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Stressed out parents should relax a little bit.

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2017/02/stressed_out_parents_should_relax_a_little_bit.htmlLike most new parents, I was bombarded with advice when I had my first child. Relatives, friends, parenting books, and the ever-present internet (on your phone! While nursing!) all chimed in with conflicting shoulds and shouldn’ts for getting my baby to sleep, eat, learn, and stay safe.

How’s a new parent to sort all this? Many rely on their doctor for a final word—a sensible strategy. But as a family doctor myself, I have always been more skeptical of medical advice. That’s because, like new parents, doctors are overwhelmed with information. So we often rely on guidelines from professional organizations for information on what we should recommend to our patients. In the case of advice for new parents, this tends to come from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sometimes this is great, because some of the AAP’s recommendations are based on mountains of data—for example, that childhood vaccines save lives. But sometimes, these recommendations are based on no empiric evidence at all.

Take infant sleep, for example. I thrived during long hours of medical training, but my newborn son reduced me to a whimpering mess in two sleepless nights. Curled on my bed, I whined, “Please, just shut up!” when he began bleating again.

We eventually settled into a routine: I nursed him or paced the house with him until he fell asleep. It worked until a sanctimonious parenting book, citing the AAP, told me I was doing everything wrong. read more at slate.com


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