Your journey into parenthood starts as soon as you see those 2 pink lines in your home pregnancy kit. While some prefer to postpone the pregnancy announcement until the 1st trimester is over, you may choose to tell everyone within your circle the good news. However, once you spill the beans, prepare for a tidal wave of advice to come at you. Whether it’s solicited or unsolicited advice, every parent-to-be gets overloaded with information.
If you think this will stop as soon as you give birth, well…think again. The advice will keep coming to new moms and even seasoned moms. How you deal with it will be all up to you.
Common unsolicited pregnancy and parenting advice
When I was pregnant with my 1st child, I received a lot of pregnancy advice and commentary. As a matter of fact, there were instances when I got too emotional because of this. I could blame my pregnancy hormones, but the advice and feedback seemed a bit overwhelming for a 1st-time mom like me.
I’m sure you have also received excessive pregnancy advice or outdated parenting tips you didn’t even ask for. Just like me, you may have felt the pressure that comes along with it.
Here is some of the most common pregnancy and child-rearing advice you’re likely to get from the people within your circle and beyond:
- “Aim to have a natural and unmedicated birth.” This is one of the most common pieces of advice you can get as a new mom. Unsolicited opinions about your birth plan can put pressure on you, but your doctor is the best person to determine whether your birth plan works for you or not.
- “Breastfeeding is best for babies.” Although the WHO has emphasized the advantages of exclusive breastfeeding, there are instances when other forms of feeding will be preferable for you and your baby. Don’t feel bad if this happens; always remember that fed is best.
- “You seem to be bigger than what’s normal for this time in a pregnancy.” A lot of unsolicited advice during pregnancy will have to do with your physical changes. Keep in mind that this is all normal and temporary. You can get your old figure back through proper exercise after the kid is born.
- “You don’t really need a crib or a rocker. It will just be a waste of money and space.” This is perhaps one of the more reasonable pieces of advice you can get while waiting for your D-day. There’s no harm in listening to comments about what items can be useful, especially from parents with first-hand experience. Talk about options to save money that you can then allocate to other essentials.
- “You have to use a contraceptive after giving birth.” Unfortunately, you’ll hear this remark at least once during your pregnancy. Topics related to birth spacing should be discussed with your partner and doctor, not with other people, even if they are from your own circle.
- “You should get some rest while your baby is asleep.” This seems to be easier said than done. If you have other responsibilities, such as household chores, older kids to look after, and even work assignments, you may find it difficult to pause for a break. Still, you should not over-exert yourself because you’re also recovering from childbirth.
- “Organic food is always best for your little one. “ While it’s good to feed your child natural and organic food, there are also other factors to consider with regard to nutrition, such as food allergies, food availability, and even your family budget. Homecooked and nutrient-packed meals don’t always need to be organic. Alternatives are available depending on your family’s health and preference.
- “Potty train as soon as you can.” This seems to be one of the most popular pieces of advice you can get for your tot. You know your child, and if they’re showing signs of readiness, you may proceed with potty or toilet training. Don’t be pressured into thinking that your child needs to be potty trained at a certain age. The thing to keep in mind is that you need to be consistent once you start the process, so it requires time and energy.
Pregnancy and child-rearing advice: Solicited vs. unsolicited?
If you’re a new mom, you will hear a lot of advice about your pregnancy and child-rearing, from your parents and siblings to relatives, friends, and co-workers. Yes, even that lady from your neighborhood or that stranger in the grocery store. They all have something to say.
While you may initiate a conversation about your pregnancy and parenting experiences, you’ll likely be getting much more than you bargained for. If you have asked for advice about your pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing, it makes sense to welcome it and consider what the people around you have to say,
Keep in mind that you can turn to the internet for pregnancy and parenting advice and information. There are social media forums and groups where parents share their experiences and opinions about different issues related to pregnancy and child-rearing. The advantage of solicited opinion is that you can move from one article or comment to another if you feel it won’t work for you and your family.
However, it’s an entirely different story when people come at you with pregnancy or new baby advice. You can always tell the difference between criticism and advice. You may feel that this unsolicited feedback is critical of you as a parent or that someone is just being nosy.
How do you deal with unwanted pregnancy or child-rearing advice? Should you really let it affect you or simply shrug it off?
Dealing with unsolicited advice and opinion
When dealing with unsolicited pregnancy and child-rearing advice, you have to be on top of your game. More often than not, you’ll find yourself affected or stressed out by it even if you do your best to ignore unnecessary remarks and undermining comments. So, how do you handle a situation like this?
- Be truthful about what you feel. Being honest and telling a relative or a friend that they’ve crossed a boundary can be the fastest way to deal with a rude comment or unwanted advice. If you’re faced with a co-worker who keeps mentioning your physical changes during pregnancy or a cousin who points out your child’s developmental delays, you can talk to them discreetly and tell them how you feel.
- Respond with silence. This is how the majority of people handle a piece of unsolicited opinion or feedback. Sometimes, it’s better not to give in to keep your peace, especially in your excitable state. Your silence can be a powerful response to a distasteful comment or action.
- Reply with humor. A sense of humor can sometimes do the trick in situations that involve offensive feedback or inappropriate comments about your parenting or pregnancy. You can control the conversation with your wit without coming across as defensive. For instance, you may receive unsolicited feedback about your choice of clothes for your child. You can hit back by saying that your child already has their own sense of style.
- Don’t be specific if you choose to answer. You don’t have to tell your story to anyone, much more to someone giving unsolicited advice. If you are not comfortable divulging your due date, you can tell the person asking something like “soon,” “getting close,” or ” in a few weeks.” If you’re dealing with a relative who asks about your choice to do baby-led weaning, you really don’t need to elaborate on why you consider this best for your child.
- Find a way to end the conversation. Your hormones and your growing baby can be much more exhausting if you’re also taking care of a toddler, so you shouldn’t have to waste your energy clapping back at mean comments or unwanted feedback. You can end the conversation by saying that you’re busy with work or chores or you have an appointment that you cannot miss.
My final thoughts
Unsolicited pregnancy and child-rearing advice, comments, and feedback will always be a part of the journey to parenthood. You’ll continue to get them and might even begin to say, “Stop telling me how to raise my child!” However, you can choose to deal with them with grace and composure. We all have different parenting styles and perspectives, so we should strive to be tolerant and embrace an “agree to disagree” mindset.
How do you deal with unsolicited pregnancy or parenting advice? Do you clap back or go for the silent treatment? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments below.