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How to Deal With Unsolicited Advice as a New Mom

A new baby brings a lot of happiness to the family. The pregnancy news starts with loads of happiness but it also brings in unexpected anxiety, especially for new moms. The new moms always look up to their family and friends for all the pregnancy or baby-related advice, and a lot of times Google too. But not all the advice shared by family works for you or your baby. This is because every child is different and sometimes the suggestion shared is outdated too. I”ll give a very personal example here. I had serious engorgement issues and the only thing that helped me was pumping with Philips Avent breast pump. My family was so against it because they thought it is not a natural thing to do, but in the end it turned out to be a miracle product for me. Philips Breast pump not only made pumping easy but it also helped me with the engorgement and increasing the milk supply eventually.

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Another personal experience, my baby had gas issues when he was 3-4 months old. He used to cry a lot during this time and sometimes threw his hands in pain. My family always suggested to me that my baby was hungry and forced me to feed him even when it wasn’t even an hour since he took his last feed. Now with experience I learnt that babies not only cry when they are hungry but they also cry because of many other reasons. They might be feeling hot, or having a growth spurt or just separation anxiety. And while he had gas issues, feeding him every time he cried due to gas was actually making him worse. If only I was forced to feed him all the time, even when I didn’t want to.

Times have changed. We have many resources for learning more about parenting but of course we still get unsolicited advice and most of the time we are confused about how to deal with such situations. It gets on your nerves when someone tells you that you’re a bad parent or you’re not doing enough. That generally springs up when someone tells you that your baby isn’t eating enough and looks very petite. The doctor says otherwise but some people are obsessed with healthy-looking babies and they make sure that they give every suggestion they have in mind to increase the weight of your baby.

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Here are some ways to fine tune all the advice and do what works the best for both of you.

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1) Stay calm and listen: This is easier said than done but this is something that is needed the most when such a situation arrives. If you lose your calm and lash out at the other person, it will not only hamper your relationship with them but it is bad for your health too. Remember when you’re getting unsolicited advice, most of the time the ones giving it think that they are helping you. So it won’t harm if you listen to them calmly and then respond keeping an open mind.
2) Educate yourself: If you do your research well, it will be easy to respond to anyone who gives unwanted advice. And if you have data to prove your point, most of them will refrain from arguing more on the same issue.
3) Take their advice into consideration: this is a polite way of listening to their story and accepting that you’ll take their advice into consideration. Smile, thank them and move on. It depends upon you whether you actually do it or not.
4) Pick your battles: Sometimes it’s just a good idea to smile and nod and move away but other times you need to stick to your ground and fight your battle for your child and yourself. People love to question every decision a new mom takes like breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, or c section vs natural birth. They need to be reminded that it’s your motherhood and every decision you take should be respected. Someone told me that breast milk is as good as water and it will never help in weight gain for my baby. I should focus more on formula than breastfeeding. In this situation, I just told them that my doctor says it’s alright and move on.
5) Tell them that times have changed: If they still don’t move away from the topic, explain it to them that the times have changed. All the information is now available on the internet. Things that used to work in the past probably don’t work anymore. Also because of updates in science and technology, lots of new products are available in the market to help the new moms and their babies. For example breast pumps. This invention literally changed my life. I had issues with milk production and engorgement but Philips Avent great pump that I used came as God’s gift. Earlier I was scared to try thinking it might be painful, but it was so much better. I could easily pump and let my husband feed my baby while I was still recovering from childbirth. It is compact and lightweight and I used to pump while my baby would be napping.
6) Give firm replies: Here are some firm responses that you can give to finally put an end to it

“ Sorry but our doctor does not advise this ” – If someone is trying to give you advice on a medical issue, tell them that you will only consider the advice of the doctor. Most people will not question what the doctors say. 

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“This is what works for us” – It reminds them that it’s working well for you and the baby and their advice would not make any difference.

“Thank you for sharing your advice.”

“Would you like something to eat” – Deflect the advice, change the topic of discussion.

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7) Explain your part of the story: if it’s a really close friend or relative, you can always explain your part as to why you’d rather not do it the way they suggest. Make them understand that every baby is different and so is every family. Just because something worked for their baby doesn’t mean it will work for every baby on the planet.
8) Trust your mom gut: Moms are naturally tuned with their baby. If your gut tells you it’s right, then you are definitely right. A mom would never choose something that is not the correct thing for her baby. If you feel uncertain about how to deal with a certain situation, for example a baby having fever and not being sure whether to see a doctor or not or how to bring a baby’s temperature down, don’t hesitate to call your doctor. For any unsolicited advice that makes you confused, the doctor’s response will help you know the right thing to do.

I would also like to add here that not all advice given is worthless, sometimes it can be helpful to know their story and implement their advice if you feel it is useful. Keeping an open mind really helps. But in the end, the decision is always yours. No one should make you feel that you’re not doing enough for your baby. Motherhood is a beautiful journey. You should enjoy every part of it, reminding yourself that you’re doing the best for your child.

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About myself- A new mom finding her way through motherhood, taking one day at a time, mom to a beautiful boy who is helping me become a better person everyday. I share my personal experience on blog and love sharing snippets from my life.

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions (including content in any form) expressed within this post are those of the author alone. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The responsibility for intellectual property rights of this content rests with the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with him/her.

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This post was last modified on July 13, 2022 2:18 pm

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