It seems like people love giving advice to new parents more than they love being around a newborn child. Forget hugs, kisses, and diaper changes. These armchair parenting experts are often more concerned with offering unwanted and outdated advice instead of trying to make the new parents' lives easier.
The moms and dads in the following stories know that feeling all too well, as they recently shared on a Reddit thread asking people to reveal the worst "advice" that's ever been thrown their way. All posts have been edited.
"This advice wasn't given to me, rather it was something we overheard while our daughter was in the NICU. The nurse was preparing another family to take their baby home and going over all the basics. But then she got to the seemingly obvious:
Nurse: 'Don't smoke in the house with the baby.' Followed by mumblings I couldn't make out from the guardian.
Nurse: 'Ok, well then don't smoke in the same room as the baby, especially while they are asleep.' More mumblings from the guardian
Nurse: 'Then absolutely do not allow those people to care for the baby while they are otherwise incapacitated.'
Seemed like a pretty sad situation, and I guess what appears obvious to some of us isn't that apparent to everyone."
"It was the middle of summer in the deep south, and blazing hot and humid. I needed lots of ice for a get together in the yard. We were making hand-cranked ice cream that evening, and would need several bags. I decided to walk the five blocks or so to the store to get ice, taking a wagon. It was REALLY hot, so I loaded the wagon with lots of blankets to wrap the ice in.
My 4-year-old daughter wanted to walk with me. On the way back, it was too hot, and she was too tired. I arranged a nice seat for her in the wagon with a couple of layers of blanket between her and the ice, an wrapped the blanket over her to keep the cool in/heat out.
So, I'm a young dad pulling his daughter along in a wagon in the blazing hot afternoon, wrapped in blankets.
A lady driving by stopped, rolled down her window, and spent well over a minute chewing me out that I was going to give her heat stroke, she didn't need to be bundled up, it was plenty warm, she was going to call CPS on me, I was a terrible father who did not deserve that sweet, uncomplaining thing.
'She's sitting on 40 pounds of ice.'
'She's sitting on 40 pounds of ice. The blankets keep out the heat. She's fine.'
'Oh. Never mind.'
The busy body just drove away."
"When my wife had our second kid, we knew nursing would be impossible. The first kid had such a hard time, it depressed my wife, she got mastitis a bunch of times, and the kid was miserable. He just couldn't or wouldn't latch. It was a trying ordeal and she felt like a failure. When we switched to formula, everybody was so happy - mom and the baby.
Our second kid comes along and they will NOT. STOP. PRESSURING. HER.
'Just keep trying, eventually he'll get it.'
After a few days of this all starting over again, I had to basically yell at the nurse about it and how it wasn't going to work and we were switching to a pump/formula mix. I know it's their job. But when we're telling you about how awful it was, just give it a rest.
Also my wife had the baby in my house in an emergency birth (just us!!!). When she got to the hospital, they let her shower alone and she passed out and cut her head open. I almost sued this hospital for gross negligence... unfortunately, that was only the first of many issues with this place.
A piece of me died that day cleaning it up."
"When my son was a newborn, he had reflux and milk sensitivity. He was miserable and spitting up all the time and I was at my wits' end. I had milk production issues, too, so he was a bottle baby from pretty much day one, and we were in and out of the pediatrician's office trying to find a formula that sat well with his sensitive tummy.
My mom's now ex-husband was an anti-vaxxer, naturopath, closet scientologist and just had all the answers, of course. First, it was my fault for not nursing. He would cluck at me for not trying hard enough as if I just threw my hands up and quit the first time it was difficult. Made me feel great, lemme tell you. Then he suggested I give my son herbal supplements, then told me to feed him raw cow's milk.
Let that sink in for a minute. Newborn human baby. Raw cow's milk.
Babies shouldn't even have pasteurized cow's milk before one year of age, much less the bacteria soup that is raw milk. That can literally kill babies.
Side note- my son did well on soy formula and grew out of the reflux after a few months. He's 13 months old and perfectly healthy now, no thanks to any terrible advice.
He just got his one-year shots this week in fact."
"I don't know if it's unnecessary so much as it is useless, but my boyfriend's mom keeps telling me to give my 2-month-old a bottle of warm water to soothe her tummy/cure hiccups, but that's not a thing anymore, and I don't know how to tell her her advice is outdated.
She's coming to visit for the first time in a couple of days and she wants to babysit for me while she's here and it's stressing me out. Not that like, a bottle of water is going to hurt my baby or that she'd do anything bad or anything, it's just...she's old school and my baby is very modern.
My baby doesn't need the fluids, it's just going to interfere with her feeding schedule at the best. It's not recommended for a reason."
"I’m a dad but my dad actually made a really dumb comment one time then realized what he said after a few minutes. He always made comments about the pacifier like, 'Oh one of those things,' or 'What do you need that for, your mother just used her finger.'
One day, while getting ready to leave their house, I was loading our kid into the car seat when he looked at me and did his little scoff and said, 'Huh, those things are no good.'
I looked at him insanely confused and said, 'The car seat man....really?'
He looked back at me and started laughing and said, 'I don't know, kid, I had a brain fart there definitely use that.'
The worst and most useless advice I’ve gotten was a lady telling my wife that in order to change the gender of our baby to a boy while my wife was six-months pregnant was to drink a two-liter bottle of Coca Cola every single day. She randomly stopped us in the store to tell us this because 'it worked for her.'"
"I'm 32 and I am done with advice.
'Oh, you're tired now? just you wait.' I'm not allowed to be tired? I am growing a human.
'Sleep when the baby sleeps.' Thanks, I will also do laundry when the baby does laundry.
'Don't vaccinate your kid or vaccinate your kid or blah blah blah.'
'Nursing is best.' How about fed is best? Not everyone can nurse.
My husband and I talk about in two years or so leaving our daughter with my mother-in-law for a week and going on a vacation together, totally based on her adjustment and how she is. If it doesn't seem doable, we won't. But people like...laugh at me for saying that. My husband works full-time, I'm going to be a stay at home mom, but I'm in school, and I don't think a 2-year-old would enjoy a cruise.
Also, the craziest one is, 'Get rid of anything pretty you have sitting around.' Again, thanks. I'm very aware babies grab everything and my house is going to look like a giant play room for a few years. I don't really have to do that until she's y'know...mobile."
"‘Just let him cry, he’ll be okay, it’s good for them to cry.'
Yeah okay, I can understand a little whinging and nothing’s wrong, he’s fed, clean diaper, I’ll let him go until I’m finished the dishes. But I’ve been told to leave him in his cot and walk away and he will eventually cry himself to sleep.
I never want my baby to feel alone, or crying because he wants me and he’s so exhausted from crying that he falls asleep?
I know a lot of people do this, but I just can’t, and I will pick him up if he’s crying and have had people say to just leave him he will get clingy! He’s been clingy since birth, what he will get is plenty of love and cuddles and reassurance that I will always be there when he needs me.
I didn’t have a baby to leave him cry alone in his cot, and I believe me ‘coddling’ him while he’s still a baby (3 months old in 2 days) will benefit him a lot psychologically in his future, mental health wise."
"My daughter was a biter. Me, kids in daycare...if you got in her space and annoyed her, she was going to show you how that was a mistake.
Do you have any idea how many people wanted me to bite her to teach her a lesson? And with this kind of gleeful wrath, too. I swear, it seemed like some kind of sting for Child Protective Services, encouraging me to deliberately harm a baby.
I had to repeatedly sign reports at daycare acknowledging she bit someone. One day, they brought me a report and I sighed, regretting my chompy kid. They said, no, another kid bit her! I replied, 'Good, she deserved it!' Without even asking if she was okay. I then felt like a truly bad mother. They laughed and said the other mom was all upset, but they told her I'd say that.
Daycare eventually put in protection measures. She was only allowed in a single stroller. No doubles, no wagon. She needed to be alone. She wasn't allowed to share toys. They would move her away after any aggression and tell her 'we don't hurt our friends!'
If she bit me (nursing), I'd yell like a puppy being hurt. It'd startle her. Then, I'd say 'You hurt Mommy!' And put her down for a bit. I'd remind her to be gentle. If she bit the dogs, I'd move her aside and lavish them with care, making sure she was watching.
She bit longer at day care (she was the smallest and needed to establish her cred in the baby gang, we'd joke), on sand off for what seemed like a year, but was probably four months or so. No more biting parents within a week, and probably a month or so for the dogs, mainly because after a couple times, they kept their distance."
"I had a moment when my son was a few weeks old where he just would NOT stop crying. He was fed and wouldn’t eat anymore, he had a clean diaper, tried different outfits so that he’d be comfy, tried to get him to sleep, play, everything. NOTHING was working.
So for my own sanity, after checking again that he was okay, I laid him in his crib and left the room for 10-15 minutes just to breath. He fell asleep within 5 minutes. My mother-in-law was HORRIFIED that I left him alone. She kept saying he was too young and if he was crying, he needed something and I was going to give him an abandonment complex. Like, he fell asleep. He obviously just wanted some peace and quiet.
She also insisted that he was starving once when he was crying RIGHT after she saw me feed him. After 10 minutes of her telling me non stop that he’s hungry while I’m trying to get my screaming baby to sleep, I broke down crying and handed him to her. She tried to feed him formula and he spit it up all over her. After she handed him back to me so she could change, he fell asleep.
At least she hasn’t done it since, though."
"I'm not a mom, but this is what my grandma said to my mom when I was a baby (she was a new mom). She likes telling this story to me to answer why her mom never babysat me.
Grandma was looking after me and I wouldn't stop crying (according to my mom I cried a lot as a baby). When my grandma called, she asked my mom, 'Where is your baby aspirin; he won't stop crying.'
Obviously, my mom was not going to let a little baby take aspirin. Grandma pulled the excuse of, 'Well, I gave it to you and you turned out ok.'
My grandma was told to just leave me in a crib and go outside and take a walk. Since my mom was coming home, she decided that I would be fine until then and wanted to make sure my grandma didn't stuff pills down a baby's throat, so take a walk outside was to calm her down.
Let's just say my grandma never babysat me alone again."
"I'm not the mother, but advice was given to her. Our daughter slept really well the first few days after coming home. Like five-hour blocks overnight. My wife was trying to nurse but struggling. The midwife gave her a bollocking for leaving the baby too long between feeds and told her to wake every three hours for a feed.
Our baby screamed for hours after being woken up. The baby decided three hours was the right amount of uninterrupted sleep for the next two years. Needless to say, we didn't follow the same advice for baby two and he slept amazingly well.
Some good advice I actually got was 'it doesn't last forever.' The struggling does stop and the sleep comes back eventually. If you have to bring your son into your bed then do what you need to do and ignore the 'making a rod for your own back comments.' Listening to them scream the house down at 3 am just stresses everyone out.
He will only be a baby for a small time. We stuck with the routine even when it seemed pointless. My daughter is fantastic at sleeping now. Kiddo number two went through a few months of sleep regression when teething and sticking to routine helped after that."
"My son was four weeks old when Hurricane Irma hit. We had my husband's uncle and grandma stay with us because their place had been evacuated.
My son was cluster-feeding at the time which is when babies basically want to nurse nonstop. In between nursing, he’d cry and cry.
My husband’s uncle is gay, single, has no children, and is in his 60s, but he thinks he’s an authority on every subject ever. He asked me how I knew my son was getting enough milk because he 'knew a girl who didn’t know how much milk the baby was getting and had to stop.' He was basically advising me to consider formula.
I told him I knew by the amount of wet diapers my baby was producing and the fact that he was gaining well at his appointments and tried to shrug him off. But yeah...I didn’t really need to explain myself there."
"My husband is the oldest of five boys. His first two children (one with the ex and one with me) were both girls, so when everyone found out I was pregnant with a boy, I swear, everyday I heard, 'Boys are so much easier!'
My boy is now 13 months old and I can say without a doubt, those people are full of it. When it was just me and my little girl, it was like we were best friends and I just happen to wipe her butt. The first 10 months of my boy's life was an absolute nightmare. I’m never having children again and I can’t imagine having five, and my baby was healthy too, no medical issues at all, just a sensitive, daddy’s boy with an extreme case of stranger danger.
Not to mention, my husband's family was very conservative and did not support public nursing. If I tried to do it in the living room, the whole family would get up and leave. But fear not! There is light at the end of the tunnel! He’s a lot more mobile and happy now! But some times I have flashbacks or bad dreams/memories of how rough newborn life was. Gender has nothing to do with the ease of the baby!"
"'You're going to have to put that baby down eventually.'
Like, no I don't, random lady behind me at the grocery store. To this day, I have no idea what prompted this woman to pipe up.
Like, yes I was holding my infant daughter while trying to pay for groceries but we didn't have an infant car seat. I didn't have a carrier or a stroller. What else am I supposed to do, Karen? Lay her down on the floor? Just chill while I fish out my debit card - your total wait time has probably only increased by a whopping 15 seconds.
I have gotten oodles of unsolicited advice but this one will always take the cake for me. Probably because I had just had my baby. I was dog tired. Still healing physically. Totally unsure of myself. And this lady just made my first solo trip feel so much worse than it needed to."
"My mother-in-law 'showed' me how to put clothes on my baby, at 6 weeks old. When I’d already been dressing her, several times a day, since the day she was born. And I’ve worked in nurseries. In the baby room. Where I constantly had to change babies’ clothes.
'I started giving you solids at 12 weeks.'
Yes, and I have food intolerances and severe IBS.
(At 4 months old) 'Just give her some food, she’ll sleep better because she’ll be full.'
Now she’s almost 7 months and regularly eating solids, can confirm she sleeps no better.
'Don’t let her sleep so much through the day, she’ll sleep better at night because she’ll be tired.'
Have you ever tried to get an overtired baby to sleep? Baby misses nap time, bedtime is a war zone.
'She won’t be able to eat that! Babies can’t handle proper food, they need purées.'
My 6-month-old child: [picks up and eats roast chicken, broccoli and Yorkshire pudding]."
"My sister-in-law is the new mother and my mother-in-law said some beauties which her daughter, who is a nurse, shot down.
The one I remember is, 'Sometimes, they're not hungry but they think they are so give them a bottle of warm water.' My sister-in-law proceeded to explain that's actually dangerous because a baby's kidneys are too small to process so much water and it can harm them, also if the baby thinks it's hungry, it probably is. We live with my partner's parents at the moment and I swear I didn't hear the end of this encounter for at least a month.
Any time, my sister-in-law points out education has shown something not to be the case as thought when her mom had children it is responded to by, 'That's what we did and you're all alive still!' I don't understand that response, medical research progresses and it's for our benefit. Just because your children survived doesn't mean that makes it the correct thing to do."
"I was at a friend's kid's first birthday a few weeks ago. About 10 or 12 of the mum's friends are sitting in the kitchen, where all the food and drinks are set up, and where I head immediately after arriving.
Suddenly, one of the mums starts freaking out and crying because her little girl has gone floppy and unresponsive. She suddenly has a dozen women crowding round her panicking and calling ambulances, so I sort of stay in the background because adding to the crowd and panic won't help anyone.
Very quickly, one of the mums takes a digital thermometer out of her bag and takes the baby's temperature. It's some crazy reading 107 Fahrenheit. I know that babies can't regulate their temperature properly, and the child is overheating. I open the backdoor, wet a load of kitchen towels, push through the crowd, and start pulling the kid's clothes off and start laying the wet towels on her skin.
All the while, I have a dozen angry mums screaming - SCREAMING - at me to stop because I'm going to give the kid pneumonia.
I'm not a mum. I don't butt in on mum business. But I do have a lot of childcare experience (nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren) and - thank God - I know what I'm doing is right. As they're trying to close the door and pull the wet towels off her, I'm having to reopen it and reapply them. They don't stop until someone who knows child first aid comes in and shouts at them all that I'm right.
An ambulance came really quickly and it was confirmed the kid had had a seizure from overheating. She's fine. But believe me when I say I needed a strong drink after that."