Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Conflicting information - A Parent's Point of View

As a parent we've all been there. You go see your midwife/health visitor thinking all is fine and leave feeling like you're the worst parent in the world. During your visit you've found out that you're doing something wrong (in the opinion of said health worker), they don't tell you directly that it's wrong, oh no, they just give their point of view and so it happens it's different to your own.

I had this a few months ago with IQ's eczema  I thought it was getting better. We went to the health centre for a weigh in and a new slightly stern and headteacherish health visitor gives me that discerning look and tells me I MUST take her back to the doctors and get it seen to. While I was there I mentioned that I thought IQ may have had a reaction to eggs (was breastfeeding at the time and I ate an omelette - cue reaction), she also gave me a lecture about how IQ shouldn't have had her immunisations as she could have had a severe reaction and died. Apparently the immunisation cultures are grown in/on egg cells. She said IQ should never have had them done at the doctors surgery but should have had them done under surveillance at the hospital. Bearing in mind that I had taken IQ to the doctors the week before and told of reaction they said she was fine to have the imms. Thanks misses, way to make me feel like the worst parent in the world...

So there's a great example of conflicting information, doctor said it was fine but the health visitor said it wasn't.

Another time was only a few weeks ago while I was looking at starting weaning and was asking the health visitor for advice. She said to start with the traditional method of weaning, baby rice, purees and so on. At the same centre on the very same day, another health visitor was telling me all about the benefits of baby-led weaning and if IQ showed the signs of being ready we should give it a go.

Now come on! These women work together, probably trained together and are handing out this kind of  conflicting'advice'!

It's not surprising that new mums are very overwhelmed with the amount of information and personal opinion that's flying around out there. These poor ladies are probably scared to follow their own instincts telling them what's best for their babies, because they had been told different by a 50 year old health visitor who probably weaned at 3 months and left their baby out in the garden to cry because they were a 'fussy' baby.

You might be able to tell that this really bloody annoys me.

New mums, second time mums, gosh, even sixth time mums should be encouraged to follow their instincts and do what's best for their baby not based on the opinions of others. In the first few weeks of IQ's life I for one was guilty of following the advice given, I'll happily raise my hand and admit that. But when it started an internal conflict with my own maternal instinct I started to realise I needed to take things with a pinch of salt.

These days, when advice is dished out, I tend to steer clear of giving my opinion and usually reply with "that's very interesting" or "I haven't heard that before". If there is something that bothers me or indeed worries me because I think I'm doing something wrong, I research. I know it's a bit sad but before I form an opinion on anything these days I like to make sure I've got some decent evidence.

My first and foremost place to look is NHS Direct. Now, not all info on here I agree with but it's a good starting point for usually unbiased and well structured information. But, if you're outside of the UK you may have completely different information to what's given on the NHS website... alas, the cycle starts again.

Another valuable source of information regarding breastfeeding, bottle feeding and weaning is Kelly Mom. It's a goldmine of information which again, has to be gone over with a fine tooth comb before you can make any solid judgements based on the information there.

I also scour the forum archives of MumsNet. Yes, some of the forums can be a little daunting if you're a first time poster or full time lurker. Believe me though, you'll almost always find someone who's had the same problem/worries as yourself and the replies are usually very helpful and sometimes downright hilarious.

The point of this post was mainly to get my frustrations written down but I'd love to hear similar experiences from others. Do you have favourite places to go to for advice and information? Have you been given some downright ridiculous information regarding your kid(s)? I'd love to hear about them, just to make sure I'm not a ratty suspicious first timer!

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm not a mum, but I think you should always follow your instincts (unless your instincts are to give her a beer ;D ). You're doing a great job and the 'pros' will always contradict each other. Use your mommy powers x