M’s nappies have been green the past few days. Not green as in “maybe you ate peas” green, but a yucky frothy, slimey green. Having deduced the cause to be the clove oil we’ve been rubbing into gums to counter teething pain (yes, at 11 weeks old, his teeth are already starting to grate. Poor little mite), we resolved just to keep an eye on the colour of his nappies and sure thing, today having had no oil on his gums (hooray!) we’re back to a nice mustardy hue. But researching possible causes via good ol’ Google, did throw up a question: When your gut and Dr Google are at odds with each other, which do you go with?
searching “green nappies 3month old breastfeeding” returned page after page of results suggesting breastfeeding issues. From the baby not latching properly, to too much foremilk and not enough of the fatty stuff (a myth, if you ask me), oversupply, overfeeding…you get the gist. Nowhere in the first few pages of results did it suggest the change could be related to teething/medicine. A few sites suggested a possible reaction to something the Mum’s eaten, or an allergy of sorts, but overall it seemed the results were biased to the idea of breastfeeding problems being the root cause…
I went with my gut – and the gut advice of a few trusted Tweeters who know their stuff on babies and breastmilk – but what if I hadn’t? What if I’d believed Dr Google this time round and convinced myself there was a problem with my breastmilk and that M was suffering as a result? A first time Mum, abroad, with no close female relatives/breastfeeding friends, no access to La Leche League or midwives for additional trusted advice I could easily have panicked. We’ve been lucky, M and I – our breastfeeding journey has been smooth – but if it hadn’t, as it isn’t for many women. Would I have continued to struggle with painful latching, cracked nipples, mastitis etc if I believed, even for a millisecond, that breastfeeding was indeed not best for my child? I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s a worrying thought that as the numbers of women breastfeeding past three months dwindles anyway it’s so easy to come across misleading breastfeeding information on so many ‘credible’ sites.
I used to work for a healthcare website and was in charge of lots of the content writing. I’m not a doctor; I started the nursing NVLQ during a stint working as an auxiliary but didn’t complete, and have a limited intellectual knowledge of medical conditions. Was I qualified to write for them? Were the sources I drew upon to form my knowledge credible? I like to think so. But with the abundance of what I believe to be wrong advice I accessed in minutes yesterday, should the ability to provide online health content be restricted to those qualified to do so?
The answer of course can’t be clear-cut – I’m perfectly entitled to share my views on conditions and treatments, here on this blog and I wouldn’t have it any other way, and of course common sense dictates those sites credible or not, but still, when it comes to all things baby I’m increasingly grateful to the Twitter age and the fellow Mums and Dads willing to store a lifetimes worth of blackmail issues for their kids online ;-)