Monday, May 16, 2011

How Long, O Lord?

Despite my best intentions and early enthusiasm, I have started none of the books I planned to read for this blog. I have, however, spent faaaaar too much time perusing baby books this week thanks to a certain little boy who for the past few months has been waking multiple times each night, purely (it seems) for the joy of having a crumpled parent arrive by his cot-side to say “shhhhhhh” and perhaps even stroke his head once or twice.
In the lead up to my wedding day I voraciously read any marriage book I could get my hands on in the hope that the more information I inhaled, the better a wife I’d make and the more likely our marriage would be to succeed. I’m not sure how much I actually took in – it’s hard to relate to instruction about a situation you’ve never been in (“Why would I ever find that irritating in my spouse??”) – but the authors all seemed to agree that marriage was hard work, and I felt somewhat better prepared for married life than I would have felt jumping in study-free.

I didn’t feel the need to study quite as hard before going into labour; having witnessed a few happy and healthy births, I approached the due date feeling mostly positive about the experience I’d soon be... experiencing. (Getting married was much scarier; I didn’t know what a happy and healthy marriage looked like). I still read a few books and tried to remember as many tips as I could about pressure points and positions, all the while knowing they’d probably leave my mind at the first pangs of labour.

So far so good: Marriage chugging along nicely, baby safely delivered – yay for books! Now to researching what to actually do with my small sprout in order to be the best mother possible!

OK, so I should put him on a, wait – routines aren’t good for babies under 3 months... no worries, will hold off on that. And I feed him on demand to build up my milk supply? Done. I think I like you, Expert #1! So should I feed from both sides, or just the- sorry, Expert #2? Oh, just feed him every three hours? And express too. Right... And if he's not on your schedule he won’t be sleeping through the night in 17 months’ time? Leave him to cry for how long?? Have you actually had a child, Expert #2? Next book... 

And on it goes. NO ONE seems to agree on exactly how one goes about bringing up baby in his first year of life. And I haven’t even started trying to figure out what to do with a toddler - GAH! If there’s anything more frustrating than having 7 different “experts” tell you 7 conflicting ways to have the perfect baby and feel “calm and confident”, then I’m not sure what it is. (Actually, it’s when people say, “Guess who I saw at the shops the other day!” and then actually expect you to guess.)

So I’ve decided to trust the mothering instincts God has given me, and to stop reading baby books looking for a magic nugget of advice that will forever solve all of our sleep problems. And just to get sleep when I can and keep praying that this crazy phase will end sometime really soon.

I, obsessive researcher and paranoid mum, do solemnly swear that I will not read another book about how to get my baby to sleep better (except for maybe ‘The No Cry Sleep Solution’ by Elizabeth Pantley, I’ve heard that one’s really good).

I’ll start reading the blog books instead. Sometime really soon. After a nap.

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