One thing I have learned over my years in the roles I have held, and as a parent myself, is that not all information out there for new parents is factual and safe. Anyone can create a Social Media account or website and promote themselves as an expert. Look for how the author sells themselves – is the site clearly just for a bit of fun and sharing, or do they tell you that they can cure every perceived baby ailment out there?
Remember, popularity often comes down to slick marketing and even fake reviews and feedback, with competitions to encourage you to get friends involved too. The number of likes is not an indication of quality.
There is a big difference between opinion and evidence-based facts. Even if the information is referenced, take the time to investigate it as the writer may have cherry-picked a sentence out of a whole document that suits their agenda but is not valid without the context of the rest of the findings.
Ask about the author’s qualifications and ask for proof of them, then check out what they provide without just taking their word for it. There is a big difference between completing a few online courses and stating that you are a practitioner of some sort, versus holding a recognised qualification. Hint: if there is a governing body that oversees their conduct, this is a good start.
All people who provide information to pregnant women and mothers in New Zealand are deemed to be Health Workers, and as such, are regulated by the Code of Practice for Health Workers (Health Workers’ Code). This means their information should be evidence-based and supportive of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Code that looks to promote, protect and support breastfeeding, and as required, support all methods of infant feeding. More information can be found here.
So, find yourself the appropriately qualified professionals out there to care for you and your family, and be wary of who you get other information from, especially from the internet. And yes, that would include asking all of the above questions of me too.