Parenting Trivial Pursuit

Always trying to find the answers? You either are or you're not. And I most definitely am. At every stage of motherhood I have been searching. Yes for my marbles, and also for the answer to every baby-related hurdle I come across.

Let's go back to the beginning. When Joey was just a button, every time we fed him and burped him, his milk came back up. Cue me worrying that he was going hungry, not sleeping well, waking up starving, and often not sleeping at all because he was ravenous. I was desperate for his milk to STAY DOWN, I needed to know the answer.

Do Smarties really only have it?

So I logged onto Amazon and as my husband Greg always puts it 'bought 8,000 different types of bottles and teats'. In reality, I bought about eight different types, and tried Joey on each bottle with teats of varying flow rates. I had to keep on trying until something worked. Anything to make life easier. And praise the lord, it was those fiddly little buggers, Dr Brown's bottles, that worked.

Praise be Dr Brown's bottles

The next problem I needed a solution for was our little chap's sleep. Some of my friends are mothers who can simply put their babies down and if they wake, they feed them, put them back down and just carry on this way knowing that one day they will figure out how to sleep through. Oh how I wish I was one of those mothers. But as my own mother will tell you, the words 'relaxed' and 'laid-back' are not in my vocabulary or WORLD. I wasn't happy just watching and waiting. I needed the solution YESTERDAY.

Thinking I was Mary Poppins, I pulled out many different items from my Amazon-shaped carpet bag, much to Greg's dismay. Just some of these items included, Ewan the dream sheep (legendary), a Sleepyhead, a rotating light projector, a Mamas & Papas musical mobile, followed by another musical mobile (one that was battery operated and played continuously so I didn't have to keep going into his room to wind it back up), a plug-in night light, swaddles and various sleeping bags, blackout blinds, noise-reducing curtains, a comforter (or several), lavender balm, dummies and white noise (I tried many different types but the ocean noise was our fave). I also tried to work out if Joey slept better if he had two small bottles of formula in the lead-up to bedtime, or one big bottle, or none in the last hour before bed in case he was sick / it gave him bad wind. Not forgetting the holy grail that is the BEDTIME ROUTINE that HAD to be followed religiously: bath, baby massage with oil, PJs and sleeping bag, bottle (or not depending on which idea I was trialling), story book (the same one every night - no exceptions) and the same goodnight phrase as we left the room: 'sleepy-time, night night'.

This bedtime routine never gets old

Amazingly, we were lucky enough that Joey started sleeping through from an early age. I put this down to dream-feeding, a method I finally clocked onto in the first couple of months. Either that, or Joey became so incredibly bored of my tedious techniques that he gave up and slept through so he no longer had to hear waves coming into shore, listen to shrill Christmas tones on his noisy music mobile, or stare at the dizzying neon stars circling his bedroom ceiling.

Bored of your constant Googling, Mum

With every stage Joey has gone through, I have always sought an answer or a QUICK FIX immediately, accompanied by copious eye-rolls from Greg. Mr Amazon and Mrs Google became my best friends, opening up pages and pages of experts' advice and forums for me to read. If I couldn't find the answer, then just reading other mums' experiences helped, having them assure me that 'it's just a phase' and 'before you know it you'll be trying to work out the next problem'.

Two years on, as I try and work out how to get Joey back to waking at 7am after the clocks went back this weekend (do I put him to bed later? Or earlier? Why is he ignoring his Gro-clock? Maybe I need to use the white noise again?), I know first-hand those mothers were right... I won't let myself get too lost in any one problem because the next one is just around the corner, getting ready to bite me in the a**.

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