Going By the Baby Books

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Were you one of those parents who read all the baby books even before the child was born so you would have an inkling of what to do when baby arrived? These voices of authority gave me some comfort in the beginning. I would know all the latest information, what not to give my baby, when to start this or that, etc. Over the course of the first four years of baby’s life, however, there were a number of occasions when these so-called experts let me down. Many times they didn’t even agree with each other. What’s a new parent to do?

Several books I read said you should take your baby to the dentist as early as one. The dental offices I contacted said otherwise. “We usually don’t see them until they are 4” is what I’d get. What about all those authors telling me that baby could have problems very early on which, if undetected, could cause bigger issues down the road? I even have one friend whose 4-year-old had a root canal already! Only a misinformed mommy would neglect to follow through on this one. I decided to pursue it a little more and found a dentist to see my child at one, just in case. WHAT A COLASSAL WASTE OF TIME this turned out to be, baby wouldn’t even let the dentist look in his mouth, he just cried! No doubt they still collected from the insurance company though. Perhaps some of the authors are in cahoots with certain dentists. It wouldn’t surprise me because, quite honestly, I have never trusted dentists. I waited another 2 years before trying again and even then it was unconventional to bring him in. He was prepared though. He walked right up to the receptionist and announced he was there to get his teeth checked. No problems detected and so we waited another year and a half before starting him on a regular 6 month check up routine. He just had one at 4 and his teeth are doing fine. Turns out my friend’s kid who got the root canal has a family history of such problems. If you fall into this category, it might be worth taking Jr. in early. Otherwise, waiting is fine as long as the kid is brushing.

Another time the books disappointed was when they advised that I not start my son on solids until 6 months. I took this to heart and was even thinking I should adjust this time frame because Rocky was born 3 months early. He was just so tiny, it didn’t even occur to me to try. Then I took him for a check-up and the first thing the doctor asks is if we’d started him on solids. “As long as he can hold his head up, he’s ready,” the doctor said. “Oh” I replied. We chalked up his general grumpiness to the fact that he was a preemie because of what the books told us. After all, he was nursing every 2 hours! Apparently this wasn’t enough. We put him on baby cereal that afternoon. There was no “easing into it” as the books advised, he ate all we gave him. All of a sudden he had a much sunnier disposition. It seems we had been starving the poor child for the previous month or so! STILL feeling guilty about that one. Stupid books. You think you know everything but you don’t! And don’t even get me started on the potty training or the sleep advice that didn’t work.

I’m not saying that books can’t be a useful resource sometimes. Just don’t fret if what you feel is best contradicts what these writers say. Trust your mother’s intuition, mamas. Seek other sources of information like your doctor, relatives and mom friends when you need them. Remember what works for one child doesn’t always work for all children. I know my child best and that’s what counts. I, for one, am longer sticking to the books.

The Librarian