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No Thanks, I Don't Need Your Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Hey bud, how about minding your own business?

Tomorrow, I'll be a dad for six weeks. Yep, you read that right: the first six weeks have passed! And my, what a ride it was. I went from "who's that weird little creature in my home" to "bottle-feeding my baby is pure gold." I learned how to change her nappies, how to bathe her, how to change her clothes without her crying as if I'm torturing her... The list goes on and on. Truly, I haven't learned so much in a such a short period in my entire life.

Thankfully, The Wife and I didn't have to discover everything on our own. Her eldest sister stayed with us the first week. Her boy is nine years old, so she taught us how to feed our little one, clean her, change her diaper, and, well, everything else you need to know to get your baby past the first week. Oh, and she took care of the first night shift (from 10 p.m. till 3:30 a.m.), thereby enabling us to actually sleep.  

In the weeks since we have -- of course -- also asked friends, relatives, and others for advice and feedback. Last week, my own parents came over for six days. They too taught us a lot. As a result, I'm now more or less convinced that we can do this. That may sound strange to those without kids, but let me tell you, once the baby is actually born you suddenly realize you know nothing, John Snow.


As a result, you start doubting yourself, your partner, and Mother Nature herself. After all, why in the world didn't she give you all the knowledge and skills you need? Well, although there's still very much we don't know, we now at least have a basic concept of how to proceed. That's something.

So we were supported by a great many people, who all helped us out a lot. Thank you, all of you. We love you and couldn't have done this without you. Literally. We couldn't have.

That being said, I've got this minor issue with unsolicited advice. You see, getting advice when you ask for it from people you trust is great. But getting advice from folks you barely know -- or don't know at all -- and don't trust even a bit? It's the worst. I never thought it possible, but I've discovered that once you have a baby, everybody and their dog a) think they know how you should raise your child and b) is extremely eager to share their 'knowledge' with you. Whether you want it or not.

For instance, the doctor told us that we could give our baby a pacifier once she was a month old. Since she's sucking everything in sight, that's what we did. But what happened when we went to a local restaurant for dinner? Some guy I didn't know walked up to me and told me that we were doing it all wrong. "Doctors don't advise you to give your baby a pacifier at this age. You should take it out. It's not good for her."