One of the hardest things about becoming a mum is trying to juggle the advice from health professionals with your own parenting instincts. Throw your up-and-down hormones and lack of sleep into the mix, and you’re in for a frustrating and emotional time when all you need is to feel heard and understood.
The truth is, as a new parent, you’re going to meet a lot of health professionals on your journey, who will come in the form of GPs, midwives, lactation consultants, child and family health nurses and doulas, and all are likely to have appropriate training and qualifications to do their job. A lot of these people will wow you with their awesome knowledge and support, while some of them will fall short of what you were expecting, whether that’s with conflicting information or a judgemental opinion.
Health professionals aren’t created equal
The thing to remember is, all of these professionals come with their own experiences, beliefs and opinions, and sometimes this will get in the way of them taking care of you and really hearing your needs. For example, you may feel judged, belittled or disrespected by health professionals with poor bedside manner.
At best, all of this can leave you feeling put out and annoyed, but at worst, a bad experience can impact on your early motherhood journey, particularly if you’re trying to get support around breastfeeding or helping your baby to sleep better – as these things can be very emotional to deal with.
It’s okay to look elsewhere for help
If you come away from a health professional and don’t feel that your needs have truly been taken into account – or maybe you just don’t feel right about you’ve heard – you are entitled to seek out a second opinion, and you don’t have to explain your reasoning for this to anyone.For example, you may find your current GP doesn’t hold the same beliefs about breastfeeding, mental health, baby sleep, or some other aspect of motherhood.
If you aren’t happy with what you’ve heard, make an appointment with a GP who is more on your wavelength. It’s essential that you feel supported by the health professionals taking care of you.
Dealing with conflicting advice
If you haven’t already discovered by now, the world of parenting is full of advice that is conflicting, confusing and often unwelcome! This makes it hard to get a straight answer, which is what most parents want. But hearing conflicting advice doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is giving you incorrect information.
While you might feel exasperated by the confusing information, consider that when it comes to raising babies, there is usually more than one way to do things. The trick is to pick the way that feels right to you, and if it gives you the results you wanted, then great! If not, try the other advice you got, and keep at it until you find what works for you and your family.
At the end of the day, as long as you are keeping your baby safe and doing what works for you, you can’t go too wrong. Whether it’s about breastfeeding, sleep or whatever else you’re trying to figure out – although obviously for any medical issues, you need to get expert advice from your GP or other health professional.
But when it comes to knowing your baby and what works best for you and your family, you don’t need to second-guess yourself; you’ve totally got this.