In reading this Huffington Post article, Online Therapy For Postpartum Depression Makes the Most Sense, I started to think about the value of online communities and communication. About how 40 years ago as new mothers our main source of information would have been our parents, grandparents and anyone willing to impart advice that came into our proximity – “Babies should sleep on their sides.” Then it was their stomachs. Now without a doubt it’s exclusive back sleeping. Whereas now, we have the world and all its opinions and resources at our fingertips with a quick click of “I’m Feeling Lucky.”
While being informed, educated and knowledgeable is obviously fantastic, not all opinions and research are created equal. If you spend enough time searching you can almost always find an article, blog or website willing to back up and validate your opinion. When it comes to sleep training and baby sleep this is equally as true.
So, what can you do to filter through the chat room chatter and online banter to discover the truly reliable sources online?
- Do your research. Who is the “expert”? What training and experience do they have? From where?
- Read reviews. Customer and client reviews speak volumes. Take a listen and see what others are saying.
- Ask questions. Don’t believe everything you read about online. If you read medical advice or health/lifestyle suggestions online, be sure to talk to your wee one’s doctor before undertaking any new methods.
- Opinions are just opinions. Especially when reading online forums and chat rooms, make sure to remember that everyone’s child and experiences are completely different. All you have to do is take a look at a pregnancy forum and compare the tales to yours to see how truly unique everyone’s circumstances are.
If you’re not feeling well you inevitably bring up WebMD before going to the doctor. If you’re not sleeping because your baby’s not sleeping, we’re sure you’ve probably googled suggestions, scoured the baby blogs and purchased a book or two from Amazon. But there is no quality replacement for the advice and guidance of a qualified, experienced sleep consultant. Do yourself a favour and take everything you read online with a grain of salt. Helpful advice is not always so helpful and could end up doing you more harm than good.