This is not a "don't do it" admonition. We all know--and remember well--how we got through that first year of bringing up baby: the sleepless nights, the feeding glitches, the tummy aches, the diaper rash, the teething. Our parents gave us advice--sometimes helpful, occasionally outdated, often based on a memory bathed in hazy afterglow. They knew it all or thought they did, having weathered the sturm und drang of our first year.
Now it's our turn. And like our parents, we may be tempted to share all our remembered knowledge and experience. Some of us do it successfully--we manage to impart advice without being intrusive or making the new parents feel like the rookies they are. But many of us bumble and come across as being critical rather than just offering a suggestion. Or we think we know better and countermand given instructions--like slipping a breast-fed baby a bottle of formula or not bothering with the car seat for a short ride.
It's an issue that's front and center in a new New York Times parenting blog, "New Parent, Old Parent." There isn't much advice on there yet--the blog is looking for anecdotes from both the new parents and the new grandparents on what works and what doesn't in terms of unsolicited advice. (Grandparents interested in writing their memoir-ette on the topic, the blog whats to know how you "emerged with your relationships with your children and their spouses intact, what was the secret to raising your children through their own entry into parenthood?" Or conversely, your insights into what didn't work out so well.)
Here's a thread to follow if you have something to share or want to see how others cope.