Google Game: How much should I…?

No! Bad, mommy! Bad!

If you have questions about how to take care of your newborn, or whether the kid’s within the range of normalcy, ask a doctor. Ask your mother, your neighbor, your grocer. Ask anyone with any baby-rearing experience, but for Pete’s sake ask a human.

When you talk to people — like actually, physically talk — your brain automatically makes certain judgments about the quality of information you’re getting from them. Does this person seem reliable? Does she have the background needed to speak authoritatively on the matter? Is her hygiene reflective of the kind of person I ought to take advice from?

When you’re reading online, you have to actively pose these sorts of discretionary queries, and most people don’t think to do so, or simply don’t bother. You have no idea who’s writing most of the crap that populates atop Google’s search results. It’s one thing to use unverifiable information to guide you on how much you should spend on rent or a ring, or whether you should feel good/bad/OK about your relative heft (things that, let’s face it, aren’t entirely in your control anyway). But when it comes to caring for a baby, please don’t listen to Google.

For that matter you shouldn’t be listening to me, either.

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