Monday, January 30, 2012

speculation nation

I am pretty sure we have all been victim to well-intentioned, older, more experienced family/friends/strangers who feel compelled to give their opinion on what is ailing your baby. Nevermind the fact that you, as the mother, have spent every waking (and not-so-waking) minute with your child and you know your baby inside and out. You, after all, do not have the experience of raising 6 doesn't matter that they did this 20+ years ago. They know your baby better than you do.

1. "It's colic."  This one really gets to me, probably more than any other excuse for a crying baby with the exception of food or milk allergies (see #2). Colic is a term that gets thrown around by lay people all the time for a fussy neonate. In reality, colic has a very defined, clinical definition. There is a difference between a "colicky baby" and a baby who actually has colic.

2. "Your baby may have a cow's milk/lactose/[insert any solid baby food here] allergy." Milk and food allergies...OMG people, these are rare conditions. Just because your baby gets upset every time he eats a bottle does not mean he is allergic to the lactose. This is called normal response to new bowel stimulation. Let me inform you on what an actual allergic reaction is, in contrast to an adverse reaction (adverse reactions are very common, allergies are not).  Allergic reactions result in, at the VERY LEAST, hives. Hives, swelling of soft tissue, and difficulty breathing are all signs of an allergy. Allergies can be life threatening, with the worst reaction being anaphylaxis (swelling of the throat resulting in death if no intervention is taken immediately). Hives are NOT the same as a rash. A rash is an adverse reaction, hives is true allergy.

3. "It's teething." This may very well be the case for your fussy baby...the problem is that you just can't tell until the tooth pops through, and by the time the tooth comes in, the baby feels better. It's just not fair! There are so many teething myths that don't hold up when you study babies in a general sense (for example, babies do NOT get a true fever because of teething). However, I do believe that individual babies may show their own signs of teething (maybe your baby has a "tactile fever"....he feels warm to you).

4. "He is pulling his ear...he has an ear infection." Maybe, but probably not. If your baby just got a cold and is pulling on his ear, it's most likely NOT an ear infection. Ear infections show up days after the first cold symptom because it takes some time for the infection to spread from the nose and throat to the middle ear. Ear infections also usually are accompanied by true fever. Pediatricians are also not routinely handing out antibiotics for ear infections anymore, because almost all ear infections are due to viruses anyway.

5. "He's too cold."

6. "He's too hot."

7. "He is sleepy."

8. "He is bored."

9. "He is overstimulated."

10. "He is understimulated."

11. "His diaper needs changed."

12. "He is being a little shit." ...but seriously, this should really be one of the options.

...Ok I think I've made my point. Any of these things *could* be the case for why you have a fussy baby. The problem is that you can sit there and speculate a million possibilities, and you will never know for sure.

I know that most people are just trying to be helpful, but it's just so annoying, especially because they always suggest these things when you are almost about to have a mental breakdown trying to figure out what's wrong with your child. It wouldn't be so bad if they were giving you input while your baby was happily playing on the floor.

"Maybe he is hungry." Ohhhhh yeah, I didn't consider that possibility...babies need to eat???


  1. Love it! So true, even tho now, 3 kids later, I find myself giving this exact same "friendly advice" just to barely stop myself just in time before the would be mother I'm trying to give advice to, gives me the ever so annoyed look haha. I've found that offering to hold and bounce said baby for hours on end to give said mother a break, seems to be the perfect form of "advice" i.e. I have been dubbed 2 different friends' children's " second mommy" since I was the one who had the patience to rock the baby until they cried themselves to sleep :-) kisses to Parker from cousin crystal

    1. offering to hold a cranky baby is SOOOOO helpful! I wish everyone with an opinion would offer to take the baby for a minute!

  2. Aaahaha I love this. Clever title, too! It's nothing more than that - speculation. It just blows my mind that people who would normally keep opinions to themselves all of a sudden let them out when it comes to kids.

    1. yes! having children is like free range to say whatever you want!