breaking when someone walks up to me and asks how my pregnancy is going when I haven’t told them, I’ve got my mother in law demanding I bring up her grandchild her way, my work colleagues getting funny that I want to come back to work later on, I feel as if I’m having my baby with the world!!

  5. Rachel

    I breastfed my son for 2 years 2 months, even though at 3 months the otherside (of the family) kept questioning me when I was going to wean him. I just continued on and did what I felt was right for my son and myself. You do have to stick up for yourself and your baby, but in the end it’s the only thing to do.
    I’ve noticed though, that most people are very nice and considerate and only have good things to say. So overall the balance tips far in the favor of those who are supportive and kind and let you be free to do what you think is best for your baby!

  6. Anita

    I breast fed both my girls for 2 1/2 years because they didn’t want to stop and when they felt that they weren’t babies any more they stopped on their own. My mother in law didn’t like it at all, me feeding them for that long, I just ignored her and I am planning to breast feed baby number 3 for that long too. Mothers should definitely do what they feel best and what feels right to them.

  7. Stephany

    I am seven months pregnant with my first baby and my boyfriends step father like to put me down for waiting to breastfeed. He doesn’t think that its any good for the baby. He also thinks that just because his step daughter couldn’t breastfeed her son. I’m not going to breastfeed my daughter. He wont get it that he comments are not wanted.

  8. KC

    Unwanted parenting advice was sparse during my pregnancy but when the baby came the “advice” was endless. Being a young mother wasn’t helping the situation either. My husband and I had more than one conversation about my annoyance with his mother constantly telling me what “I should do”. I found the root of my annoyance was the feeling that everyone knew better for my child than his own mother, the lack of space to figure this mothering thing out on my own, and the overwhelming feeling that around certain people I couldn’t do anything with my son without me being scrutinized. I eventually made it very clear that none of the comments or advice were welcome and that I would stay clear of any individual who felt they couldn’t control their outbursts of “advice”, which I saw nipped that situation right in the butt. Point is, don’t let anyone tell you what’s what with your child, you are the one who knows best. Also, if someone in particular is too much for you to handle just take a break, you have the right to your space.

  9. Becky

    I breastfed my baby girl who is know 3 till she was 2. My cousin doesn’t have kids and always nagged about me breast feeding her she would say that she doesn’t need it and all that crap.. I asked her if it bothered her and she said no and I said we’ll leave me alone then , she was always putting her two cents in and she had no clue what it’s like to raise a child. I am know 5 months pregnant with baby number two. I have tried to be nice to her, but if she starts with me this time about breast feeding I’m not going to be nice..