In today’s world of parenting, there is information everywhere. There are 100s of different types of baby carriers, diapers, bottles, toys, sleep sacks, and sleeping places. Even more overwhelming is information pertaining to your child’s health and well-being: how and when to feed them, sleep habits, attachment habits, developmental milestones to meet, activities to support their development, discipline strategies, illness management, maternal mood support, etc
There is research on these topics, but with time, research shows different outcomes and guidelines can be slow to change and gain traction in the general population. In confusion, parents turn to Facebook groups, friends, Google, and family members who give even more conflicting advice. During a challenging and fragile time filled with change and lack of sleep, this all becomes too much to handle - contributing to even greater anxiety!
So what’s a parent to do?
Set yourself up with a great health team. Your health care providers should be able to provide you with accurate, research-backed information. As a Naturopathic Doctor, this is always my goal. Other members of the team could include a Pediatrician or Family Doctor; a lactation consultant; a counsellor, social worker or psychotherapist; a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath; and maybe others, depending on your needs! Our job is to be able to provide you with accurate information pertaining to your child’s health and development. To be valuable members of your village!
Knowledge is empowering, but you don’t need to acquire all of that knowledge for yourself. Acquiring all of the information on your own is going to be too overwhelming. You should not need to turn to Google or your Facebook Mom’s Group to find information on health and development. They don’t know your whole story and health history. Your health team does. We can outline a great plan that you can feel at peace with, knowing that you have a strategy. Strategies build confidence.
Trust yourself. While you might not be a healthcare professional, you are the expert on your child. No one knows them better than you know them. What works for one child does not always work for another child, you will be the best at figuring that out.
Look for reliable sources. While I encourage you to stay off Google and your Facebook Mom’s group for health advice, they can be a great place for support and solidarity, for gathering reliable resources and building a health team. There are also some really great resources online including: Our Mama Village, Aviva Romm, Kelly Mom, Looksee checklist by NDDS, Evidence Based Birth, Jessie Mundell, and Bundoo.
Would haves, should haves and could haves don’t help. Be kind to yourself. You are human. You are not failing. You are going to fumble sometimes, but who is to say this fumble was a bad thing for your child overall? Regardless, these create for lessons and teaching moments. Being kind to yourself will help you to be a better parent.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the ‘rules’ and information. Stop for a moment, give your child a hug, and tell yourself “I am enough.” Then make a phone call to a member of your healthcare team to put a strategy in place.