The Bean Dip Strategy for “Helpful” Baby Advice

We all have at least one in our lives. For some people it is the in-laws. For other people it is their own parents. It might be friends, other relatives. . .it doesn’t really matter who it is. We all have at least one person in our lives who loves to offer unsolicited advice for our baby. Some of us probably even offer unsolicited advice for other people’s babies. But that’s a topic for another blog.

How do you deal with someone when they offer you advice that’s unhelpful? One situation that arose for us frequently was a dear friend who had the cure to my sleep deprivation. “Let him cry. The only way babies learn to sleep is to let them cry.” I’m sure that works for someone but that’s not what we wanted to do. So we didn’t to the dismay of this person.

However, it can be overwhelming to new moms when they get this onslaught of unwanted and often unhelpful advice. I call it the ‘bean dip’ strategy. I am borrowing the phrase from one of my fellow home schooling moms but it works every time in dealing with unhelpful advice from someone near and dear to you.

How It Works

You can really insert anything and any situation into the following scenario. However, the following is a comment someone made to me and so we will use it as our example:

Not-so-charming friend: Wow, she’s 18 months. Aren’t you going to wean her already?

Me, serene and undaunted: Hmmmm. . .hadn’t thought about it. Would you like some chips?

Not-so-charming friend: Aren’t you afraid she’ll be attached to you?

Me, calm and contemplative: Hmmmmm. . .hadn’t thought about it. Would you like some bean dip to go with those chips?

Not-so-charming friend: Don’t you think that it’s unnatural to breastfeed for this long?

Me, with innocent look in my eyes: Nope. Are you sure you got enough bean dip there? Need a drink?

I say this to all you new moms out there: You were made to be a mother. You have instincts that will continue to develop as your baby gets older. You will not change your commenter’s mind by presenting your research or your feelings. Neither will you help yourself by getting offended. You are however, free to smile, nod and offer some bean dip.

Related Articles:

Bringing Baby Home to Well Wishers

Giving and Taking Parenting Advice

Your Baby Isn’t Reading the Book