So a few months ago over a twitter a local baby store and I were having a very casual conversation about some swaddling blankets. Casual, very casual -like, it was over twitter, you know what I mean? The baby store tweep tweeted that they had such and such a brand of infant swaddling blankets back in stock. I then tweeted, cool, I will tell some of my clients who are shopping for that item. Only I didn’t even use the word item because the whole thing was so casual. I had a few clients that were interested in the Happiest Baby on the Block class that I very occasionally teach. Swaddling is a key component. Having a great blanket in which to swaddle your baby is pretty awesome if you and your baby like swaddling. It can be any type of blanket, really, but I happen to like this brand. It is cotton. It is cute. Most people seem to find it easy to use.
Then smack out of the twitterverse came a smack down from a far off fellow birth professional - How dare I, a birth doula and educator, imply that women need a special sort of blanket. Do I really think that women were so stupid that before Harvey Karp came along with his 5s they just stood there perfectly still with naked with cold babies? It was just a big marketing scheme and he stole all his information from grandmothers to whom he doesn’t give one dime of his money. Do I really think that women are too stupid to just wrap their baby up?
Um, no, I do not think women are stupid. I just like the blanket. I insist on my right as a person first, a parent second - and childbirth educator & doula third - to like a type of blanket on twitter. If the blanket were on Facebook, I would like it there too. I also insist on my right to friendly networking with other businesses as long as that networking does not harm my clients. Since this was a public, casual exchange on twitter from which I made absolutely no money, I am willing to say it caused no harm to anyone. I like the swaddling blankets they sell. They are all cotton, cute and big enough to swaddle a decent sized baby in there. This is not much different than having a very favorite sippy cup. Why it is your favorite? Because your kid took it even while you were still breastfeeding, it is dishwasher safe, BPA free and you haven’t lost it in the trunk of your minivan - yet.
As for Harvey Karp and the 5 s-theory, it is possible the man gives none of his money to grandmothers. I don’t know. I do think that outcry on the part of other professionals about his making money from writing a book does not stand up to much of an integrity test. Our experts are filling a void that exists for some reasons that have not much to do with my favorite baby blanket.
Would it be better if we learned our soothing baby skills at our mothers’ knees? Possibly some things might be better. But my mother was at work & I bet your mother was too. For me to have been constantly in the company of mothers and aunties soothing babies well into my later childhood and teen years would have meant her foregoing graduate school and a successful career in favor of extended fertility. Would it be better for new moms to be supported postpartum by neighbors, friends and sisters and not experts on twitter and postpartum doulas? Maybe, but aren’t our sisters, neighbors and friends mostly at work? And isn’t it true that although we have not much of a protected maternity leave, some of us would still chose to be back at work?
It is possible our culture has too many baby and parenting experts. I can certainly relate to the overwhelmed feeling that many new mother’s experience. But do we really have more experts? Our sometimes experts of mothers and grandmothers provided this work for free to their communities, or perhaps in exchange for other services, before they were part of what we call the work force. Our experts are now in the marketplace. I consider this just a fair game as buying my produce at the farmer’s market. Growing my own veggies can be satisfying, delightful and probably not even out of my skill set once I devoted time and patience to the project. However, the veggies at the farmer’s market
are delicious, are sold for a fair price and I have no qualms whatsoever about bringing them home in exchange for cash.
Also, I like that blinking blanket. It’s nice.
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