You’d have to be sleeping like a baby (jk, which babies are sleeping?) to miss the news about the formula shortage in this country. But while this crisis du jour is yet another blow to parents, unsolicited advice about how to feed your baby isn’t new. No matter what our feeding choices look like, a lot of us receive unwanted parenting advice. Consider it one of the experiences to file away next to “unsolicited advice about naming your baby” and “unsolicited advice about making mom friends.”
(And when your kid is older, you can look forward to “unsolicited advice about discipline” and “unsolicited advice about potty training,” – but I digress.)
So whatever your mojo is – whether you’re formula feeding from day one, breastfeeding until year three, or some combination of any options in between – expect some unsolicited advice from parents. Some are well intentioned, and some are just people on high horses looking to be all judgy because their path to raising babies looks different than yours. Judgers gonna judge. That doesn’t mean you can’t have your own snappy comeback.
So here are the best five ways to respond to unwanted parenting advice on the choices you make for feeding your kids.
Or (another option):
1. “I’m so glad that option worked for you.” A lot of unsolicited advice is parents sharing their own stories. Sometimes this is just a way to make conversation, other times it’s a cry for validation. Whatever it is, just because it worked for one family doesn’t mean it has to work for you.
2. “We’re actually glad with our decision.” Full stop. Any well-intentioned advice giver should smile and move on after that.
3. “What works for us is going to look a little different.” No need to explain further unless you want to, but framing that your family decisions are different may keep additional comments at bay.
4. “Thanks.” A polite way to end the conversation, given with a resting b*tch face or a friendly smile, whichever you can muster the energy to present.
5. “No thanks.” Another polite way to do so.
Bottom line: how we feed our kids is a big decision, but it’s inherently personal. No explanation is needed, not even to the well-intentioned advice-givers out there. Because here is what just about all mamas need more of: support. What does support look like? It’s formula on shelves and breast pumps that are easy to use and lactation spaces to do comfortably so. Federal paid family leave and sick days for everyone, maternal and postpartum check ups that don’t end when the hospital stay is up.
Skip the explanations, save your energy for your baby. Because, no matter what you’re feeding them, in about two-to-three hours they will be hungry for more.
This article was originally published on Little Spoon’s parenting platform Is This Normal.