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Not to believe the 'Mums know best' line

(45 Posts)
AJ279 Wed 06-Apr-16 11:47:15

Sat in GP waiting room this morning and overheard a conversation where a lady was saying to another "don't let them fob you off, mums know best!".

Don't get me wrong I'm all for mothers instinct. But I've seen people weaning at 14 weeks, controlled crying to an awful extent, not sterilising bottles all using the 'mums know best' line.

Is it just me that thinks this is bollocks?! There are medical professionals dedicating years to research and guidelines- could they have just issues a one page document saying 'do what you want'?

I just think it's such a dangerous motto!

MitzyLeFrouf Wed 06-Apr-16 11:50:32

Mums don't always know best.

Mine told me I'd get a chill in my kidneys if I wore my Miss Selfridge hot pants to the disco when I was 15. Kidneys remained nice and toasty. Ha! In yer face Ma.

MidnightVelvetthe5th Wed 06-Apr-16 11:52:09

To me, the phrase is only used when you know your child is ill but its not apparent to anyone else. Probably why you heard it in a GP's waiting room.

I've heard it used for other things too & I disagree, particularly when you're a first time mum & everything's being thrown at you & you have no idea what to do. Mother's instinct does exist but it doesn't override everything.

FirstWeTakeManhattan Wed 06-Apr-16 11:52:19

It's right up there with 'your baby, your rules, hun' for me

As long as Rita down the road, your mum and nineteen aunties did whatever it is 40 years ago and you 'turned out alright', it does probably trump any medical advances in the intervening decades though, to be fair. grin

mummytime Wed 06-Apr-16 11:54:53

In my GPs it works when a parent is worried, they always look further to check if there is a problem and to reassure.

ApocalypseNowt Wed 06-Apr-16 11:55:50

Illness is maybe the one time where a mum might know better than a doctor. Because you do know your baby better than anyone else.

Little ones (babies especially) can be hard to diagnose because they can't say my head hurts/it hurts when i swallow/theres a sharp pain here. A mum will know if something if 'off' when maybe a doctor wouldn't.

That said, in many other situations, I agree....tis bollocks! grin

AJ279 Wed 06-Apr-16 11:58:10

Mitzy hooray for your kidneys! grin

Do agree with regards to pushing for medical help if not getting any- it's more people who go against advice and medical information because they 'know best'

Oh the 'your baby, your rules' gets me too- I've heard that when someone left their baby to sleep in the car while they went shopping! As far as I know social services had a field day with that one!!

guerre Wed 06-Apr-16 11:58:35

Ah mitzy, 'chill in the kidneys' is code for 'you're so young and beautiful, I don't want people lusting after you at your tender age and taking advantage of you'. Haven't you need to use it yourself yet?

coffeeisnectar Wed 06-Apr-16 12:01:19

Sometimes it's true though.

When DD1 was 16 months old she started becoming very unwell late on a Saturday night. I was on my own with her, no car. Rang OOH and they sent transport to take me to the centre. The GP was so disinterested it was unbelievable. He didn't even examine her. He threw a sachet of calpol across the table at me and told me she'd be fine.

I was sat there covered in her vomit and poo. It was leaking out of her nappy like water. I was in tears. I walked out and a nurse stopped me and asked me if I was ok. I said no, GP hadn't examined her and she wasn't well. Nurse took us into a room, checked DD, found her temperature was sky high and we were taken by ambulance to the children's hospital where she was admitted and diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

So I did know there was something wrong. I've always known my dc better than anyone else, they are with me all the time. I know when they are 'at it' and when they are genuinely ill.

SallyDonovan Wed 06-Apr-16 12:02:19

In a medical context, mum often does know best because she knows her baby better than anyone else.

You are right about the other stuff though.

LaContessaDiPlump Wed 06-Apr-16 12:02:51

I hated the 'You know your baby best' line in the early weeks. I had no fucking idea what was wrong with him or what he wanted!!

I too think mother's instinct is bollocks. We only remember the occasions when we turn out to be right and forget all the times we were fretting over nothing.

Mousefinkle Wed 06-Apr-16 12:12:36

My mum knows when there's something wrong with me still now. She can't sleep at night and has bad dreams about me so calls me up the next morning to check on me and it's always when I've come down with some bad illness or there's some sort of tragedy happening in my personal life. It's vairy creepy. Always done it, when I was a kid she'd come in my room and instinctively know something was up with me because she'd had a bad dream about me grin.

I also wake up before my DC vomit. One night when DS was a baby I woke up to pee at about 2 am which never happens, I'm not a night waker at all. As I was sat there I felt strange then heard him basically choking on his vomit in his room which was next to the bathroom so ran it to pick him up. I always wake up right before one of them throws up... So there's some kind of instinct there.

I doubt we always know best but it's true that they usually do. Just because we know our children and know what suits and fits them and what will do them well or be wrong for them. Also through our own life experiences, we want to pass that wisdom on. I listen to my mum a bit more now, I never used to and wish I had.

53rdAndBird Wed 06-Apr-16 12:13:20

I agree that it's generally bollocks, but I am sort of in awe of the women who are confident enough to spout the "Mums know best!" line. I don't know anything most of the time - I am mostly stumbling through parenting by frantic Googling and watching Flop from Bing for ideas.

Mousefinkle Wed 06-Apr-16 12:14:33

Funny about the kidney comment though. My Nan used to say that all of the time! "cover your back, you'll get a kidney infection!" Never happened. My nan's instincts are RUBBISH. She's a terrible judge of character. She thought a guy I dated was a lovely young man, he turned out to be a drug dealing sleaze bag grin.

DryShampoo Wed 06-Apr-16 12:16:41

Ah mitzy, 'chill in the kidneys' is code for 'you're so young and beautiful, I don't want people lusting after you at your tender age and taking advantage of you'. Haven't you need to use it yourself yet?

This. grin Or in the case of the nuns who taught me, 'Put on a longer skirt, you hussy!'

I am the last to think that having a child gifted me with some super-sense Spidey Powers, but I do think that in the classic situation with a harassed, tightly-stretched GP with a ten-minute slot (and in some cases, thankfully not all, a predisposition to give stereotypes like 'overanxious mothers' credence) and a possibly intimidated parent of a small child, 'don't let him/her fob you off if you genuinely suspect something is up' is actually worth saying.

Any medical professional is fallible, especially in a busy surgery with a tiny time slot, and even considerable experience and education cannot be expected to give a GP the in-depth knowledge of your own child that you have. My 'job' at the GP's is to provide all relevant information and listen to diagnostic suggestions/plans for testing etc, but also not to allow myself to be fobbed off if I think there's something definitely wrong that needs further investigation, even if the GP is being dismissive.

honkinghaddock Wed 06-Apr-16 12:19:13

I have a non verbal severely disabled child so I know his behaviour better than anyone and know when there is something wrong. If it is one of the usuals then I know what it is. I frequently go the GP to tell him what it is and what treatment he needs.
I've had occasions where hospital doctors won't believe that he is in pain and I make it clear that I will not accept this (politely of course).

PegsPigs Wed 06-Apr-16 12:37:59

I agree there is a whole bank of mums who do not know best by quite some way. Leaving your child in the car whilst going shopping 'she was asleep' So? The criminal looking to steal the car/child doesn't care. Taking your child to A&E because he fell 6 inches and banged his head which is coming out like an egg, he didn't lose consciousness and is happily running around the waiting room peeing off the actual sick people isn't 'mum knowing best'. Yes we do tend to hear about the cases where mums were right like my DSis who got fobbed off lots of times by HCPs before her son's hip infection was diagnosed (just a limp?). However there are plenty of examples on forums I'm on where the advice is 'go to A&E hun' when a call to the GP or 111 would suffice.

Mums often don't have a bloody clue and we search Dr Google looking for answers. My DD had impetigo and I had no idea till MN suggested it. I generally agree that a mum who knows what 'normal' is for their child is in a more educated position than a GP in 10 minutes so I'm not saying mum is never right. I've just seen too many examples where 'I did it for x and she's fine' is enough 'evidence' to advise now discredited methods. Clearly if your baby died you wouldn't be advocating something but other babies may have done due to those methods so your child having no lasting ill effects is no carte blanche. My SGM is 90 and smokes like a chimney. Doesn't mean smoking doesn't kill.

It's also quite a pressure on mums that we're supposed to know best. I know a lot more having had 2 to compare than when I had a sample of 1.

SistersOfPercy Wed 06-Apr-16 12:39:17

Anyone else now singing this or just me?

AJ279 Wed 06-Apr-16 12:43:53

I do totally agree in a medical context that you know when somethings wrong. My DD wouldn't have been diagnosed with CMPA else as it just kept getting passed off as colic hmm

I just think people start saying it in that context and start believing it to be the case all the time

PegsPigs Wed 06-Apr-16 12:48:56

Same as mine with CMPA. No one cared but me so I did the dairy exclusion diet and worked it out. But yes there are many times when a professional with training knows a lot more than someone guessing. In fact I nearly damaged my own health cutting out dairy without supplementing because I didn't get advice.

StarlingMurmuration Wed 06-Apr-16 12:49:05

I don't think I always know best and I am aware that I'm quite an anxious mother so I'm usually happy to take reassurance from medical professionals. Except that with DS (17 months) I noticed one of his thumbs was a bit odd almost as soon as he was born, and despite many many medical professionals assuring me it was normal (eg midwives, HV, GP, paediatrician when we saw her about another issue), I knew it wasn't. Once he was a bit bigger, you could really tell that there is something wrong, and finally the GP agreed and we got a referral to an orthopaedic consultant, and started with X-Rays and ultrasounds etc. They still haven't pinpointed exactly what the problem is, but at least now they admit that there is an issue. So I think sometimes you do know best when you're a mum, simply because you spend so much time with your baby (in my case, playing with his tiny hands and feet).

SmarterThanTheAverageBear16 Wed 06-Apr-16 12:51:00

In a medical context, mum often does know best because she knows her baby better than anyone else

Nah. Usually doctor knows best in a medical context, what with the extensive medical training and all. Usually mum just thinks she knows best.
Very occasionally mum knows best, but its a very bad bet on the whole.

honkinghaddock Wed 06-Apr-16 13:03:20

Doctors may be expert in their particular area but they are not expert in a particular disability unless it is their field. I have had doctors tell me that my son is hurting himself because that is what autistics do when in fact he is hurting himself because he is in pain.

minifingerz Wed 06-Apr-16 13:13:22

I don't know.

I'm sure there was some research showing that when a parent repeatedly presented at the doctors with a child who had been given with a clean bill of health, problems were usually identified when a second opinion was sought from a health professional.

I myself have just had a complex diagnosis for my dd from a specialist team, after she'd been seen by consultant child psychiatrists and psychologists over a period of three years at CAMHS and been told that her only problem was depression. We believed CAMHS were wrong, and it turned out they were.

I also spent a year telling the SENCO at my ds's school that I thought he was on the spectrum, and was continually fobbed off with comments of 'he's just eccentric'. Eventually he was diagnosed with ASD.

There are medical professionals dedicating years to research"

Research counts for shit with most mothers. Especially when it throws doubt on any of their parenting choices. Anecdotes rule!

Witchend Wed 06-Apr-16 13:36:43

The thing is people do tend to talk about the tine they knew something was "just wrong" and were right. Not many people talk about the time they just knew and were wrong.
So it does give the impression mum's know better.

I know our GP says that if a mum is worried then it's always worth investigating further.
However I do know that there have been times when the mum has been wrong. The only reason I know is because they waxed lyrical about it before the tests showed the child was fine. Thing is if you talk to these mums then they will tell you about the one time they were right, not the 6 they were wrong.
Like no one starts,a blog to say "I had a suspicious mole/lump/something else and it was totally fine."

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