We do the best

The above photo was a recent Facebook post from Sister Hugs. I shared it because I’m fond of saying something similar. “We do our best with what we know at the time.”

Think about something important that you originally thought strongly about, but now think totally differently about it because NEW information influenced you to change your view.

I’ll give you a for-instance. When my babies were infants in 1983 and 1986, our pediatrician advised us to vary the sleeping positions from back to side to belly. We were told that it was better for babies to experience various sleep positions. Their cribs had bumper pads and they slept covered with a blanket. And they slept in their own rooms.

In 1992, after research around the world showed increased SIDS deaths from stomach sleeping, the official US recommendation came about that babies be placed ONLY on their backs while sleeping.

Jump to 2021. Not only should babies sleep on their backs, but also nothing else goes in the bumper-pad-free crib with the baby. Room-sharing (but not bed-sharing) is also strongly recommended for the baby’s safety. Firm bedding, not soft, is safest for the baby.

So all of the best advice today runs contrary to how I mothered my babies. Was I a bad mother? Unfit? Negligent? No. I did my best with what I knew at the time.

When I see people fighting about getting vaccinations and mask-wearing, I think about the premise of changing our minds because of new information. Some people believe Dr. Fauci waffled on the subject of mask-wearing. Do you know what actually happened? He did the best with what he knew at the time.

In the early days, no one knew just how fast the virus would spread. He was concerned that people would buy masks (like they later bought toilet paper) and hoard them so that the medical providers who had the primary need for them would go without.

And according to a fact check, Dr. Fauci explained that originally, “We were not aware that 40% to 45% of people were asymptomatic, nor were we aware that a substantial proportion of people who get infected get infected from people who are without symptoms. That makes it overwhelmingly important for everyone to wear a mask.”

Per BusinessInsider.com, Dr. Fauci is quoted as saying, “I don’t regret anything I said then because, in the context of the time in which I said it, it was correct. We were told in our task force meetings that we have a serious problem with the lack of PPEs.”

New information, new decisions. “We do our best with what we know at the time.”

Be kind to yourself and be kind to others as we make our way through this ever-changing world.


Changing advice on how babies sleep

NIH dateline of recommended sleeping positions