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Advice for new mothers
  1. J Wilson-Howarth
  1. 33 Hartington Grove, Cambridge CB1 7UA, UK; wilson.howarth{at}

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My first-born arrived just after an SHO paediatrics job in Oxford and passing my DCH and DCCH exams. I was confident in handling small patients and in fielding parents’ questions but I was not confident with my own new baby. My scientific clinical self started having arguments with my unconfident maternal self, and even the slightest suspicion of criticism of my maternal skills sent me into neurotic introspection.

I went to a community clinic for my baby’s six week check and the CMO asked, “Any worries?”.

“No, none really”, I replied. “I know in my head that he’s fine. He sleeps well and he’s growing right along the 50 percentile. My only problem is in confidence. Whenever anyone suggests I should be doing things differently I plunge into a turmoil of guilt and worry.”

The doctor examined my baby and on palpating his abdomen said, “He’s full of gas. The position you are feeding him in can’t be quite right. He must be sucking in air as he feeds.”

As doctors I am sure we often say too much and give too much advice, but it wasn’t until I left the room that I thought what an unhelpful comment this colleague had made to me. It certainly undermined my confidence—again.