giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from LowellwTwins. Show LowellwTwins's posts

    giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I'm still puzzling over an encounter I had yesterday at the mall and I'm wondering what other moms out there would have done.

    I saw a woman with a really teeny tiny baby slumped over nearly sideways in an umbrella-style stroller. As we passed each other, I smiled and congratulated her on her new little one. She said he was 2 weeks old! The baby was typical newborn size and I was kind of alarmed there was no sort of infant insert or head support for the little guy. He was clearly too small for that style of seat and obviously couldn't sit upright at that young age. Doesn't that pose a breathing risk? Should I have said something?

    She has quite a few bags hanging on the handles, so it wasn't a quick dash in for something. 

    I can't believe how judgemental/critical I am feeling, but I'm still puzzled if I should have just chanced offending her and said something in a friendly way....

    As a mom of 5 month olds, I know firsthand it can be annoying when strangers comment, poke, offer advice (it happens to me all the time), but I know people are doing it to be nice so I try not to let get to me. This is the first time I found myself on "the other side of the stroller."
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    If my baby was in danger of dying I would want to be told. I would not be offended. I welcomed helpful advice.

    And if someone warned me about something and I thought they were being an idiot -- which happened often enough -- I would give them a smile and nod and move on. I'd probably forget about it pretty quickly.

    So I would say to go ahead and mention it. Just be nice.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from marriedmom. Show marriedmom's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Tough one.

    I think the best I could come up with in that situation would be something along the lines of "when my LO was tiny we found that a rolled receiving blanket really helped prop him up while he was still to liitle to be upright" - she's either going to get the clue that he's not positioned properly or not. I think people can be resistant to suggestions if they feel like they're being told they're doing something wrong per se, but giving little "mom tips" often feels friendlier.

    I would guess a baby that small would be all slouched over toward a side, but unless his head was leaning forward so that he couldn't breathe, I wouldn't be too worried. But if it really was and you were worried about his safety, it is always ok to try to help!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    A 2-week-old baby isn't supposed to be in an umbrella stroller at all. They're supposed to stay reclined, at least partially, at that age.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Yet another reason the gene pool needs a life guard!

    I was at a beach once when a 5 yo was putting sand in her ear! I spoke up so her parent's would stop her from doing both ears.....that had to be a mess to clean out.................
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from purplecow89. Show purplecow89's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    If you really believe something is seriously unsafe, and you think the comment would help, and you are being extra polite, no harm done trying.  But save it for something important, that has a clear "right answer" or "best practice," more than just thinking you have a better idea.  Car seat in backwards?  Toddler has grabbed a produce baggie and is about to put it over his head?  Yes.  Telling someone their kid ought to have a hat on?  No. 

    It's really the same kind of common sense and courtesy we ought to have about non-parent topics, but parenting comes with so much baggage it's hard to tell if we're doing the right thing because no matter what you do, there's someone telling you to do something else!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Excellent post, purplecow!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from LowellwTwins. Show LowellwTwins's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. 

    As a first time parent I feel like we're all just trying to figure out what's best. And maybe there are times when it might be worthwhile to at least share my knowledge in a kind way. I guess I'm still trying to gain the confidence that I actually do know something about this motherhood thing! (I should just look at my healthy little boys and trust I must be doing something right.) 

    If some stranger offered constructive criticism on something I was doing, it would certainly at least make me research the comment. 

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Something like that IS a tough call!  I don't know what I would have done, but I do agree that it would be worth saying something if you have the guts.

    I struggle with when to share information myself.  For example, DD is 10 weeks older than her cousin and I tend to do more reading and research, so I have shared info with my brother and SIL preemptively... But I've found that they really don't listen anyway, so I haven't done it in a while.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from MM379. Show MM379's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Lowell, I think it would have been ok to say something, really sweetly and politely.  The other thing that caught my attention with your post is the shopping bags on the handles - those could easily outweigh a newborn and flip the stroller.  I'm not sure how you could have phrased it but to say - "I totally love how simple those umbrella strollers are - great for quick trips.  Hope you don't think I'm being a nosey nancy, but you might find the snap-n-go kind provide a bit more support and feel a little more safe and secure since little ones that age typeically need to be reclined since they can't hold their necks up.  I've seen them on craigslist for $.  They are great b/c they use the carseat and the LO can snooze away without even knowing s/he is being moved.  I also felt they provided a little more stability for all my gear and shopping items, since the carseat is heavy and weighs the carriage down a bit more than my little baby did.  Yours definitely is a cutie by the way!"   
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I was thinking the same thing as MM, I actually am getting rid of my snap and go stroller and wish I was there to say "take it, it's so much safer - and look, lots of storage on the bottom!"

    But I know what you mean, I don't know if I could have brought myself to say something, but it would be on my mind for a long time afterwards.
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Frankly I don't think unsolicited advice works.  Anyone who is stupid enought to take a tiny baby out in an umbrella stroller and hang bags on the back isn't going to listen to you.
    It's like these people on the news who keep "losing" their kids in the middle of the night.
    "I put her down and drank myself silly and the next morning she was gone!"  Riiiiight.

    I have a friend who went to Bertucci's with her husband and their 3 month old.  Somone called the cops on them because they both ordered a glass of wine and this other customer wanted to know how that poor baby was going to safely get home!
    They were absolutely mortified - and so was the restaurant manager.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    OMG Lily that is insane!!!!

    I agree that some people probably do know certain information and have chosen to ignore it, but I think it's worth it to speak up when something is truly unsafe.

    I was recently at a CVS (with very cramped aisles I might add) and walked to the front of the stroller to grab something.  An older lady came over and said DD was so cute, "But don't ever walk away from the stroller.  If I was a crazy person I could have stolen her!"  I was literally directly in front of the stroller.  Go ahead lady, try and get out of this cramped store without me catching you!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from LilSprout. Show LilSprout's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Fram - I had a similar thought last night when I got off the T.  I realized my bag had been wide open and behind me (the b-pump was in front on the same shoulder) and I thought that someone could have snatched my wallet.  Then I thought - you deserve my wallet if you can dig into the depths of my purse and find my wallet without my knowing!  I can search for 5 minutes and still have a hard time! 

    (I realize this post had nothing to do with unsolicited advice...but in that particular scenario, I might have also said something similar to marriedmom.)
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    The only reason not to comment is to save yourself from getting a dirty look or other uncomfortable reaction.  The only reason to comment is to potentially save the baby's life.  Seems like an easier choice to me than you've made it.  

    She can ignore your advice, yell, flip you the bird, whatever.  You'll never see her again in your life and at least you can face yourself in the mirror - you have to see THAT person every day.

    ETA:  I would have said, "You might know this, but a baby that age might not be able to breath in that position and isn't strong enough to do anything about it or let you know he's in trouble."  If she were to have a bird that I dared say that, I could live with it.
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from poppy609. Show poppy609's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I like the example Kar gave about what to say.  Matter-of-fact.  I think in this scenario I wouldn't have been able to quickly enough find the right words.  I would have had to stalk her through the mall until figuring out how to say something.
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    A combo of MM's and Kar's could be nice.  (1) get into friendly conversation.  (2) offer information in a "Did you know...??" format.  (3) Act like it's really amazing and you only recently found out ("I didn't know either until someone told me when my LO was four weeks!!  I was super surprised that babies shouldn't use cleavers.").  (4) give a concrete/easy solution (e.g. snap and go on craigslist).  (5) finish with more compliments about their fabulous baby.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from MichelleandtheBoys. Show MichelleandtheBoys's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    Misslily took the words right out of my mouth!  If someone is stupid enough to do that, I am 99% sure they'd just ignore you or laugh you off. 

    A good friend of mine does all kinds of ridiculous things with her baby. She would totally use an umbrella stroller like that and when I told her it was unsafe she'd say, "I love you but you're so neurotic".  It's happened many times.  The only thing I've mentioned to people who aren't close friends is improper use of car seats. It drives me nuts. I've told several people they shouldn't turn their seats around early and they say, "she doesn't like facing backwards."  To others I've mentioned nicely that the straps shouldn't be so loose with the chest clip down at the waist so they can take their arms in and out and they just shrug or say the kid doesn't like it tight.  Oh okay, hope you don't get in an accident.

    The Bertucci's story is too much though! OMG, that is unreal.  I'm glad that hasn't happened to me.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from lemonmelon. Show lemonmelon's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I think it's important to remember that not everybody has the same level of support and instruction. I read up on babies and asked all my friends, and that's how I knew that little babies are supposed to be reclined and their heads supported. I see women on this forum all the time asking about the appropriate age for jogging strollers, for instance. It's not like you're born knowing this stuff. It's very complicated and if nobody tells you then how will you know? We realized at the hospital that we had no idea how to get our baby into the car seat -- the nurse had to show us how to loosen and tighten the straps. And I showed my pediatrician a bunch of different baby carriers and she warned me off that infantino one that ended up killing a bunch of babies. If I didn't have an awesome pediatrician who knew about babywearing, what would have happened?

    I really think that kar's example is best -- be straightforward and honest, don't try some song-and-dance because it will probably come off as condescending. And I agree that it's better to say your mind and have her dismiss it than not say anything because it would cause awkwardness with someone you'll never see again.

    Okay, here's a good example. My sister was at traffic court (falsely accused!) fighting a speeding ticket, and she had my nephew with her. A woman next to her commented that my nephew was too old for a binky, and my sister, annoyed, replied that if he didn't have the binky he'd chew his lips and fingers until they bled. The woman said that my sister should have him checked for Sensory Integrative Dysfunction, and gave her the number for Early Intervention. It turned out that what everyone thought was severe behavioral issues was actually a sensory issue, and after a few months of therapy my nephew started to turn into a totally different kid instead of a screaming demon child. If that woman hadn't said what was on her mind, my nephew would probably be in a juvenile detention center now. Instead he's at the top of his class and was given a Good Citizen award by his entire grade last year. Happy ending.
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from LowellwTwins. Show LowellwTwins's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    In Response to Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?:
    [QUOTE]I like the example Kar gave about what to say.  Matter-of-fact.  I think in this scenario I wouldn't have been able to quickly enough find the right words.  I would have had to stalk her through the mall until figuring out how to say something.
    Posted by poppy609[/QUOTE]

    HA! poppy609, so true. that's exactly what I would need to do too!

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from atigias. Show atigias's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I went to a baby shower once. Moms with young kids were advising the new mom-to-be and were griping about how 'people never shut up' and how people always give advice...and how annoying it is, and blah blah blah blah blah.  Already cuing the new mom-to-be towards being annoyed with anyone who has anything to offer. Really put me off from saying anything to new moms in scenarios such as the above. We are in the age where saying anything to anyone is considered an intrusion. Sad, isn't it? 
    So I can see why you would have been hesitant to say anything to the woman with the too-young baby in the stroller. 
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I can see it, too.  I'd be uncomfortable to say anything for SURE. But, for matters of life and death, like this one, we have to remember that we'll never see that person, again, and if we get a dirty look, so what.  And, absolutely, it is sad that for saying something that could save a baby's LIFE you might, and probably will, get a dirty look and a snide response.
     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from luvRIboy. Show luvRIboy's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I remember the first time I met my nephew...he was about 2 weeks old.  His grandmother (other side) was a nanny and knew EVERYTHING about kids (in her own mind).  At 2 weeks she told her daughter to make sure not to hold him too much so he wouldn't be spoiled...as she's telling me this, he's in the swing, swinging away with his head bobbing to the side.  So I said, "well as long as I'm visiting, he's going to be held!", went to the swing, pulled him out and held him, talking to him, interracting, and modeling some good behavior.  Sure, if a baby's fussy, the swing is great.  Sure, if you're trying to make dinner or do something else, the swing is great.  When there are 6 adults in the room, staring at the kid, someone should be holding him!!! 

    My SIL thanked me later for standing up to her mom...she said after that, she started to trust herself and her own instincts (which were to hold him) more. 

    I got some dirty looks from her mom, but I didn't care.  :)  I kind of take the position that it is all of our jobs to help parents....and I'd want someone else to do the same for me!
     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from sweetlime. Show sweetlime's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    I was inthe checkout line at a warehouse store when the woman in front of me started hitting her child for what reason I am not sure.  The child might have been two or three, and was wailing as she was being struck. I couldn't help myself, and I suggested she use words not fists, and she screamed at me to mind my own business.  Noone else said anything as she continued to hit her child. Was I wrong to say something, or should I have "minded my own business?"
     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from ml2620-2. Show ml2620-2's posts

    Re: giving unsolicited advice - what would you do?

    sweetlime, I'd be tempted to call the police, or follow her out to her car, take down the license plate number and call DSS. It shocks me that the store did not intervene. Where is a child that small even supposed to go for comfort after that?

    I know it's hard being a mom, but so much abuse, physical and verbal is not the child's problem so much as the parent having a bad moment.
     
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