Hearing back that they have been heard is sometimes enough to stop the feedback in its tracks, all the while making the advice-giver feel heard, valued and respected.
4. When you say ____ it makes me feel _____. What I would like you to do instead is…
Sometimes, the advice giving just doesn’t stop. In these cases, I find it helpful to directly address how said comments are impacting you. It is likely that on hearing your strong negative emotional impact, after having tried all other techniques, the advice-giver will back off. You can further guide them by simply and concretely stating what you would like them to do instead.
Bonus Tip: Determine whose advice you should take anyway⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Are you finding that you are receiving lots of sleep advice about how YOU should put YOUR baby down for sweet dreams?
Here is whose advise you should take when it comes to your own way of putting your baby to sleep: in short, nobody’s.
Not even your partner’s. Your partner must figure out *their* way and hopefully be supportive of your way. Yes, totally okay to do it differently. The exception is, of course, unless you’ve hired someone specifically to advise you on sleep AND you find them supportive and helpful. It’s NOT enough to have hired them. Please fire them if they don’t make you feel confident in your own judgement or ever tell you to ignore your intuition.
Make the following assessment of the person giving you sleep advice using the following questions:
- Do they have a baby?
- Are they willing to step in to put down my baby?
- How many times have they successfully got my baby to sleep in baby’s life? In the past month? In the past week? Today?
- How much time have they spent getting to know my baby’s sleep patterns and cues?
- How much time have they spent with my baby in general?
- How much do they know about baby sleep? Heck, let’s make it easy – what do they know about sleep in general?
- Did I ask them for sleep advice? (this one is my personal favourite!)
Things to remember for when you doubt your own judgement or decisions
- There is no one who knows your baby better than… YOU!
- You are with your baby more than anyone and therefore you know what they need, when they need it (really, it’s not even a fair competition).
- You have mum intuition that no one else has. This is your special super power. You are in charge of communicating your baby’s needs to others and getting them met the way that feels right and good and authentic to you.
Do what works for you and your baby, change what doesn’t.
When it comes to other caregivers – be clear on your non-negotiables but otherwise let them do their own thing, too. When it comes to advice by people who do not care for your baby, take what you find helpful, leave what you don’t. You don’t owe anyone an explanation other than yourself, your baby and your parenting partner.
Valerie Groysman M.S.W.,R.S.W. is an experienced Registered Social Worker, Psychotherapist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She specialises in paediatric sleep, infant and young children’s social, emotional and behaviour (also known as mental health), attachment and parent-child relationships, as well as treating anxiety and relationship challenges in adults. Visit her website to find out more. Valerie is mum to one gentle, curious and adventurous toddler. When she is not supporting clients with sleep and connection, she enjoys training, learning and reading up on new knowledge, going to the movies, yoga and meditation, arts & crafts as well as outdoor activities with her family and friends.