In our wonderful world of sharing today, information is literally at our very fingertips at every moment of the day. From connecting with other people, whether neighbors or across the globe, to Googling questions or asking Siri for answers, we truly do live in a world of infinite information.
No longer do you have to look up information in only Encyclopedias (like I loved doing when I was a kid); noooo, now on your quest for parenting answers, you have 14,800,000 Google results for “baby bedtime,” 3,040,000 hits for “baby bedtime books,” and hundreds of local to international Facebook parenting groups to join, asking for advice. What could be better than this, am I right?
No, I am not right. Because just like I get overwhelmed when a restaurant menu has too many items to choose from, the age of information can be exponentially more overwhelming than my epic diner decision to choose a Reuben or waffle (which, let me tell you, if often a painstaking verdict).
Sometimes Weird, Green Poop is Just Weird. Green. Poop.
When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I had every pregnancy book I could get my hands on (which is one of my tips I advise against in my 9 tips for pregnancy). Then when my daughter was born, I Googled, checked out library books by the bag-full, and asked questions weekly in Facebook parenting groups, because as a first time mom, there are so many uncertainties. I wanted answers.
The restless, endless search
At night, I would restlessly lay awake, searching for sleeplessness in pregnancy.
While waiting for my induction to kick in, I researched what does birth with an epidural feel like?
When I was breastfeeding a day-old sleepy, soft baby, I asked moms online, why does my baby fall asleep moments after sucking? Do I wake her? How do I wake her? Do I wake her at night to feed since she’s sleeping through the night?
The infamous strange green poop
But the big kicker was when my daughter had strange, foamy green poop. I remember the day well because it started with a frothy avocado diaper surprise and ended in a panic attack followed by crying myself to sleep.
Let me rewind back to the first sea foam shocker.
I knew that baby stools changed and that was normal, but I had never seen a color or consistency quite like this, so of course onto the internet I went! The information from my Facebook mom groups led me down a destructive string of articles – some confirming, some denying, some indifferent to the information the moms gave me, some of whom were veteran, seasons mommas, nurses, physician assistants, midwifes, you name it, these wise, intelligent women are present online.
What I ‘learned’ is that my daughter’s strange stools was a result of a foremilk hindmilk imbalance. In breastmilk, foremilk is low in fat, high in lactose, and if the baby takes in a lot of the foremilk, she can’t digest it properly, causing lactose to chill out in the gut, causing acidic green stool. If you have an oversupply of milk, this can be a cause of too much foremilk, causing the baby discomfort.
But that’s not all – she could also be allergic or sensitive to the foods I was eating, so either way, I was causing my poor sweet little bundle pain and harm.
With my postpartum hormones and mommy guilt raging, I could not believe that my milk or the way I was feeding my baby was causing her harm. A panic attack and a sleepless, tearful night ensued, leaving me doubting myself and my capabilities to nourish my child. What was wrong with me? What was I doing wrong? Why can’t I take care of my baby who depends on me?
A calming force
After the calming voices of reason from my mom, sister, husband, and pediatrician (a wonderfully talented, non-alarmist doctor), I regained confidence in my diet, milk, and nursing abilities. I laid off the internet and removed my advice-seeking posts, and just trusted my gut.
And guess what? My daughter was completely fine. Yes, I realize there are actual problems out there that need to be caught. I understand that being an alarmist can benefit you in certain situations. But you know what else I learned?
Sometimes weird, green poop really is just weird green poop.
End of story.
When my best friend’s babies weren’t growing as expected from breastfeeding, it was hard to believe what her doctor told her – that she was someone who does not make enough milk; there’s nothing bad or wrong about this, it’s just the way she was made. While rare, this is real, and no amount of interventions and Mother’s Milk tea will make a difference.
Instead, she listened to the mommy group advice, sought out numerous lactation specialists (both in-home and out), did every tried-and-true remedy to boost supply, and had her son inspected by an ENT specialist for a lip or tongue tie (which everyone asserted was THE reason for the problem).
All of this stress led to guilt, sleeplessness, and shame, directly of herself and of other moms putting it on her, which led to painful recurring bouts of mastitis. After months of pain, tears, and torture, she succumbed to her mother’s gut instinct – she started supplementing with formula.
And guess what? The little man INSTANTLY started to thrive, physically and emotionally. Mom and baby started bonding more, he showed increased happiness, and playfulness. And finally she was able to pride herself on her mothering skills, something she should have been celebrating all along.
While I’m not discounting advice from the internet or other moms, and while I understand their advice can often be extremely helpful and even be a total game changer, sometimes it’s way more destructive.
Sometimes you just need to put the phone, computer, and books down, take a bath, take yourself on a coffee date, and take a nap. Rest. Relax. Trust your mommy instinct. While it may not always be the answer, it can often save you lots of stress, guilt, shame, and tears.
Instead of Googling restlessness in pregnancy sleep, practice sound sleep hygiene, turn off electronic devices and TV before bed, diffuse some lavender oil, read, get a massage before bed, and quiet your mind. Then talk to your doctor about it.
Instead of spending hours reading others’ birth stories to assess the level of pain or discomfort, consider that your story will never be theirs, and the only way to find out your birth story is to, in fact, give birth.
Instead of asking thousands of moms about your baby’s sleep habits and about nursing, call your lactation specialist or pediatrician. Try to limit the amount of opinions you get, and seek a second opinion only if the advice really feels wrong to you.
Because remember, sometimes weird green poop really is just weird.