Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn’t it? Especially when it comes to babies. We can look back and either be happy with the way we muddled through things, or we can regret those little things we did to make our lives a bit easier. Such as giving baby a dummy to help aid sleep. In some ways I’m glad we have an easy tool to use to indicate sleepy-time, but in other ways, I think we’ve made a bit of a rod for our own backs as we’ll have to get her off it at some point… So we must get these ideas and tools from somewhere and in this day-and-age a lot of that is from our quick-fix: the internet!
One thing that I’ve wanted address since starting this blog is mums’ internet forums (not naming names but squash the words ‘internet’ and ‘mums’ together). They can be useful in looking up things you might be concerned about and see other parents’ opinions/tips. Believe me I looked up all sorts near the beginning, such as ‘why is my baby pooing so much’ or ‘baby hasn’t pooed for 36 hours. Is this normal?’ (Sorry for the poo-chat peeps… but that always seemed to be related to the important stuff). However they are beyond necessary when headlines pop up on social media such as ‘Do I cuddle my baby too much?’ (I mean what??!!) This wouldn’t have even popped into my head had this not been highlighted in a forum/parent ‘advice’ site. I just think that we are struggling through so many things when we are learning how to parent our little bundles of joy and questions like this are just NOT HELPFUL! A lot of these chats and headlines just put negative thoughts and ideas into mum’s heads. I don’t know about you, but I was worrying more than ever about everything- e.g. what to do when baby projectile vomits?; What and how much I’m feeding her.; Naps- where and how long?
I admit the cuddling one is an extreme example and when you read the articles that talk about these kinds of subjects, they are mostly a discussion about spoiling children and techniques for getting baby to sleep. But I just think they are so young, even with these opinions out there, I just think there is no way you can cuddle your baby, your offspring, your little bean too much. They deserve all the cuddles. We brought them onto this earth, if she is crying I will go and cuddle her. ‘Cry it out’… what even is that?! Yes of course some babies do cry a lot and when they need to sleep this can be the worst cry of all. But it’s all what you yourself can tollerate and feel is right. We luckily didn’t have it too bad when we were trying to wean baby off the night feeds and yes the dummy really helped!
I don’t profess to be an advice blog myself or want to change peoples opinions of these sites as they can be useful, especially when it might be difficult to even leave the house, and you are concerned about something small, but my advice to new mums is to avoid the internet (except for the NHS website and my blog…obviously!) Go with your instincts or go back to basics. As the mother of an 11 month old you sometimes forget the advice you were given at the beginning/before birth, as you look less and less at the minute details. E.g. she hasn’t pooed all day or has a cough.
We had so much hands-on advice before the birth about giving birth, labour and feeding etc, from NCT classes. And then immediately after the birth, you get a couple of health visits to help with your recovery and check baby is still alive. And then a few clinics are around for things such as breastfeeding or weighing the baby. But apart from that, you are just left to your own devices to muddle through being a parent. I need to remind myself of this advice quite frequently- just yesterday I was googling what bottle/cup to use when we progress onto cows milk. Obviously every different website gives different opinions to this question and the discussions are full of all sorts. But the resounding answer is to do what is best for your individual baby.
I would also say if you do decide to read these sites and ‘chats’ and ‘parent advice forums’, take it all with a pinch of salt. You are the parent. You know what your baby needs. If there is something you’re genuinely worried about, phone the NHS 111 line or visit your GP. You might feel silly asking at the time, but believe me, they’ve probably heard it all.