Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Beware the Know It Alls: How to Handle Unsolicited Baby Advice

Unwanted baby advice from family, friends, and strangers -- why so many people give it and how to deal with it gracefully.


Try dealing with twice the advice.

Shari Schmidt, of Palos Hills, Ill., has twins, now 4 years old. She's been "coached" on sleep schedules, matching outfits, baby food, and haircuts.

"My family was -- and still is -- horrified that the girls didn't like meat. My grandmother was worried their teeth wouldn't develop properly. My mother was worried it would stunt their growth," Schmidt, a marketing consultant, says. "Our pediatrician is OK with it, and so are we. Everyone else thinks it is a form of child abuse not to feed the girls Chicken McNuggets. I'm sure all parents receive lots of unwanted advice. But it seems to come at me like a tidal wave."

Why people offer unsolicited baby advice

So why do people feel so compelled to put their nose in your stroller?

"They are just trying to help because they love you," says Tracey Tarrant, a "work-at-home" mother who runs her own business, Your Virtual Round To-it, which provides administrative support for small businesses. Tarrant has four daughters -- aged 16, 12, 5 and 4 -- and has endured years of unsolicited baby advice.

But it's not all just love. Safety is another factor.

"As a pediatrician," says Jennifer Shu, MD, "I have to bite my tongue if I see something that may put a stranger's child at risk." Shu is an Atlanta pediatrician and mom. She is also co-author of Heading Home with Your Newborn and the newly released Food Fights. On the other hand, Shu does admit that, "I have been known to 'gently' advise people that their car seat straps really need to be a bit tighter."

And maybe all those people offering advice know something that could be helpful. Experts say, though, that many, many times the advisors simply have a need to have their own parenting style affirmed.

"I give advice on all aspects of infant feeding, including on how to react to unneeded advice," says Bridget Swinney, a registered dietician and author of Baby Bites, Eating Expectantly, and Health Food for Healthy Kids. "Some of the backhanded criticism I've noticed are comments like, 'You're not giving him cereal yet?' Or, 'Breastfeeding seems like so much trouble -- why don't you just give him a bottle instead?' Or 'I'm sure it won't hurt to give him just a little (fill in the blank).'"

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow