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Why Do Babies Attract Unsolicited Advice?

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz: Ever since I had a baby, I have received my share of unsolicited advice. People approach me to tell me what to do and what not to do. It's amazing how unabashed they are. "You use one of those?" (in regards to a pacifier). "You shouldn't drink caffeine while you breastfeed" (while I drank an iced tea -- and was no longer breastfeeding). "You shouldn't paint your nails while pregnant. You're using bumpers. Your baby's wearing orange, and girls wear pink." I have heard it all.

baby smiling
Similarly, everyone feels like they can approach you and your baby and physically touch you both. It is like they forget your baby is a person. Would you want some stranger randomly pinching your cheeks (the ones on your face, or the other ones)?

And so of course I felt bad when I saw a woman who was 36 weeks pregnant at the OB office. She was there because her baby was already eight pounds and she might have to deliver early via C-section. Two other woman in the waiting room immediately told her to avoid a C-section at all costs. One continued, "I had a nine-pounder naturally. It's easy." This poor woman was terrified enough at the idea of having her first child before these women felt the need to impose their views. And she hadn't asked their opinion. They just felt they had the right to tell her how to have her baby, because they'd had babies of their own.

It's such an odd phenomenon. Would you go up to a fat person eating an ice cream sundae and tell them they should diet, explaining the dangers of obesity and high cholesterol? Or go up to a smoker and tell them to quit smoking? Probably not -- and if you did, they would tell you it was none of your business.

It's not really appropriate to butt in. But for some reason, a baby is like a license that gives strangers the right to judge and advise. As if it isn't hard enough to be a mom without someone telling you how to do it!

next: Newsflash: I'm Not a 'Christian Hypocrite'
28 comments so far | Post a comment now
Celina December 5, 2010, 4:18 PM

I completely agree!!!!

Jennifer December 5, 2010, 4:40 PM

I couldn’t agree more!

KS December 5, 2010, 5:12 PM

While I understand the sentiment many women have come before us and we should all share our knowledge. I don’t get the whole pacifier thing or what color to put on a baby but honestly the advice to avoid a c section was very good advice.

Yes it can be annoying but women for some reason have this need to fill new mothers in on the knowledge they have earned the hard way.

ss December 6, 2010, 11:47 AM

Amen! It’s so incredibly rude and annoying! It’s one thing if I ask another mother for advice or opinions and quite another if they just push their opinions on me.

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I was 55 when we adopted a baby. First, everyone thought we were absolutely crazy. Next, everyone called us her grandparents. The looks we got when they found out we were the parents!! The ones that were the most obnoxious we led to believe I delivered her! Anyway. the unsolicited advice from the family was amazing. We listened to it and then decided what WE wanted to do. It made a rift in the family, but she is a very intelligent, beautiful child.

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