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An old friend's Facebook status states--with a period, not a question mark--that his baby is suffering from her first cold. How do you respond?

Although I usually use punctuation as my guide, sometimes I can't resist trying so save a fellow parent some of the trial and error I've already exhausted. So, picturing the week ahead for my friend with the sick four-month-old, I had to recommend Little Noses saline drops before feedings and sleep.

When my friend replied with a "thank you," I proceeded to also offer that Vicks Baby Rub and creating a makeshift sauna in the bathroom had worked for us. Not "GO TO THE STORE RIGHT THIS MINUTE AND PICK UP THIS AND THIS AND THIS AND READ THIS AND NEVER DO THIS." (Okay, I did warn to never put the Vicks on a baby's face--because I've read about babies being harmed from this seemingly logical tactic.)


So, even as a person who has fielded countless unsolicited comments and orders from everyone from well-meaning parenting pioneers to know-it-all bossypants types, I still struggle to keep my wisdom (vast and worldly--snort) to myself.

I try to consider the other parent's perspective. So when another friend posted that her infant son is eating every two hours--something I endured with both babies--and is lucky he's adorable and so loved--again, no question mark, SOS, or similar--I decided to just offer support. I let her know I've been there; hopefully it was implied that she can e-mail me if she wants to know more.

Then when the next commenter--another friend whose bossypants side I've grown to love over the course of 15+ years--started in on the "You have to stop that habit NOW...," I wanted to jump in and give more encouragement, maybe more detail about how my kids both had reflux and how long it lasted and so on. But what if she thought I was diagnosing her kid--who I've never met--with reflux? What if she thought I was telling her to go ahead and keep feeding on demand even if it makes her exhausted and insane? (I had the experience of both on-demand and scheduled feeding to share, though, and the pros and cons of each were burning in my fingertips.)

I opted to let the thread go. Thankfully, commenter No. 3 advised this new mom to go with her gut. Now there's some input with which you can never go wrong, in my humble opinion.

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