When we suddenly get launched into parenthood it can be a confusing place. We may find that friends and family will offer advice which can be very well meaning but may be rather overwhelming and confusing. Then there are all the baby books and websites which have conflicting advice which can also make us confused and sometimes make us feel guilty. Then there are the health professionals who should know everything but sometimes do not have answer for you. So where are the best places to go for help.
Your health visitor will visit you in your home while the baby is new born and there will be opportunities to go to post natal classes as well as other events to see them. There you will be able to ask any questions that you need answering. They will be able to help you with feeding, sleeping nd some basic health advice. They can be a good person to ask if you have any question and if they feel that they cannot answer it they may send you to a doctor or pharmacist if it is a health concern.
The pharmacist will be able to advise you about medical concerns that you might have. They may be able to give you over the counter medicines such as creams for nappy rash, paracetamol medicines and teething gels. If you are worried about any health problems then they will be able to advise you whether you should go to the doctor or whether you should look after them at home and what medication to give them.
If your child is ill, then there is no doubt that seeing a doctor is the best thing to do. They will be able to give them medicines which are available on prescription which the pharmacist will not be able to give them. They will also be able to do tests or send them to specialists, should it be necessary. They should be able to put your mind at rest if you have any concerns. Your surgery may have a drop in clinic for babies and young children where a specialist paediatrician can see them or you may be able to make an appointment with them.
There are many books available to read about bringing up children on all sorts of themes from how to feed them to how to discipline them. Some could be very useful but it is worth remembering that all children are different. This means that techniques that work for one child may not work for another. It is also worth remembering that parents are different too. It may take a strong, firm and decisive parent to carry out certain disciplinary actions and this may not be the type of person that you are and therefore it will not work for you. Bear in mind that some authors have not even had children of their own and so they will not know what it is like to be a parent even if they have worked with lots of children it is different to having your own. So although you may pick up some useful information form the books, make sure that you do not feel a failure if the techniques do not work for you.
Websites can be written by experts, Mums or anyone else. It is worth remembering that they may just be full of made up information that has not even been tried out. Therefore take everything you read with a pinch of salt. Think about whether it makes sense, whether it is something you really think will be worth trying and how reliable the information seems to be. If you are struggling with something, such as getting baby to sleep, it can be reassuring to know that there are other people struggling with the same thing. However, some will have worse experiences than you and do not start to worry that things might be that bad for you as well. It can be wise to be prepared for the worst but you should expect the best so that you feel more positive about the future.
Family can be useful for information. However, you will find that older generations did things very differently and may criticise you for doing things in the way that you have been shown by midwives and health visitors. If you have siblings or cousins who have recently had babies then they may be able to help you with more up to date and useful information.
However, you need to remember that every baby is different and what they found worked with their children; may not work for you. It is easy to be offended though if they criticise something you do or a behaviour that your baby s showing. When you are tired and hormonal every comment can feel worse and there is a lot of guilt with parenting as well, with many parents feeling like they are not good enough. Try hard to remember that no parent is perfect and that while you are doing the very best that you can for your child there is nothing more that you can do.
Friends are similar to family in that you should only really expect advice to be current if they have recently had children. They may still have some useful help and advice for you though. Going to a baby group that has similar ages children in it could be a good way to make new friends and get some advice as well. Some of the mums may be new and that can be reassuring if they are experiencing the same problems as you. Some of them may not be first time mums and this can be helpful as well as they will have had more experience and maybe have some tips for when the baby gets older as well. If you feel that they are judging you though, choose someone else to talk to or even a different group.