Science and medicine are constantly changing, constantly advancing. For the most part, it's a good thing but, as a mother, it also means those three dreaded words 'new study finds...'

 

We only have to look back a single generation to remind ourselves when the advice was to put babies to sleep on their tummies. Thanks to research, we now know better and the life saving 'back to sleep' campaign has saved so many families from tragedy.

 

During my pregnancy, the advice on peanuts and eggs also got a complete reversal. Instead of suspecting allergies being caused pregnant women and young babies eating them, the current stance is this will prevent the allergies. 

 

As a parent, you strive to find out all the facts so you can make an informed decision about what is best for your family... only for it to be turned on its head when a new study comes out telling you what you're doing has the exact opposite effect than what you thought.

 

Sometimes you don't even have to wait, the studies contracting each other are already out there. Look at the various opinions on cry it out. One camp claims it's something your child needs to go through to be taught to sleep and that they'll never get the sleep they need, stunting their development, unless you do it. The other side retorts that there is proof of psychological damage from this method and that sleep is a milestone every baby gets to themselves and it shouldn't be forced. Both sides are of course, 'experts' in their field. 

 

When I was getting my pregnancy confirmed I saw the out of hours doctor in my local practice. She was nice, but she was old school. She told me not to tell anyone she news for 16 weeks so I wouldn't 'embarrass' myself if I miscarried. She advised me to stop jogging because the impact would bruise my baby 'like a peach' while giving me a leaflet of exercises I could do, which included jogging. She pushed a particular brand of folic acid that my hospital 'recommended' (they don't and can't) because other brands might have some 'things' I didn't want in them. Any questions I had, she couldn't answer, merely referred me to a website.

 

If the experts are wrong and if they can't agree and make up their minds, how are we supposed to know the right thing to do?

 

I have learned that we can actually figure it out ourselves. We are parents. We know our children and we will do our best for them. Yes, at times, we need advice and guidance from the right people, but we also need to listen to our own voices. We will not follow someone blindly, no matter who they are. We are our children's advocates, not someone who sees them as a number, a job or a sales pitch. We will do what we think is right. That's what being a parent is all about. 

I am a first time mother who has found great comfort and relief in the writings of others. I hope I can do the same for someone else out there.

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