Ben’s turned 6 months couple weeks ago and naturally I found myself adrift in self-reflection. Watching him happily babbling away, I asked myself if I’ve learnt anything during Ryan’s first 6 months that, knowingly or unknowingly, I applied this time around and discoevered it actually works.
Turns out, I have.
Therefore, to celebrate 6 months of Bennie’s time in this wonderful world, I’m sharing 6 most important things that have made my life so much more manageable this time around. And dare I say more enjoyable.
Now, I’ve always been very honest about how I feel about anything I write on this blog. When it comes to motherhood, there is seriously nothing I dislike more than unwanted advice. So it’s kinda funny that I am writing a post that may sound like I am actually offering some type of advice (talk about contradiction). But if you’re reading this, don’t take anything in this post as such – take it as another mum’s experience that may make you feel better about whatever you decide to do or are currently doing. So to kick things off:
1. Dealing with unwanted advice (that somehow ALWAYS happens at the worst possible time).
Family, friends and (my favourite) randoms, may offer you all sorts of advice on absolutely everything baby related – some that may even provoke a visibly annoyed look on your face – but you may need to just smile, say ‘thanks so much, I’ll definitely think about it’ and carry on with your own thing. And hopefully you are better at ‘smile and thanks so much’ bit than I am – I am generally the visibly annoyed look on my face kinda gerl. But I found that this time around (for most part!) I’ve actually let the poor person at least finish their thoughts vs cut them off mid sentence. Just that simple act of kindness did wonders! They felt good cause they thought they helped. I felt good cause I managed to keep my friends and not upset family members (read, my mum) too much. Did I actually use their advice? For most part not. But I did let them talk. Hey, it’s a start.
2. Using Google for anything baby’s health related.
Stop it. Now. Speak to the real doctor.
3. Settling my baby (and succeeding at it!).
I don’t know what works for other parents, but there are few things I stick to that simply never fail me while trying to settle Ben. Firstly, I choose the most boring room possible (I mean boring by baby standards), which is my living room. Beige, wood and subtle grey tones would put anyone to sleep. Reality is, stuffed toys, wall decals and bright stuff everywhere – which is what Ryan’s baby room used to look like – would only get him more excited about the prospect of not falling asleep. Thanks Disney. Secondly, I hold him tight. He’ll occasionally try to wriggle out but if I’m holding him tight, every time – and I mean every time – he’ll fall asleep faster cause he’ll just give up. The worst thing I used to do was adjust how I’m holding him whenever he would wriggle (I know I mentioned that in one of my other posts) which would actually always backfire. So what you need is a boring room and one settling technique – and perseverance. It really works.
4. Sleep regression
Happens sometime between 4-6 months. You know what I’m talking about, right? Seriously, there’s nothing worse. You just reach the stage where your bub is sleeping through the night (and you are starting to feel semi human) and then BAM! Back to zombi life. For some, it’s once a night, for others every couple hours and for a few very unlucky ones even more frequent than that. I’m convinced it’s about this time parents also vow not to have more children! WHEN WILL HE/SHE EVER SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT!!?? (Insert screaming emoji). Luckily, I have made a huge progress with Ben vs Ryan in that regard. Look, I could totally be wrong here but I could also be onto something cause it’s definitely working. With Ryan, I always used to think ‘he must be hungry.’ Obvious choice. Regardless if he ate just fine during the day, if given a bottle in the middle of the night, he would still eat. That unfortunately created one of two problems – he’d fall back asleep but get used to his night snacks and therefore keep waking up each night, or he’d now be completely awake, tired and gassy and would struggle to go back to sleep. With Ben – when he started waking up around 5 month mark, I tried a different approach. I knew he ate ok during the day so I chose not to feed him. Instead, I just took him in my arms and resettled him back to sleep. My theory is that he would simply wake up for no particular reason. Like we do sometimes. His regression lasted 3 days.
I chose no to do that to myself this time. After all, if we are being honest here, routine is for us parents, not the baby. Our lives have a routine so it makes perfect sense that theirs should too. And they will – but I didn’t focus on it in the first 6 months. For me it was easier going with the flow. And Ben appreciated it. I know (this time from experience) that it will come naturally.
Argh. 4 month? 6 months? Which food groups first (I’m sure you all heard don’t give them fruit first cause they’ll get hooked only on fruit)? There are essays online on this subject. Bottom line is, at your 4 month check up speak to your doctor about it. And then follow my number 1 and 2 above 🙂
Now, it wouldn’t be fair (nor truthful) to say all I’ve done is just learnt from my mistakes this time around. There is actually one thing I managed to go backwards in – not getting Ben out of his swaddle-up early enough. I’ve left the poor fella in that thing way to long (up to couple days ago) and needless to say he’s been waking up every hour last couple nights cause he’s so used to his arms being up and controlled. So yes, few sleepless nights up ahead until he gets used to the new way of sleeping.
But hey – I’m only human. At least he settles easily. 🙂