“An expert is a damn fool a long way from home”

Yesterday, when perusing the internet, I happened across an article by an expert of babies about why we shouldn’t teach self soothing.

Now, the content of the article isn’t what I’m angry about per se, I’m picking on this article as an example of many that are out there. It was just unfortunate enough to be the one that fell into my path yesterday.

These articles and blogs are often written by self proclaimed baby experts and they’re almost always about what we shouldn’t do. Often when we actually look at the credentials of the expert we realise he or she is not even a Jo Frost Supernanny, instead it’s someone with an NVQ in baby massage, a couple of children, an internet connection and an opinion (like all us who feel compelled to write blogs).

If I were to publish all of the recipes I own, it wouldn’t make me a food expert, just a fat lass with time on her hands.

What makes me so cross about these articles is the fact they’re always aimed at new mums (for those are the women with the babies generally).
Mums who may be exhausted, stressed and finding it difficult to cope with a certain aspect of becoming a mummy, whether for the first time or the fifth time. As much as it’s a wonderful time it’s also a pretty bloody fraught time and I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves turning to Google at 3am looking for some advice.

You’ve not slept for 3 nights, your eyes feel like they’re going to bleed, your brain is pulsating so hard your skull doesn’t feel like it will contain it any more, you’re sat feeling alone in the dark hearing your baby cry, maybe not wanting to disturb your partner because he has work tomorrow, you want to shout SHUT UP PLEASE MUMMY NEEDS SLEEP, you know that’s not a good move so you sit quietly Googling, hoping for some advice. You’ve heard the term ‘self soothing’, is it OK if you just sit here for 10 minutes to see if baby will settle? (you know she doesn’t need feeding or changing, common sense is in play)
The first article you find tells you how self soothing is tantamount to child abuse, the second tells you how this action is psychologically ruining your baby (this particular article also went on to include potential death, just in case you weren’t feeling shit enough).
Your tired brain tells you you’re an awful Mummy! It’s there in print WRITTEN BY A BABY EXPERT. THEY MUST KNOW.

This is not what new mummies need to see. Many of these articles serve to make us feel like crap, they give us endless commentary on what we shouldn’t do. We shouldn’t bottle feed, we shouldn’t leave baby to cry, we shouldn’t co-sleep, we shouldn’t work, we shouldn’t stay home. Almost like they’re wanting to keep us in fear, every one of our actions is wrong.

The particular article I read yesterday gave a lengthy list of reasons that we adults might wake in the night. It then went on to explain how us adults might settle ourselves, for example we are woken by a noise, we investigate the noise, we realise it’s nothing, we go back to sleep. Baby can’t do that, baby is woken by noise and if we don’t go a cuddle baby baby lies there quietly fretting about the noise all night.
So how can we make it better?
How can we be sure to do the right thing by our baby oh expert of babies?
I read to the end of the article in anticipation of answers!
There it is, the answer, how to get baby to sleep at night…..

BUY THE FRICKING BOOK!

Seriously, this expert has written an article telling us what we shouldn’t do, telling us how psychologically damaging this action is, included potential death, got us all worried about our parenting and our baby AND THEN IS HOLDING THE ANSWER TO RANSOM.
That’s not very empathetic is it?

But if I were sleep deprived and desperate maybe I would buy this book, and spend the next 7-10 days not sleeping some more whilst I wait for the answer to arrive by Royal Mail 2nd class standard delivery!

Now I’m no expert but my advice (which is of no value but exists) to any new Mummy is try not to Google for answers, instead, if you can, turn to friends who are parents who you trust and ask advice.
You’d be surprised how many of your friends of them are actually there at 3am having left their phone on ‘loud’ just in case they receive such a text.

As I said the subject of self soothing isn’t the issue here, it just happens to be the subject of the article that pissed me off. I’m not here to judge either way whether it’s good or bad.
Though I DO have the answer to pretty much everything else.
If you Paypal me £1000 I will gladly share it *winky, smiley face*

I hope you all have a great May Day bank holiday full of wine and joy!

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