Why do women follow a baby book when the book is about another baby?

Danielle - posted on 08/15/2011 ( 41 moms have responded )

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We has moms, are proven by nature we know what is best for our children, We know what cry is for what, When they are hungury, We have moms ourselves and friends with kids. I went to mom and tots b/c My husband and I can't have more kids due to I have cancer and We both feel we don't want to pass down the gene to a baby, That and my Husband is 15 years older. So I take our boy for interaction and had a mom give me a how to pretty much for dummies book on how to raise a baby, I took it and read it even her cliff notes on every page, We are all different and why do we follow the baby guidline book to the "T" better then we practise common sense. Ok I admit I grew up in a very large family and if I had a question friends or Aunties, Grandma's, mom are there for me and I know not everyone has that but we all do have common sense weather we use it or not.

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Jodi - posted on 08/15/2011

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I actually don't agree with the sentiment that by nature we know what is best for our children. It isn't proven at all. If this was proven, and totally a given, there would be no need for Child Protection.



As a mother of older children, I can honestly say, you forget. You forget what to do for babies. You forget what a normal amount of milk is, what milestones babies should reach when, how to handle certain situations, you forget. So relying on our mothers to remember and help us with the answers is not really practical. Sure, they can answer a lot of general questions, but details are vague. I asked my mother 10 years ago whether I had the chicken pox as a kid, and she told me she honestly couldn't remember. Out of 5 kids, she knew 3 of us had them, but she couldn't remember which 3. 20, 30, 40 years ago is a long time to remember details if you haven't recorded them.



This is why we read books, why we as mothers compare notes. Because parenting is HARD WORK and it is a LEARNED experience. I still seek advice, read books about how other people have dealt with certain situations, etc, and I have teenagers!!



Yes, we are all different in our parenting styles, I don't think it is necessary to follow any book to a "T". It's not necessary to follow what our mothers or grandmothers did either (in fact we absolutely shouldn't). But books give us guidance. We can pick and choose what to follow.



And just for the record.....common sense is not so common. I could sit here and give you hundreds of examples of that just on this site.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 08/15/2011

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I don’t think a woman should follow it word for word, but it is a pretty good tool on where you and your baby could “possibly” fit in/or what can be going on.

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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See, when I was younger, I NEVER wanted kids. I didn't have a maternal bone in my body. I think having 4 younger brothers put me off the idea.



But then I became pregnant with my son (it actually wasn't planned) when I was 27 and all of a sudden I WANTED that baby, and even my mum has commented that when they put that baby in my arms, it was like I was born to be a mother. So I think it is different for everyone :)

Jenni - posted on 08/16/2011

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Really? I had no clue with my first! lol

I turned to literature because I was scared if I made the wrong decision I'd scar him for life!

Mothering didn't come naturally to me. It was something I had to experience and make my share of mistakes.



I am a stickler for following peer-reviewed recommendations. But with my second I parented more on instinct.

As far as parenting styles go, that I followed my instincts on and decided what was best for my family.

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Rosie - posted on 08/17/2011

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my best friend has known she doesn't want children-ever-for a long time now. when we were 21 i had my first son, she was my labor partner, and afterwards she thanked me for an amazing experience, but it completely reaffirmed that she didn't want to do that. i don't understand it, and i used to feel sorry for her, but i don't anymore. her husband tried unsuccessfully for years to get a vasectomy, but stupid doctors wouldn't let him, not being convinced of their desire to never have children. she was on the pill and got pregnant and terminated the pregnancy. it took me a while after that to realize that she would not be happy with a child. that is who she is, and i now understand completely how that for HER, it's just not something she wants to do. i'm happy that she's so secure in what she wants.

Vicki - posted on 08/17/2011

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I doubt many people 'follow' books to the letter. I've read several. I selected ones on the ap end of the spectrum. Didn't follow any of them exactly but took ideas that worked for me.

I used to think there was motherly instinct, many things (holding my baby, breastfeeding etc) seemed instinctual to me but perhaps they were learned things as that's how I was parented. Through work I've come across people with seemingly no instinct. Think of two teenage girls at home, one gives birth quickly, the other rings an ambulance. They didn't know what to do, but didn't even pick the baby up, let alone cuddle him/her, keep it warm and offer the breast. When the crew got there the baby was still lying on the bed where it has landed. I always thought at least that much would be instinctual.

Jen - posted on 08/17/2011

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I think one of the big factors is that the OP said she's from a large family - that makes a HUGE difference. If you're around kids your whole life, you see how their parents interact with them and you (subconsciously) decide what things you will and won't do with your own children. A lot of things that I think are common knowledge or second nature would have simply never occurred to my husband, who didn't really see his extended family interact with young kids until he was in his 20's.
If you've lived on the beach since you were born, you're not going to understand how someone can not know how to swim. If you live on a mountaintop in Colorado, you're not going to understand how someone can not know how to ski. If you've grown up around kids younger than yourself, you're more likely to have 'maternal instincts.'
Just my 2 cents. (PS I agree that Jodi wins this thread lol)

Jurnee - posted on 08/16/2011

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Books are great as a guide, and to give you some tips or advice or methods you may not have thought about. I was the oldest of 5, so I was pretty comfortable around babies,but thats not true for everyone,and not everyone has family or friends to give advice, and sometimes that advice isnt always good either. I have 4 kids, the first 2 I was told to sleep on their stomachs,the 3rd on her side, the 4th on his back. So some well meaning advice could be outdated,lol.

Merry - posted on 08/16/2011

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I definitely believe there is maternal instincts. My sister and I are great examples of this! As kids our family had foster babies so I was around newborns from about 6 years on. So I was feeding babies bottles at 6 and by 8 mom let me carry the babies while walking and from then on I was always helping with the babies. By the time we adopted my brother I was 10 and I would be in charge of him alot, Saturday's especially I watched him while everyone else worked outside. Where as my sister thought babies were cute, but she didnt liholinging them, too messy, and she didnt care for feeding them either. She said she would want kids one day but as a kid told me that she would let me raise her babies til they werethree and out of the drooly slimy stuff ;) now shes 24 and she really wants to marry and have babies but no prospects just yet, im sure she will make a great mom even though she never got goo goo over babies. Idk, I've always said I wanted 10 kids :) my only goal in life has always been to be a mom. (I played with my dolls til I was 16) :0

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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I think it's very human and instinctive to want your own kids. Some people genuinely don't want them I get that but in my experience from the people I know, they are 25 and want to party... by 32 they're on IVF desperately wanting kids. Or old and regret not having anyone to leave their fortune to besides friends who are running a business and too busy to come over and hang out while you're dying. Kids were always a one day thing for me until I saw our house mates and my aunty struggling with IVF and just wanting their own kids and we were like why wait. They still don't have any kids and I feel so sad for them.

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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I do often wonder if once they are so old that all their friends have died off they start to regret not having their own family. Although my dad's aunt never had children (not for lack of trying, but they couldn't have them), and my dad and his brothers were the ones who watched out for her until she died a few years ago at age 93, so she was never alone. They looked out for her, found the home she ended up living in, my dad was her power of attorney, etc. So in many ways, they became her children too.

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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One of my clients was like 68 (male) and he was all like I never had any children.. never wanted any blah blah and got divorced within a year from his wife because they couldn't agree on sharing a house. Once I got pregnant with Logan he was like " I never had any children.... ". It was sad.

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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Interestingly, I was listening to the radio this morning while taking my daughter to school, and they were discussing maternal instinct. The question was pretty much when is the best time to have a baby. A woman rang in and said she knew when she was 17 that she never wanted children, and she never did have any and is elderly now and thanks God every day that she never had any children (I find this sad, but each to their own). Anyway, her opinion was that there is no such thing as maternal instinct, it is something society has brainwashed us that we should have, but it's basically bullshit.

[deleted account]

I don't think there ever really was a pure mother's instinct. Childcare practices are influenced by so many factors, finding and trusting your instinct amongst all of them is really, really hard at times. I do agree that sometimes parents kind of hand themselves over to one particular book and switch that instinct off altogether, but surely most of us just use books as a helping tool. Hopefully...

Rosie - posted on 08/16/2011

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my mother breastfed me while driving a stick! my sister who was 2-3 at the time shifted for her, lol.
i think books are a good guide! when i was expecting with each one of my three i turned to books for guidance. i couldn't get enough of them to be honest. i wanted to be filled with knowledge.
now i understood that following some parenting books to a "t" isn't what you do, and it's a combo of your instincts and knowledge from other family members, and books.

i have actually never read a book that didn't make perfect sense to me. it didn't tell me what to do, it was a guidance, it didn't try to be something disguised as the be all end all of parenting. IDK, maybe i just didn't read the same books as some people, or people just take things more literally and to heart than i do. who knows?

Johnny - posted on 08/16/2011

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When my mom brought me home from the hospital she held me on her lap. They had a car seat but she didn't trust it, she thought I was safer being held, lol. Now she didn't recommend that course of action when I had my own daughter, she had come to her senses by then, but if she had, I probably would have followed "the book" instead of mom. Especially since "the book" is the legal coded and not following carries fines.

Books on parenting exist in such a huge spectrum too. Just last night I saw a news report on people following this book that advocates beating your children to discipline them. One of my neighbors (who I may beat soon) follows one that tells you not to discipline at all so they can "learn their own boundaries." If there was common sense out there, no one would have even written either of those books in the first place. Let alone followed them.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/16/2011

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How scary is that? My mom said when I was an infant...there was sort of bassinet baskets for babies in the car....she laughs when she tells me how we would just slide around the back seat. There was no way to strap it in.

Hell, when I was younger than my son, there were no seatbelt laws, I mean so much has changed. When I was on the way home from the hospital with my son, my MIL was absolutely appalled that we were gonna strap him into the car seat. We kept trying to explain the dangers...finally we told her it was illegal to travel with them anywhere in the car BUT the car seat, and they will not release me from the hospital unless they were strapped in.

Krista - posted on 08/16/2011

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Exactly, Marina. A lot of stuff has changed. When I was a baby, the recommendation was to start solids at 2 weeks old. 2 WEEKS. I also sat on my mom's lap in the front seat of the car for many a drive home. Not that Mom was a bad parent. She was a great parent -- but she only knew what people knew at the time. So many things have changed since then.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/16/2011

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Well said Jodi, and I would like to elaborate on one point. Things constantly change in what is good for children. Parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, friends, that currently do not have infants or young children around your child's age should really not be giving specific advice on do's and don'ts on many topics. They may have good insight, but the fact of the matter is, a lot has changed in what is accepted and recommended by professionals and mothers alike.

Hell, when I was an infant, it was recommended to put a newborn on their stomachs to sleep. Lovely.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/16/2011

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Jennifer, "Mothering didn't come naturally to me. It was something I had to experience and make my share of mistakes."

This is me spot on!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/16/2011

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IMO, parenting books are NOT meant to be followed to a T. They are just a guide to help through different circumstances, and give a fresh perspective. Chances are, if you were raised in a large family, you all have the same ideas and ideals for raising a family....not necessarily the exact same way, but having parenting books at your disposal can give you alternatives that maybe you never would have originally thought of or considered.

I for one was the youngest of 3, the first time I held a newborn, was my own child. I was not experienced, and really did not know how to cope.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/16/2011

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I am not going to review the comments below just yet.

Parenting books, and child behavoir books may not be for everyone, but I do not see any problem with them...nor would I judge anyone that uses them or doesn't.

Yes, we all have instincts, but that does not mean we are automatically fully equip to handle all the different dilemmas and difficulties that arise while raising children of ALL ages. It can be quite refreshing to get a new perspective, or ideas that maybe you have never thought of. Or perhaps, did not quite know how to execute new ideas.

September - posted on 08/16/2011

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I use all of the resources available to me as a first time Mother (books, family, friends, other parents, family members that are Doctor’s, my husband, parenting websites and so on) to help me in decision making and also in educating myself. I, personally never follow any advice or educated information to a T, it just doesn't work that way. There's nothing wrong with using your resources to guide and help in raising a child. It takes a village right? Plus I’ve never meet anyone that does follow a parenting book to a T.

Merry - posted on 08/16/2011

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Probably cuz when we become moms we want to do it best so we want to make sure we know everything and stuff. It's competitive to some moms, whose baby is doing this first etc. I hate it when moms say, oh this book said I had to let my baby cry it out so I did it even though it broke my heart.
Or one mom said 'what to expect' books saud nursing beyond one year is harmful to the baby so I weaned him cold turkey on his birthday.
You have to either not read the parenting books at all, or read a wide variety cuz if you read just one it could be a bad match for you and you might feel forced into things you don't feel is right for you.

Jodi - posted on 08/16/2011

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I'm starting to think I need to take a bow and make an acceptance speech.

[deleted account]

I agree to a certain degree lol.

I knew as soon my first was born she was not going to be by the book and rightly so.Same for my second child.Esp on b/f.She fed time wise the way a bottle fed baby would.Not on demand at all.



I do on the other hand feel you can get some good advice to try out and maybe alter a bit to fit your own child.



So there useful in a way and not in another if i make sense.:-)



My pregancy book was fantastic.Packed with so much useful info.Its the only book i got,read on both pregnancies and passed it on to.

Stifler's - posted on 08/16/2011

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Does anyone really follow a book? I mean I read books and all that but I tried some of the things and they didn't work so I tried something else. Suggestions are always helpful. My gut would not have known about infant's friend or lactose intolerance.

Becky - posted on 08/15/2011

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Yeah, what Jodi and Johnny said. :) I don't think you should follow a book to the letter, because you do have to know your child's personality and parent according to that. But books can be helpful. I can't tell you how many times I have turned to a book or website to find out whether my child's development was normal or whether I should be concerned about some symptom, or just for advice on what to do about a particular behavior. You take some, you leave some, but I definitely don't think parenting books should be discounted altogether.
And I agree with Jodi, I disagree that parents always know best. In fact, that statement really irritates me a lot of the time.

Amie - posted on 08/15/2011

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Yup, I agree with Jodi, Johnny and Holly.

Honestly, some parents scare the ever loving piss out of me. I worry for their children. =/

[deleted account]

I agree with Feen agreeing with Jodi :) lol

I have met a few mothers who really don't have ANY "common sense" when it comes to raising children and it truly makes me afraid for their children (a few in real life and a few on CoMs over the years...). Sometimes we need to look at outside sources to help us, and that's okay :)

Johnny - posted on 08/15/2011

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Gut instinct does not really exist for humans as we are so deeply disconnected from our natural instincts and as another poster said, common sense is surprisingly uncommon.

Also a lot of grandmothers, aunties, and friends give piss poor, outdated and sometimes dangerous advice. If I had listened to my MIL's infant feeding advice my daughter would have ended up in the hospital with starvation.

Books are useful tools. I would never consider following any of them even close to "the letter". But they do offer a lot of information that granny does not even know exists.

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