How to deal with unsolicited advice?

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.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505
How to deal with unsolicited advice?

I've got plans to go shopping for baby stuff with my friend and her toddler this afternoon. She is super sweet and always likes to be helpful. However I don't know how to deal with all her unsolicited advice! This is probably a dumb question but I am really worried about offending her because she is my best friend and is so supportive, but in this she is driving me nuts!

So first we have very different parenting styles which causes a lot of clashes too. I know I'm not parenting yet, but there are choices DH and I have already made that we will strive for once baby is here (baby's crib in our room, no cry-it-out, breastfeeding and avoiding formula etc). I know things can change but this is our plan. A lot of her advice is towards telling me to use formula and supplement, because chances are I won't make enough milk and baby sleeps better on formula. She also has told us several times that baby needs to be alone in it's own room otherwise it will become dependent on us, etc. I have no problem with other people doing those things, it's just not right for us. I know she means well but I don't know how to handle it when she is disapproving of our choices and tries to explain why it's the wrong choice.

So I probably shouldn't have agreed to go baby shopping today. She texts me this morning to say that she needs to give me some advice on a lot of my registry once we get to babies R us. What?!?! I hadn't even told anyone we had a registry yet!! And it's not finalized either. I have no idea how she found it or why she even looked for it. I am nervous that she's going to try and go item by item and tell me why my choices aren't good. What do I say? Sad thanks for any advice, I need it!!

sugspop's picture
Joined: 02/22/07
Posts: 1418

If it were me, I would just listen and politely tell her you appreciate her advice but you have asked a lot of people and read up a lot and plan to do things like a, b or c. You may change your mind as you go, but that is your plan and you will keep her suggestions in mind should you decide to go that route. Smile

gaidinsgirl's picture
Joined: 08/28/06
Posts: 2004

Just try to let it not bother you and smile and nod. You could tell her some facts like having baby in your room will help you be successful at breastfeeding and rooming-in with baby makes that easier for baby and for you. Formula is no guarantee that baby will sleep "better". Formula feeding mamas are sleep deprived too.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

I really questioned where that one came from too. She is the most sleep deprived person ever, her little guy just does not sleep! He has never in his life slept more than a three hour stretch and he's about 20 months. I have no idea how she makes it through the day!

Thanks to you both for the suggestions Smile I am practicing my smile and nod, haha!!

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

Don't you love it?! Great news (insert sarcasm!) - it never ends.

On the registry - I'd listen to what she has to say and then just take it with a grain of salt. I wish I had had more advice from BTDTs when I registered. I got so much stuff I really never needed. However, some stuff people told me to NOT get I loved - like a wipe warmer. So just hear her out on some stuff and then decide what you want to believe. Everyone parents so differently that HER way isn't good for everyone.

As far as the formula and co-sleeping etc etc - that's hard. If you aren't comfortable with just saying "well, dh and I agreed to do it this way, we have read up on attachment parenting (or whatever) and really think it will work best with our lifestyle" then just try to avoid the topic.

My mom gave me loads of BFing advice about how its hard and she never did it and I may not be successful. Um - by the time my child was a month old my whole family was referring to me as Elsie (the dairy cow). So you can't take anyone's advice until you see for yourself.

joyjim's picture
Joined: 05/22/06
Posts: 822

"sugspop" wrote:

If it were me, I would just listen and politely tell her you appreciate her advice but you have asked a lot of people and read up a lot and plan to do things like a, b or c. You may change your mind as you go, but that is your plan and you will keep her suggestions in mind should you decide to go that route. Smile

YUP! This is how I respond, too! Although by now I get very little advice (4th kid).

OliveOly's picture
Joined: 08/03/08
Posts: 158

I agree just listen and take it for face value. My ds didn't sleep thru the night until 20 months

I'm_a_pepper's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 606

Ugh, it is SO irritating when BTDT parents think that they have all the answers, lol. The truth is, parenting is such a personal and subjective thing that the same thing does not work for everyone or every child. It's so much of a trial and error process and you won't know what works or doesn't work until you try it. Since she is your best friend and it doesn't sound like you like conflict/confrontation (I certainly don't! lol), I would just do the smile and nod thing too, while taking everything she says with a grain of salt. If she tries to confront you about your choices and it gets uncomfortable, maybe just say like Jules suggested, "well the same thing doesn't work for everyone, ya know. We are going to try such-and-such technique because it feels right for us, etc."

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

First, Congrats!!! You have now been initiated as a first time mom!!! Unsolicited advice only gets (better) when baby gets here!! Anyone who has ever had a baby, known a baby or been a baby will see you as fresh meat and foam at the mouth to give you advice :rolleyes:

I had the same problem with my BFF. However, as time went by, it faded away. Whenever she gave me advise I just told her that I think she has fabulous kiddos & she's a great mom. Then I joked that I was doing it all the wrong way and my kid will end up on a counselor's couch some day. Now that our kids are older, we laugh about it. So I say, if she's a good friend, it will pass as the kids age, not worth ruining a friendship over.

Panonim's picture
Joined: 11/11/05
Posts: 439

Yeah, I would just do the smile and nod politely. Then respond with something like "thanks so much for letting me know that. I'll definitely keep that in mind". And then change the subject! LOL. Totally annoying but I agree it's probably not worth debating or arguing over lest you risk losing the friendship

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

I agree with what the other girls have said. You should really try to find your own way to let her know that this is just the way you want to do things when baby comes, but thank her for the advice. I know things like this can be difficult. I can't remember anyone doing this with me, but maybe that's because I had my first baby nine years ago lol! This being my fourth people know well enough to leave me alone! As far as the baby registry, honestly, I would listen a little more to what she has to say in that regard. There is so much stuff that I foolishly registered for with DS1 that I never EVER used, and it was such a waste. My registry with this baby is about five pages long, and is nothing but the essentials. I even put in comments for people to please not even buy me any clothes, because my taste in baby clothes is so much different than most everyone else's I know! In the end, do what you want, of course... but do listen up on the registry talk lol! Not to be like your friend (lmao!) but I attached my registry just so you can see what all I registered for this time around! I love browsing through them lol! Maybe we should start a thread where we all attach ours so we can check out all of our fav stuff!

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

Thanks everyone!! Thanks for making me laugh a bit about it...I needed that Smile

Anyway the trip went okay! I would love to hear more about registries and I really like the idea of looking at each others! Unfortunately the comments I was getting were less about the must-haves/don't-need things, and more about why I picked the wrong sippy cup Sad (I love my cups, got them anyway lol! And the reviews online are great for them!)

Anyway I took the advice and did a lot of smile/nod/say thanks and then tried to avoid topics about sleep and breastfeeding. So far so good!

And I scored THE PERFECT changing pad cover for our woodland forest theme (it has bumblebees, dragonflies, and ferns on it) so that made my day Biggrin

Joined: 09/01/10
Posts: 534

Hilary - I totally feel your pain! I remember when I was planning my wedding 2 years ago everyone and their dog was telling me how to do everything, how they did it and how I should do it, etc. It drove me absolutely crazy!

So obviously as a FTM, I knew it was going to happen again....people always telling me what to do, what and what not to buy and all that stuff. I'm trying really hard not to listen to it all and just let it go in one ear and out the other. I guess it just comes with the territory of being a FTM though. Some days though I really wish I had a shirt that said "I will make it just fine without your advice, thanks" Smile

AshnBill's picture
Joined: 11/06/06
Posts: 5333

I'm glad it went okay, but I think I'd avoid going shopping with her for baby things. It will be more enjoyable to either go alone or with your dh! LOL

HaganBaby's picture
Joined: 10/17/07
Posts: 334

Glad it went ok!

I feel your pain. I had a lovely facebook "discussion" about how insane I am because I made the comment that I don't feel babies can be spoiled by too much love. The friend of my friend said that they can be total manipulators at birth and I had to be careful. So I just said I would be very careful and not let Connor manipulate us into borrowing the car at 2 weeks. I was going to rant about maslow's hierarchy of needs, but decided to be a smart ***.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

Katie - I want that shirt!!!! Lol!

Ashley- I said just that to DH when I got home, haha. I told him to be prepared for baby shopping because I'm not going again with her!

Crissy - haha...I love how you handled that. Some people...yikes!!

turtnjay's picture
Joined: 02/24/09
Posts: 2095


in the end, just tell her you have done a lot of research and it's what you are comfortable with the choice you have made. If she's really your friend, she'll respect that and should drop it, especially if you ask her to.

I hope it gets easier as the pregnancy goes on rather than get harder.

JuneorJulyBaby?'s picture
Joined: 10/20/08
Posts: 2479

Glad the shopping trip went ok. I don't think the advice ever ends so good to practice on your smile and nod LOL