When you are a new mom, there seems to be no end to the advice that is thrown at you.
“Sleep when the baby sleeps.”
“Get the baby on a schedule.”
“A pacifier will ruin their teeth.”
As your child gets older, the advice changes into things about potty-training, car seats and preschools. It all gets to be too much. I know for myself, I just started nodding along with whoever the well-meaning person was and did what I thought was best. This is pretty simple to do with passing strangers or acquaintances.
But what do you do when the advice comes from family members?
This is a unique tightrope to walk as you try not to upset relatives while still doing things your own way. It can be quite a challenge. Not everything works for everyone. And sometimes, the advice or practices recommended are downright dangerous.
I recall a family gathering we were having at my in-law’s. My son was about 8 months old and I had put him in his highchair while I got his baby food out, etc. My mother-in-law proceeded to dump a bunch on grapes on his tray for him eat while he waited for me. Whole grapes are a terrible choking hazard, so I took them away. And I said, “Thanks for the thought with the grapes, but he is too young for them right now. He could choke and I have his food right here.”
A Few Ideas I Have Used Successfully…
- First, I suggest thanking the person for their input. This can be hard to do sometimes, especially when the suggestion is particularly outrageous. But is better for family ties than screaming “Are you insane?!” (Which can be very tempting.)
- If you get push back (example “that’s how we always used to do it”), you can say something like, “I know but my pediatrician recommends this instead.” Usually, if what you are doing is sanctioned by your doctor, people will leave it alone.
- Assure the person that you have things under control (even if you don’t).
- No matter what, be prepared to stand your ground.
What have you tried that worked well for you?