“Experts Shmexperts”

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And why not listening to them doesn’t make you shitty.

I want to start by saying that I truly do appreciate and respect all the medical professionals and other “experts” in my life. I take great comfort in knowing I have a nurse’s hotline to call, doctors available for my babies’ needs, and other “rock star” mom friends I can call when I need advice. That being said, the most important expert in your child’s life, is you, sweet mama, and nothing anyone says trumps what you know about your own little person. I think that sometimes we don’t always put as much value and trust in our “mama gut instincts” and default to someone who “knows better” than we do. Well I’m here to tell you, that shit just isn’t true!!!

My mom gave me an invaluable piece of advice right after I had my first baby and she said, “Sweetie, no matter what anyone tells you. Always trust your ‘momsense”. I really had no idea what that meant until I started getting into situations where “experts” were trying to tell me what I should be doing. These things didn’t always align with what I wanted or felt was best and stubborn and strong willed as I am, with hormones raging and emotions through the roof, I began to question my “momsense”.

For example, during the first few days with my daughter in the hospital, nurses told me, “Don’t let your baby sleep too long on you; or she won’t sleep in a crib.” When actually, feeling her sweet little body snuggled up on mine was probably the most “right” thing that I had ever felt in my life. I can’t count the number of times I heard “seasoned” mothers say, “If you sleep in bed with your baby they will never sleep in bed by themselves.” I absolutely fell asleep in our guest bed with my daughter during nighttime feeding sessions more times than I can count, and guess what? My now 3 year old sleeps every night in her toddler bed without any problems at all! And I have cherished memories of waking up and seeing her angel face fast asleep.

When my second baby was born, his blood sugar was low, when they did those “first few moments of life tests”. So, they gave him a bottle of formula. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with formula if you have chosen that route for you and your baby, but for me breastfeeding is my path; and I am fairly passionate about that. The nurses told me that I was welcome to pump some breastmilk if I wanted, but that because he was only hours old my body most likely would not be able to produce enough to keep his blood sugar where they wanted it to be. They strongly suggested I just go ahead with formula for the first 24 hours. I had felt my milk come in and historically had never had any issues in the milk production department and so when I smugly handed over 4 ounces that I had hand expressed, they were in shock. They used what I pumped to feed him and he was nursing within the next couple hours. Looking back do I blame them? Absolutely not, they were doing what they thought was right based on their experiences and the past situations they had been in. They didn’t know me or what my body could do and if I hadn’t been as vocal as I was about my wants, then how were they to know?

Are we going to know what to do all the time? Are you kidding? Raising children is at times like trying to make it through a maze blindfolded and hammered. We do need “experts” in our life to help guide and encourage us along. But, at the end of the day, you don’t have to be a doctor or have been a mom for a decade to know exactly what that precious babe needs. It’s okay to voice your opinion and *gasp* go against what an expert or doctor has to say. Only you know that the pitiful wail coming out of your baby means that she has an ear infection; or the glint in your toddler’s eye that means you have about 3.2 minutes to get out of the grocery store before a meltdown ensues. You know your child more deeply than anyone in the world, and that makes you the most important expert they have!

Contributing Writer

Ellen Mason

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