Raising baby without Dr. Google

I have done something unheard of in today’s age of modern parenting. And if you have kids who are in their late teens or are young adults, you probably have, too. We survived parenting without consulting the internet for Every. Single. Thing.

I was talking with my oldest the other day and speculating on the fact that when she was little, I didn’t have a Facebook page filled with moms, or a community message board to throw out questions to at 3 am when she wouldn’t sleep or was cutting a tooth. In many ways, I’m glad I didn’t. The sheer amount of answers, suggestions, and warnings you will find on every aspect of raising a child is purely overwhelming, and can be quite alarming. Sure, your baby could have colic or pyloric stenosis, but he could also just be overtired and having a rough night. For new moms, the combination of sleep deprivation and a glowing computer screen with pages and pages of doomsday could-bes is a terrifying combination.

Back when my daughter was a baby, I had to wait until the morning to either call the pediatrician or my mother for any worries I had.

Sure, there are a myriad of ways that consulting the internet is helpful as a parent. You can read about generalized information, milestones, uplifting stories, and also heartfelt essays to let you know that you’re not alone.

You can meet other moms from across the country and develop a kinship and bond due to your children’s age or condition. The support groups can be a lifesaver to parents who have a child with a health issue.

However, the amount of misinformation from well-intended (and also not so well-intended) people can also drive a new mom mad.

There are many amateur doctors out there who will swear by an odd technique or try to convince you that your doctor’s advice is wrong.

Even among the reputable websites, which offer oversimplified health advice, it can be easy to get sucked into fearing the worst over a seemingly normal situation like your baby having gas or a rash. Dr. Google (especially in the wee hours of the night) can be a place to develop unwarranted fears and worries. Sometimes, it’s best to not panic, and let your natural instincts kick in. A new mom’s brain is actually wired to not only be hyper vigilant about perceived threats to her baby, but also to amplify them. As in the case of most things in life, it helps to start with a clear — rather than anxious — mind.

So instead of scouring 18 random pieces of advice at night when baby is sleeping, get some sleep yourself, and if you have a worry, call your doctor — and then your mom — in the morning. Everyone knows that is really the best medicine!

Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, is a writer and editor living in New York City.