Managing Unsolicited Advice

Leading up to your impending labor and delivery, and then once your sweet baby is out for the world to see, you will likely be pelted with unsolicited (and possible unwelcome) advice from all sides. Is there a way to manage it gracefully? 

Why does everyone have an opinion?

Let’s face it—everyone has an opinion about everything. And that includes your body, your baby, your parenting, and whether or not you should warm baby wipes before cleaning up poo. But consider, for just a moment, why they want to share advice with you about your pregnancy and upcoming motherhood: it’s probably because they care. Most people mean well, and they genuinely feel that they have some earth-shattering advice that will change your world for the better. 

How do I react?

Well, it depends on the situation, who’s advising you, and whether or not it’s actually usable advice. Here are a few guidelines: 

  • If a stranger offers random advice that you just don’t care anything about, then maybe you just smile and nod and be on your way. If they are rude, insulting or abusive, however, then feel free to tell them off or totally ignore them and walk away.

  • If a family member (or in-law) wants to advise you, it can get a bit trickier. In some cases, the advice might be outdated, and you could share with them (in a non-judgmental way) your doctor’s updated recommendations.

  • If you disagree with the advice, or you don’t feel it’s right for your family, it’s okay to thank them for their advice, and let them know that your own preferences might be different. If you truly value their opinions and support, you might even share a list of your favorite books and websites so they can better understand your viewpoints.

  • If you receive advice that doesn’t seem to be unsafe, outdated or medically incorrect, then it probably wouldn’t hurt to try it out. Who knows—maybe your mother-in-law really does have the ultimate cure for heartburn or sleepless nights while pregnant!

Read more on adapting to pregnancy in the third trimester.