Thursday, January 31, 2013

Doctor's Orders vs. Parents' Intuition

    We hear warning after warning concerning child safety and when baby “should be” reaching certain milestones all the time as parents. Not many years ago pacifiers were still considered to be “bad” for baby, with the possibility of future dental problems and becoming too attached or reliant on the paci, thus making it more difficult to wean him/her off down the road. Studies are now showing that pacifiers can actually help prevent SIDS if given to a baby at bedtime…But researchers are now saying there is also a link between pacifier usage and an increased occurrence of ear infections. SIDS research also seems to be constantly coming out with new warnings and suggestions for preventing it. What gets me is there is still no known cause. That’s besides my point, though. A friend recently told me that it is now recommended that you pull your child’s crib at least 6 inches away from any wall to help increase air circulation, among the many other tips listed HERE.
     I’ve been doing a bit of research lately on the whole “when to start feeding baby ‘real food’” debate. Years before I had my own baby, I used to think that even six months seemed too early to be feeding baby real food. Now that I have my daughter, I have found from my sifting through the internet that there are two main “sides” on this subject and people are very opinionated on both: before six months is ok as long as the baby seems ready vs. you should NOT feed baby anything but formula/breast milk before six months.
     This last subject is what prompted me to write this post in the first place. My daughter’s pediatrician suggested I TRY to give her cereal close to her four month check-up (to see how she does with it), which is coming up in a couple of weeks. Myka is always watching my husband and I like a hawk when we eat, so I thought I would give it a try. However, I decided to get the opinions from friends and family on Facebook about a certain aspect of it AND made the mistake of asking about it on a certain babycenter group’s forum. I’m going to be somewhat of an adult about it and not mention what group it was, but let’s just say I didn’t appreciate their comments that basically insinuated that I (and my pediatrician) were not well educated and promptly removed myself from the group. Needless to say, I had mixed reviews. None of my Facebook friends or family mentioned anything about it being too soon to start feeding her cereal…but to be careful and watch for allergies. Ok. That’s fair. The people from the lovely babycenter group practically jumped down my throat saying she was way too young to give real food to and that I should wait until she’s at least six months old, and even though don’t give her cereal, mash up fruits and veggies.
     I would say that 98 percent of the time I can see both sides of any given “story.” It’s a blessing AND a curse, let me tell you! So of course, after reading both sides of the argument, so to speak, I started second guessing myself. I especially hate when I do this because I have learned over the years that for the most part my intuition or “gut feeling” is usually correct. Yet I still have doubts sometimes and end up cursing myself after the fact when my original feeling was correct. That’s a whole other story, though. Back to my original point.
     When and where do we draw the fine line between taking heed of doctors’ suggestions or orders and listening to what our gut is telling us, or our parental intuition in this case? Am I suggesting that you completely ignore what your doctor says? Of course not! It just seems to me in today’s society that we have become far too reliant on what doctors tell us without ever questioning it and not taking the time to do our own research and acting on what WE feel is right. Most people seem to be more willing to take the advice of a stranger than to do what they think is appropriate. So, while suggestions, recommendations, second opinions, etc. etc. are always good to at least hear and take into consideration, I ask that we start taking the time to tune in to what our heart, gut, or little voice in the back of our head is telling us. We wouldn’t be here today if our long, long ago ancestors hadn’t listened to it. ;)

 (For the record, I have decided to try cereal with Myka periodically instead of every day. She did really well with it a couple of times, but other than that she was so mad she just wanted her bottle. I took that as a sign. She'll be ready when she's ready. ;)


  1. Well, I will say that I've gotten to the point that I make decisions on my own and keep it to myself. What I mean is I do my own research online from reputable sources. I read the different viewpoints, etc. After I've made my decision, I usually don't advertise it on Facebook groups, messaging boards, etc., because...just like what happened to you, there's bound to be 50 moms who will tell you just how horrible you are for your decision and that you fail as a parent have permanently screwed up your child. I say take what your doctor says with a grain of salt, but take what anyone else says with a grain of salt. Like you said, follow your gut and make the decision you believe is best for your child. I waited until my son was 6 months old to give him solids, but I've known plenty of moms who didn't...their kids are fine.

  2. I understand what you mean. When my son was a baby (He is 21 now), I was told to put him to sleep on his tummy. When I had my daughter (She is 15 months), it is the back. I too was surprised about the pacifiers. Research changes. I always go with my gut. I am a pretty good mom and think I make good decisions.