Lately I’ve been doing exactly what I told myself I wouldn’t do this time around. I’ve been tormenting myself by looking for answers to questions that don’t seem to want to be answered just yet. My late night google-ing sessions in particular have been driving me mad! “When will my baby sleep through the night?” “Should I be stretching out my feedings by now?” “Why won’t my baby nap during the day?” “Why hasn’t he done a poo for 3 days?”
“I thought you said you wouldn’t analyse things so much this time,” said the well-meaning husband as he listened to me rant about the fact that I thought Henry should be taking a nap. “Didn’t we say we’d go with the flow a bit more? Just watch and see how things pan out?” However, going with the flow is easy when you’ve had 10 hours sleep, a long uninterrupted shower and a peaceful cup of coffee. Cue the reality of sleepless nights, the loss of your free time and a second small child to deal with and you’ve got a recipe for going slightly crazy!
Just last week, Henry also passed the one-month mark. Yes, welcome to week four: the week you think you can’t do this anymore! It’s around about this time that I found myself questioning whether I could really keep up with all this raising a baby thing. In truth, I’d forgotten how hard it was! So with week 5 now under my belt and in an effort to get my confidence back on track and put things in perspective, I’ve decided to take a look at what the internet and popular parenting books have to say. Here is my analysis on some of their ‘advice’ – from baby’s point of view…
BOOK: Swaddle your baby and place in cot for nap.
BABY: What in the name of the heck is this? A baby straight jacket?! We’ll see about that! [vigorously kicks legs and arms until they are free]. There, that’s much better. Now, what where we doing Mummy? Did I hear you mention ‘sleep?’ I’m certainly not ready for that just yet! Why don’t you pick me up again and do that rocking thing? Yes, that would be much better than lying here, which, I have to say, is terribly boring.
BOOK: Your baby should start to stretch out to 3-4 hours between feeds.
BABY: 3-4 hours?!!! Are you sh&*tting me? What are you trying to do? Starve me? Sometimes I might just be thirsty and want a few sips, and I don’t want to have to wait THAT long! [Cue: baby wailing] Don’t deny me my milky pops!!! [Cue: louder baby wailing]
BOOK: After baby has fed, make sure they have some activity time before napping again…
BABY: Mmmm, really enjoying this yummy milk, so warm and… [Baby nods off] What the…?!! Wait a minute, can’t you see I’m grabbing some shut eye here!!?! [Cue baby wailing loudly in unimpressed manner at being rudely awoken from post milk doze] I’m really not interested in the funny faces you’re pulling, I’d just like to… [Baby nods off again]
BOOK: After activity time, put your baby down for a 2 hour nap to take you up to next scheduled feed.
BABY: This rocking thing you’re doing feels really nice, I might even just… [Baby nods off, at which point you gingerly try to sit down to rest aching limbs] Wait a minute!! Did you just sit down?!! Get back up and get rocking!! [Baby now awake and wailing again.] That’s much better. [Baby nods off again so you place gently in cot for 2 hour nap.] HELLO!!! Didn’t I just say – don’t stop rocking!! [Baby’s eyes ping straight open as soon as back hits cot. Cue baby wailing.]
BOOK: Sleep when your baby sleeps.
BABY: [Wakes up from nap after 5 minutes. Cue baby wailing.] Wait a minute, were you actually sleeping there mummy?!? Come on! Let’s get up and do that rocking thing again!
BOOK: If baby wakes, allow baby time to self soothe – don’t rush in to lift them.
BABY: MUMMY!!!! Get in HERE!! [Cue failing arms and legs and baby wailing] What are you waiting for!! Get in here now and PICK ME UP! [Frazzled parent picks baby up] Ah, thank goodness, I thought for a minute there you were never coming!! Next time, snap to it a bit more quickly!!
BOOK: Schedule time for yourself while baby sleeps – try getting back into your exercise regime or sit down with a good book.
BABY: [One eye opens 10 minutes into scheduled ‘you’ time] Mummy? What ya doing there? Yoga? Nice!! Ok, let’s dust that now – come play with me!! [Baby awakens fully]
BOOK: Be careful of creating habits such as rocking your baby to sleep.
BABY: Oh come ON! Why are we knocking this rocking thing again!?! Mummy, you’re so darn good at it! Why stop!?! I promise I’ll not make you do it when I’m…mmm…let’s say, 5 years old? So let’s just see how we go until then, shall we?
Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.