(Un)helpful Advice

Sometimes you get advice from others which is really useless or just stupid. The amount of this unuseful advice you get might vary from person to person but everyone has received some BS suggestions already in their life at least once.

For us the amount increased drastically during the pregnancy of my wife and reached record-breaking numbers ever since our little boy was born. As you might guess, most of the unhelpful advice is coming from MIL and other Chinese relatives (granny, you are crazy!).


To spare you from a near endless list of crap (sorry) I decided to put up my favorites from the past months.


  • MIL to my wife: “You really don’t have enough milk, see, he is hungry, let me make you a great soup to increase milk production.” This coming after Nathan had once again too much milk which resulted in a milk fountain AND after my wife had once again a breast infection due to too much milk and baby not able to use it up each time….



Just enough for a hot summer day
  • MIL during a video chat: “Why is he wearing so less? He gets cold, put on something warm.” During a day in which we had 29°C/ ~84°F in the apartment. Now it is even warmer and we have to figure out ways to keep him cooled down (yay for apartments without AC!)


  • MIL after she got a video from us in which we tickle Nathan so much that he laughs non-stop: “Don’t do that, granny says that he will stay stupid if he laughs too much. Laughing babies will be stupid later!” – Really? Wow.


  • After Nathan was already nearly a week overdue Aunty had some great advice: “Go out, put a bucket full of snow and do squats holding the bucket in you hands. This will push the baby out.” – Needless to say my wife didn’t do it, could this be the reason that little fat Nathan was two weeks overdue in the end? Who knows…
WP_20140726_003 (2)
What, me fat? 我不 approve!
  • During my wife’s pregnancy some friends advised “Don’t put chilly in your food, the baby will get birth poisoning 胎毒” – She ended up eating the same as before and everything turned out fine.


  • My mom, yes my mother, about Nathan being fat. “Feed him less milk, instead give him baby tea to drink.” – Though I must admit that he is pretty damn round his weight is still below the average weight line for babies his age and size.




I could continue this list till my fingers would start bleeding typing more weirdness but I think you get the idea of useless advice we received.


What are your experiences with useless advice? There just must be something a great MIL advised you!



29 thoughts on “(Un)helpful Advice”

  1. It seems people, specially older women, love giving advice on pregnancy and babies! As I’ve never been pregnant I’ve only got the usual advice regarding my period (Chinese women say you can’t eat anything cold when you have your period). A couple of days ago a security guard adviced me to buy an apartment soon as they will never lose their value and price won’t ever go down. I asked him if he had ever heard of Spain construction bubble which bursted in 2008 leaving property valueless hahaha.

      1. I heard that also too often by now. Usually when I get an upset stomach in China my in-laws and their friends blame the cool drinks I usually consume, never the food…

    1. Last summer MIL was getting upset that we didnt brlieve anything she or her friends said about pregnancy and what is good for the child. So she wanted to proof her point and took us to a children doctor, sadly for MIL, the doctor said that all the suggestions were either useless or even harmful 🙂

      1. I get the drink hot water thing ALL the time. Oh! And they leave food out all night and wonder why I don’t eat it. I don’t want diarrhea! They think that if you steam it in the wok, it will be fine. Um, no! And Nathan is not fat, judging by those photos. I thought Chinese people liked fat little babies, judging by the fat little cretins I see in my neighborhood. When Raelynn was born, MIL wouldn’t leave me alone and tried to tell me I couldn’t eat anything cold. My brother was visiting (thank God!) and he said maybe we should ask the doctor if that was true. So my husband called the doctor and she said that was ridiculous and that I could eat anything I want. Also, I hope your wife knows that only a baby’s sucking on your breasts is what makes the milk come out and if she’s got a lot of milk, get her a pump. She can store it for when she wants to leave the house without the baby. =)

      2. Oh, the fat baby thing wasn’t even my MIL, it was my own mother!
        Anyways we know that he just the right size and we have seen those absurdly fat babies in china already, taking them in your arms is like weightlifting.
        My wife has enough milk and knows probably too much by one already about it. As we never really go out too much we barely need the pump to store some milk for later usage. However the pump was really useful whenever she got a breast infection or was near getting one 🙂

  2. I hope Nathan isn’t feeling too hot in the summer over there. 29’C is quite warm and you better be stocking up on cool treats in the fridge. Not too sure if Nathan likes those, though, but they might be a good way to cooling him down sitting in front of a fan, as opposed to taking off all his clothes 😀 My mum always likes to boil certain kinds of soup for me to drink when I did exams. One of them was chicken soup. I did do quite well in school but I don’t think it was because of the soups.

  3. Unhelpful advice is a hard pill for me to swallow, but I really want to believe the best about my Chinese friends. Usually I just thank them for the suggestion and then move on with how I was going to respond to the given situation. Haha.

    1. Well, of course we also thank friends for their advice and be just annoyed privatly about it, however whenever my in-laws give advice, my wife immediately tells them how stupid that stuff is 😀

      1. This morning I wanted to order a cold, lemon soda from a 奶茶点, and they told me that it’s not good to drink a cold drink in the morning if you haven’t eaten breakfast. Have you ever heard this before?

      2. Indeed! I always wonder how Chinese people can drink hot drinks on super hot days. We almost always buy a cold drink at a local 超市 whenever we eat out. I really do love tea, but sometimes you really just need a nice cold beverage… plus it can sometimes help offset the Sichuan spice!

      3. During my first few visits to Xi’an (also a bit spicy cousine there) I tried to survive with cold softsdrinks or milkdrinks. This didnt went so well as I drank so much that I could not eat anything in the end anymore. Now my favorite is some nice chilled down Hans beer and anything spicy is no trouble for me.
        It is funny because each time I order some cool drink the waitress always looks strangely at me and points at the tea kettle on the table :p

    1. It is a delicious tea made out of dried babies! Okay not really, it is usually some simple tea such as fennel tea, without any additives. So no sugar or whatsoever. In Germany they used to give until a decade ago this kind of tea to newborns already in the beginning but medicine/ knowledge evolved and its proofed useless to take for a baby till they are about 5 to 6 months old

  4. showed that to Sing, most of them he haven’t seen, but the temperature or chilli ones is ‘well known’ .. I think he didn’t see those 29C in the house. Too bad Momzilla sleeps because I can see it with my eyes how she’s like ‘such a smart mom, takes good care’. and the milk thing showed up in Susan’s book Good Chinese Wife – she also had looooots of milk but every Chinese lady was like ‘make a fish head soup to increase the amount of milk’. I think mother and her doctor knows best what good for the baby 🙂 especially most of those ladies were pregnant so long ago when the medical care was so bad… but at least I have a reason to laugh 😀

    1. In every Chinese household we visited who had their MIL visiting we heard the same thing “Very good soup, so you have more milk”. On the reply that my wife has more than enough milk they usually dont even react to and say that the milk has a better quality… Kind of weird that each Chinese woman we know who had consumed all these soups had not enough milk for their baby :p
      I had some fun the other day, my wife talked to her mom and MIL wanted some expensive rice cooker from Japan so when we visit her grandson gets only the best food prepared in the best kitchen ware. My wife only said that it doesnt help if the rice is the best in the world if the rest of the food still is crap 😀 (I had tears ín my eyes) 😀

  5. It was a long time ago for me, so the only baby advice I remember was a bit of good/bad advice from my grandma. My oldest daughter started walking at the age of 8 months, and my grandma said, “Don’t let her walk so early; it’s bad for her legs.” Bad advice: What can you do if a baby wants to walk, tie her up? Good advice: She was right. The pediatrician said her legs had become bowed. He gave her a brace to wear to bed for 6-12 months. (After that, her legs were straight and strong.)

    Nathan is such a good-looking baby.

    1. I heard the same thing about babies walking too early, but then again, how to stop them 🙂
      My mother started walking with 8 months and her legs are fine wheras her friend, who started walking with 12 months has those typical bowed legs.

  6. The most shocking advice on the list gotta be “Laughing babies will be stupid later!” What?! How on earth did anyone come to that conclusion?

    I’ve gotten my fair share of interesting advice. Hot water cures everything, cold water is the worst thing you can do for your body. But I’m scared this will double, no probably be ten thousand times worse, in the future when we start our own family. Any tips for the future?

    1. It is hard to give any tips as each family is different (though most Chinese families seem to increase their worries during pregnancy). My wife basically just ignored whatever her parents, relatives or Chinese friends told her to do. At first she was actually also convinced about the traditional Chinese treatment during pregnancy and afterwards but after some online research she was shocked how useless most of them are or actually harmful. So whenever MIL got very upset about her daughter not drinking this soup or that weird looking drink she just explained that the doctor is not approving of these methods. This seemed to work mostly, but ofcourse MIL always found a way to get upset but by now she is not giving too many weird tips anymore as she saw with her own eyes how well the Finnish way works, both during pregnancy and afterwards 🙂

      1. Thank you! I guess when the time comes I will first of all find a good doctor and then do research to back up my decisions on what to do and what to ignore. Perhaps I should even start slowly introducing the Finnish ways to my in-laws… 😀

  7. My wife’s family is pretty good about honoring our wishes where our daughter is concerned. But my wife still has some traditional Chinese tendencies, like making sure babies first glass of water or milk in the morning is warmed up to at least body temperature, after that room temperature is fine.

    What I hate is when I take her outside on a very warm summer day and all the old grannies ant aunties just have to point out to us that her legs feet and arms are bare and need to be covered so she doesn’t get to cold, they point out she is probably overheated because we have her wearing a disposable diaper as opposed to using the split pants and holding her over a trash can when she poops.

    Personally, neither the wife or I are thrilled with the thought that our daughters genitalia being exposed where some pervert may get his jollies when he/she sees them

    1. I really really hate those Chinese split pants. It is really not nice to see everyday some parents holding their child over some trash can or just on over the street gutter. The thing is, these disposable diapers nowadays dont really heat up due to their fabric and structure but try to explain that to some very traditional lady in China…

  8. Luckily, my mother-in-law is in the profession of caring for little ones and gives insights from her reading and research and my mother is very well read. I’ve actually asked certain other people to please refrain from giving me advice, though, sometimes because it was stupid and sometimes because they were very rude about it. Also, when my mum-in-law doesn’t get something I do, she asks about it. Sometimes it makes me rethink my own cultural tendencies, actually.

    1. My wife often gets very annoyed by advice she gets from her Chinese relatives and friends as those tips mostly either originate from some old traditional things which are outdated by several hundred years or by some internet hoax 🙂

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