So much information, so little time…

7 05 2013

As a new mother, you get bombarded with information and advice about all things baby and parenthood.  Some of it is very helpful, and some of it…well is old wives’ tales.  So how do you, as a new parent, deal with all this information and how do you pick and choose what works for you and your family?

In my experience, your parents tend to have very good information and advice (obviously you turned out fine!), however, many of the medical advice they may give you can be outdated, due to them not having a baby for 20+ years.  For example, when I was a baby, you put the baby on their stomach and usually had thick pillows in the bed.  Nowadays, that’s an absolute no-no.  Due to the worry about SIDS, doctors now recommend, nothing in cribs except swaddling blanket, plus “back is best.”  So what do you do?  Do you inform your parent that we must not put our newborns on their stomachs?  Or lay them on a thick blanket on the bed?

The best thing to do in this situation is to politely talk to your parents and other caregivers about what you are comfortable with.  If you want to follow the current medical advice, then tell them so, and say that you would like your baby to lay on their back, etc.  For the most part, the caregiver will comply, (though they might mumble something about it not being the same when you were a baby).

Another thing you’ll run into is the constant barrage of Facebook messages and comments about some small thing you posted about burp up, or a messy diaper.  They might have sound information, but it can also overwhelm you.  For example, I had a few people mention something about burp up.  They were concerned with allergies, etc.  But almost always, burp up is a natural thing babies do!  It’s almost never a medical issue, and I confirmed this with my doctor.  Sometimes you feel like everything you are doing is wrong, but don’t let yourself feel that. You might not be doing the exact same things as your mom or aunt or sister, but that’s okay.

If they give you advice that you aren’t sure about, your best bet is to say “I’ll look into that.”  Some advice is sound, especially if it comes from a medical professional.  For example, my sister is a nurse, and is friends with a pediatric nurse, so often, if I have a question, I’ll ask her, then she’ll relay the information to her friend.  This way, I get advice from two medical resources.  This has helped in terms of a weird breathing thing that Theo was doing.  But as I said, unless the person has medical training, or they have had direct experience with a skin rash or allergy, the best thing to do is to be polite, say you’ll look into it, and follow up if they ask later.

If the bad advice or people pestering you gets bad, I would try and get off social media for awhile.  I know people want to see pictures and updates, but if they really care, they can text you or call you for updates.  Or, like me, create a blog and disable comments if you need to.  As a new mom, getting off social media can be a breath of fresh air, especially with all the advice and information.  All in all, what matters is the decision and you and your husband make regarding your child.  Ultimately, you are in control, and ultimately, you make the decisions.

Listening to advice can be helpful but also destructive if it gets in the way of how you want to parent.  Treat everyone with respect and tact.  You don’t have to follow their advice, but be kind about disregarding it.

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