Sometimes you don’t need a village: Navigating well-meaning advice from loved ones

Sometimes you don’t need a village: Navigating well-meaning advice from loved ones

Hello Night Feeders!


Remember, even in the smallest hours and the darkest nights, we’re all in this together.


Handling advice on caring for your newborn can be a bit of a juggling act - it's like the whole world has an opinion. Handling unsolicited advice from strangers in public can be a challenge, but when it comes from your own family, it feels like tiptoeing on eggshells to avoid any unintentional offence. Suddenly, you find yourself juggling the load of caring for your new child while also being mindful of your family's feelings. Although they may mean well, it can feel a little intrusive and overbearing. Balancing their well-intentioned tips with your parental instincts can be tricky, but don't worry, we've got some top tips to tackle unsolicited advice from your nearest and dearest.


Trust Your Parent Brain


First and foremost, trust your instincts. It’s important to be confident in your choices and be firm with your responses. The choices you make, whether rooted in your values, informed by thorough research, or a combination of both, are valid, and you deserve to stand by them. Openly disagreeing with someone, especially someone who you likely have a close relationship with, does not come naturally to most us (especially in the UK!) and it wouldn’t hurt to practice a few responses to yourself, in the mirror, or even with a partner. Seems awkward at first, but will boost your confidence immeasurably when it comes to speaking your mind.


Take a Deep Breath, Listen, and Be Kind


Firstly, take a deep breath and remember you are a superstar. You wouldn’t be reading this blog on parenting advice if you weren’t. Any criticism or perceived judgment coming your way is insignificant in comparison to the incredible job you're doing. Even with the most irritating in-laws or the most self-righteous siblings, it’s good to remember that most of the time, people giving advice genuinely believe they're offering help. Pause, take a deep breath, and try to give your full attention to the person offering advice. Even if you opt not to follow their advice, embracing an open-minded approach can be valuable.


You Don’t Have to Reinvent the Wheel


Being open-minded could even reveal some wonderful parenting tips. It's perfectly natural to feel judged or patronised when someone contradicts your ideas, especially when it comes to your family, however, it's important to keep in mind that not all suggestions are bad. As a new parent, there's no need to reinvent the wheel, and some people you know are genuinely fantastic parents. If they've shared some great ideas, consider embracing them! And definitely don’t feel bad about taking one person’s advice over another’s. Ultimately, this is about ensuring your baby's well-being, and nothing else.


Pick Your Battles


But look, these individuals are probably your family or in-laws—people you not only appreciate but are also likely to spend a significant amount of time with. You don’t want to hurt them! And let's face it, you might need a hand with the baby every now and then down the road, so it is a good option to pick your battles. For the little things, it’s okay to make concessions here and there for the sake of maintaining a relationship with your child’s grandparents or other close family. But it is important to remember that your parenting style is entirely your call, all that matters is your little one’s health and happiness. 


Navigating the sea of parenting advice can be a challenge, but we have to remember as parents, our primary responsibility is to our children. When you get bombarded with unsolicited ‘help’, take a deep breath, maintain an open mind, trust your instincts, and choose your battles wisely. Keeping these four principles in mind will not only help you handle the influx of advice but empower you to create the best possible environment for you and your newborn.


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this blog post on the Night Feed. If you have any other tips for dealing with unsolicited parenting advice, please join the conversation here on the Facebook page!

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