Did baby books make you more anxious?

When I was pregnant with my first baby I saw a baby book on sale for £2. A huge book covering the first year. I bought the book and for the first few weeks of M's life I kept going back to it. I then bought another book that was designed to help ensure M was a contented baby who slept well at night (she was already so I have no idea why I bought it) and it was then that I realised baby advice books were not productive for your mental health. I was getting warning signs that M was not developing well - she was late for a lot of her milestones and I would start to panic. 

Was this because I was not doing enough to help her? No! It was because unlike me she had not read the book and did not realise she was meant to follow to a timescale. Usually she would hit a deadline a few weeks later, or at the end of normal - she walked a week shy of 18 months and now runs circles round us, never sitting down. She had speech delay but now at 3.5 years old I dream of the days she would not speak (well actually it is so fun being able to talk with her). 

A few months ago she finally mastered how to ride a tricycle. Later than many of her peers BUT she has been riding a normal bike, without stabilisers since 2.5 years (so for over a year now). 

Could she jump at her 27 month review? No. Did that hold her back at all? No.

I recall going to a HV appointment when M was a few months old and they asked how her sleeping was. I replied that she slept amazing well, and actually I was a bit concerned that maybe she slept too much. The HV laughed and told me to whisper as there were other mums in the room who would give anything for that. Almost as if on a timer a woman came in and spoke about how she was finally mastering the strict sleep training regime but she was getting down as she could not leave the house very often as it was so strict. Well this is one book I had that almost immediately got thrown in the bin. Even the HV said to me that books like this were the reason mums were stressed as they were unrealistic for normal living.

The best book, and probably the only one you would ever need, was the one we got for free from the midwife - Ready Steady Baby! Easy to read and covering pregnancy to the first year of baby's life.



Research from MSc Child Public Health student Victoria Harries and supervised by Dr Amy Brown has found that I was not alone in feeling a bit dejected from reading the baby books which purpose that mums should follow strict timetables. Indeed the research found there was a link between between parenting books that promote strict routine for babies and postnatal depression.

It found that while 22% of woman felt calmer after reading the books a whopping 53% felt more anxious.

I would not be surprised if there was a link between social media and postnatal depression also. It can be an amazing resource but when people say there children are doing something and months later your child still has not mastered it then I would not be shock to find people might start to get worried and depressed because of this.

Did you find that baby books made you more anxious?

Training Mummy

Training Mummy is a 30 something mum to two beautiful children - a girl born February 2014 and a boy born in October 2015.

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