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Who's the Real Expert?
by Rebecca Garland

Anyone's who's been pregnant or has a child can appreciate all of the experts out there. There are experts on sleeping, eating, pooping, and everything in between. Both mothers and fathers are prone to blindly following the wisdom of a supposed expert, especially if that expert happens to be your mother or the guru your mother had faith in when you were a baby.

Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chiefs
Some books and websites are from well-known doctors, ministers, community leaders, and other highly qualified individuals. Many are rather undisputed in their wisdom, such as Dr. Spock and his descendents, but others like Ezzo, Ferber, and Sears inspire strong emotions in many parents.

Other books and resources are prepared by scientists who have studied developmental aspects of children and babies from a scientific perspective. They have done research on sleep patterns, development, and brain stimulation. Still others are written based on the experience of a single or collaborative group of mothers. All of these resources have merit, albeit some more than other, but how do you narrow down which is the right expert for your situation?

The Real Expert
If you haven't figured it out yet, and it can be hard sometimes to see the forest through the trees, you know your child better than any author could. That doesn't mean you should ignore everything your mother, doctor, lawyer, minister, and neighborhood scientist claim or encourage, but you should take that information in relation to your own child.

There are good points to be gleaned from many of the different resources. It makes sense to read as many books and websites as you possibly can to gather the experiences and advice of others and to stock up on the latest scientific facts. Remember, much has been discovered and proven scientifically (especially regarding safety and sleep) that your older relatives and even doctor may not be aware of.

Many new parents turn to their pediatrician for advice on everything from feedings to

potty training. While this can certainly yield good information, your doctor is trained in the health and well-being of your child, not their desire to drink out of the same sippy cup every time or their amazing ability to shed every inch of clothing in front of guests. The same can be said of many other well-known authors who write from their own experience.

Your Unique Situation
Every child is different. In the same manner you wouldn't read a book on how to treat your husband and blindly follow all advice, you probably shouldn't do so with a baby. Even babies as young as a few days have a well-defined personality. Some people are blessed with easy babies who fall asleep easily and love to play quietly for hours. Others have babies that need a bit of encouragement to move out of Mommy's bed and refuse to even think about doing anything quietly.

Certain things are important for all children like healthy foods, good amounts of sleep and quality comfort and care, but there is no "one size fits all" solution for childrearing, and no parent should ever be fooled into believing anyone knows their child better than they do.

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