Study Finds Baby Advice Books Make Mums Miserable
It’s only natural for an expectant mum to read a baby manual book so she knows how to care for her newborn.
Usually, most baby advice books aren’t read until after baby is born. The book will be sought when challenges have built up and a solution needs to be found – quickly.
But research has found mums who read the most baby manuals, will have the most depressive symptoms.
The research was conducted by Amy Brown, a researcher into maternal and infant health at Swansea University. The study analysed 350 new mums and their use of baby manuals and mothering self-help books. Ms Brown found a clear relationship between the number of books read by a new mum and her decline in mental health.
Unfortunately, many of the self-help books stress new mums into expectations of what their baby should do. So when baby doesn’t follow the ‘manual’, a wave of panic sets in that something is wrong with their baby or worse – something is wrong with mum as she can’t get her baby to do what the manuals says.
While baby manuals can be useful in giving mums advice raising a newborn – advice that is often no longer taught from older generations, realistically, there is no such thing as a ‘text book baby’. So many factors can hinder a baby from doing as the manual says.
While the research finds a correlation between the books and a mother’s mental health, it doesn’t mean reading the books can be the cause to a mother’s depression.
The advice is to read them with an open mind, and understand that not all the advice given, will suit your situation.
If you have concerns, talk to your healthcare nurse or GP. Finding a supportive mother’s group can also allow for honest conversation around the advice read in books.