Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Internet Parenting

Internet parenting - the newest age of parenting. What is internet parenting? Well, different people might have different definitions, but my definition of internet parenting is parenting that is based on theories learned from or discussed on the internet. But isn't everything discussed on the internet? Yes, it probably is, but I'm talking more about the live discussions that take place online.

At the beginning of my pregancy I didn't have many people to talk with so I was advised to go online and try to find some people to talk to. I found multiple groups of women on CafeMom, Livjournal and iVillage. Throughout my pregnancy I told these women my concerns, questions and took part in various discussions and debates. As time unfolded I found that some of the advice I was given seemed a little strange and some of it seemed even slightly dangerous. After I had my baby everything went to shambles.

I had ideas of how I wanted to raise my daughter. Now all of a sudden I was being told that I was wrong or I was right or I needed to do this or that. I wasn't doing this well enough or I should be doing that instead. I started taking some of the advice because, well, this person on the internet must know what they're talking about, right?

Things became quite a bit harder as I tried to raise my daughter in a fashion that wasn't quite conducive to our lifestyle. I couldn't hold my daughter all the time like fans of baby wearing said I should. I couldn't make enough milk to exclusively breastfeed my daughter like breastfeeding fanatics said I should. Even though I was taking multiple herbs and eating different foods to increase my supply, I still couldn't make enough for my daughter. Regardless of this I was told to stop all supplements. In the same minute I was told by other people in the same group of breastfeeding fanatics not to cut out all supplementation as I obviously needed it. As a new mom I was confused as all heck. Whose advice am I supposed to follow?

Realizing that internet advice may not be the best advice I started second guessing it and looking for advice outside of the internet. I was then told by the people in my life that I needed to disassociate from these people on the advice and their weird advice. What? But I liked some of the advice. I liked the discussions and debates. Although a lot of it was conflicting, a lot of it was helpful to. Oh no! Could this be another bit of conflicting advice? Ack!

While pondering this, I've come to a conclusion. There's internet parenting and then there's parenting. Internet parenting is parenting based on what one is told by the internet. The side effects of this can include confusion, stress, nausea, hair loss and a general feeling of disorientation. Parenting is using one's instincts and to decide the correct course of action while raising the child. Carefully questioning outside advice is important in parenting, but rarely done in internet parenting.

Now that I've had this epiphany I will hopefully focus more on parenting rather than internet parenting. I'd really like to lose most of my stress and grow my hair back so we'll see if I can stay on this new track.

What do you think about internet parenting?


Andrew said...

PCOS women have a high chance to having a low milk supply. Just FYI, in case you were feeling down.