Why Baby Advice Books Make Moms Miserable (Especially the Ones on Breastfeeding)

The Problem With Baby Advice Books

A recent research into new mothers has finally established something we took for granted all along: mothering self-help books can actually accomplish more harm than good. So are any even worth a quick peek?

Some Research are fantastic to the point that they begin to take the form of make believe or perhaps even of fantasy. Happily this wasn’t one of those: Amy Brown, a researcher at Swansea University, conducted an investigation involving about 350 new moms and their reliance on literature concerning maternal self-improvement.  What she found was an unmistakable connection between psychological balance and the quantity of literature, which a new mum had been exposed to: Only this relationship was curiously in inverse proportion. The individuals who had studied the most showed the most worrying signs of distress, depression, and anxiety afterward.

Needless to say, these results are a no brainer. Many of us have known exactly the true state of so called mothering books. Anyone with just a cursory look can discern the three main schools of thought for baby books and other infant care literature are roughly:

  1. The next step for your baby (urtext: the “What To Expect” series)
  2. Programming baby like a good old robot (Key Work: Gina Ford’s “Contented Little Baby” Book)
  3. Rendering your baby as much a psychological wreck as you are 101 (“Foundation stone”, Penelope Leach, or you could retrogress to the granddaddy of the attachment theory himself, John Bowlby)

Granted, there is a decent bunch actually flip-through worthy out there somewhere, but by and large, the majority are a waste of time, besides that you also end up more frightened than you were before you were unlucky enough to read them.

The absolutely paralyzing element to, for instance, the first category, is that there are no silver linings here. Your child can do the thing that it ought to have the ability to do at a couple of months old … or it can’t.  If it is the first, then you can give yourself a great sheepish grin and pour a congratulatory drink. If the second, then say hello to the world of insomnia and frenzied worry about baby’s formative minuses, and the fact that the little tot doesn’t have to vitals to face the challenges of the madcap world we live in. Warning: Many a stronger mom than you has taken to the bottle on just those same motivations.

For heaven’s sake, when did a baby need to be other than just a baby, a strangely put together little human being, with an odd inner timing to do the most inappropriate things? You are only supposed to gaze adoringly as it blinks those huge doleful eyes and conclude you are the luckiest woman in the world to have it.

Here’s my theory; those infant care books, mothering manuals, and co, are designed to do one thing: place you in an untenable position. One, where you are antagonistic to your poor baby. who isn’t measuring up, and hostile to mothers of other babies, who are veritable over achievers. The end, mark my words is the same. Neither will thank you. Your baby on one hand will do exactly what it feels like doing, which is just being a baby, your insane time table notwithstanding. It will sleep, eat, and coo just when it wants to, and your mantras won’t change its mind one bit. Other mothers are less indifferent… or forgiving. You will get a label. And it won’t be adorned with flowers either. Maybe you deserve to be called less than salutary names, like Tiger Mum! Maybe you don’t. Who am I to judge?

What I can and do call into account is the notion that anyone can apply a rigid set of the same rules to gazillions of babies, especially when it comes to the primal definition of baby-mother relations: the arcane art of breast feeding itself. I don’t need to look to see the near manic heights what is, in essence a normal, fairly simple procedure, gets to. Simple you say, in outrage. My dear, sheep do it quite successfully.

Claire Byam-Cook’s book “What to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding … and What If You Can’t?” is, I would dare say, the one really realistic tome of the lot on this subject. And even it in basically says: infant formula companies need to make a living too.

Here’s the real fact of the matter. You can wreak untold harm to your infant – by withholding contact, or being insufficiently available, or not feeding it enough or in the proper manner. The path to destruction is broad indeed. And this is the real tragedy; that at heart, you love your baby more than anything in the world, and want it to be the best it can be one day.

Rather than then concentrate simply on these motivations, you are most likely doing the exact opposite required for its well-being. I guess there are basically good days and not so impressive days. Sometimes you feel like the greatest mum in the world, but then are you? Taken practically, are you truly there even when you are there? Many times, your emotional state decides these feelings, not such a thing as practical as actual time and effort spent with and for baby. Don’t despair though, “What Mothers Do: Especially When It Looks Like Nothing” by Naomi Stadlen, will make you feel like the world’s greatest mom.

This study though pinpoints effects, not cause: it is patent that the fears that slant a new mom towards anxiety are the same that initially propelled her into seeking dubious help in the first instance.  The sane alternative would be to buy these volumes like everyone else and just never find the time to actually read; after all, a baby is on the way, innit?

In conclusion, by way of the kind of advice your own mum would have proffered, it all comes naturally anyway, hon, so why bother?

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