Being Modern: The dot.moms

As any adult who has ever consulted Dr Google will know, there are risks to be run when trawling the internet for information on matters of life and death. So where do new parents turn for guidance now that Dr Spock's Baby and Child Care is not the only option? Babycentre.com, askamum.co.uk, netmums.com, madeformums.com or, the self-proclaimed and self-satisfied mother of them all, mumsnet.com.

The LO (that's online mums' speak for "Little One") sleeps/poos/eats too much or too little? Next thing you know you're sitting in A&E. God help you if your child actually shows any symptoms associated with genuine illness. When you've trawled through the endless forums discussing when to give Calpol, how much Calpol to give, how often and how old they have to be, the only sure thing is that the new parent is going to need something stronger than Calpol.

And it isn't just on matters of health that the dot.moms get to share their insufferably smugness with the world. No. This online army has opinions on everything from conception to college: what name to give, bottle to use, buggy to buy, bed baby sleeps best in and so on.

There are sites and forums dedicated to telling you the best places to go on holiday with your child, where to send them to school, what to make them for lunch and, in all probability, the best way to wipe their bums. All of which makes you wonder how any baby ever survived in the days before the internet.

Make no mistake: it's not that there isn't plenty of useful advice out there. But there is also that all-pervading tone of manufactured middle-class consent. "What, you don't use the Tommee Tippee 'closer to nature' bottle? Do you not realise you could be scarring your precious LO for life? And no, it's not just that my SO ['Significant Other', these people love an acronym] has shares in Tommee Tippee..."

New parents of Britain, here's some advice no parenting website will ever give you: it is always going to be easier to put a computer to sleep than a child.

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