How did mothers in the past survive without parenting books/sleep schools/sleep training books? (Alt title: How parenting books/sleep schools can fuck up your first year as a parent)

Right, what’s my beef today?

Parenting books. Sleep Schools.  Sleep Training Books.

What the actual fuck?

From under which rock did they turn up from?  How did mothers in the ye olden times look after their sprouts?  How, really?

As if this parenting (especially first timers) gig isn’t daunting enough.  Desperate parents fork out loads of dough to seek ‘advice’ from these books/schools.  All they do is add more stress to the cause.  Thanks.  No Thanks.

 

Put down awake but drowsy

Good luck to you if you are able to do this.  I don’t know who you are but congrats, well done etc.  You try doing this to some babies and see what happens.  This is not possible for most parents.  For the sake of self-assurance (ok, more of a what the fuck am I doing wrong), I trawled parenting forums to see what other parents are doing.  It’s ok, I’m not the only one who isn’t able to do the put down awake but drowsy bullshit.  Some moms are still rocking/feeding/cuddling to sleep.  Yet most of them have been suffering silently while they read of other moms’ ‘achievements’ in getting their bubs to ‘self-settle’ (oh don’t get me started!) and sleep at the appropriate nap times and night bedtime.

Seriously get the fuck out.

 

Self-settling

HAHAHAHAHAH a 12 week old baby self settles to sleep?  Or some moms like to embellish the truth a little by telling all and sundries that their babies self settle at 6 weeks.

I call bullshit.  Who the fuck are you people?  Do you know babies are babies for a very short while?  You want to put them in a big cot, all alone in a big room by themselves and put themselves to sleep on their own accord?  Who the fuck are you people?

Who was the first person who came up with this genius of an idea that it is good for the baby to be put flat on the cot, in its own room, by itself, self-settles in the early weeks so as to be independent?

 

Sleep through the night

Just have a quick glance through parenting forums and you will find the common question asks for how to get baby sleep through the night.  Look, most babies don’t.  It’s natural for them to wake up during the night.  Maybe once, maybe twice, maybe I don’t know.

To expect a 6 or even 12 week old baby to sleep through the nigh is ridiculous.  Reality is some babies won’t even sleep through the night at 2 years old.

Get used to it.

I know I’d been stressed for the past months of WHY ISN’T THE BABY SLEEPING! But now, I appreciate all the extra cuddles times

 

Cry It Out

Why would you intentionally let your baby cry it out?  So it won’t be dependent on you?

They are babies, they are supposed to be dependent on you!

 

Breast is best

Ok, we all know breast milk is best for your baby.  But what happens if you are not able to breastfeed?  It’s frightening how many of these ‘experts’ are saying to persist as breastfeeding is the most natural thing (oh, like vaginal birth without drugs?).  This puts a lot of pressure on some moms who want to (or maybe not want to) but can’t.  Can’t/not able to, due to a myriad of reason.  Not all new moms can breastfeed and this can be distressing.   We should encourage FED IS BEST.

 

Being a first time mom is a learning curve.  It is daunting enough for most of us (I say most because judging by ‘instagram moms’, seems to be an easy gig for them, in between baby wearing and breastfeeding and housewarming and looking glam all at the same time).

 

Ditch the books.  If you can’t, take and disregard.

 

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My human child and my furry child

So this is happening in my household.

My partner got our human child a walker (a Joovy Spoon – best of all the walkers he’s researched on) and he loves it.

Put him in it and he’s the happiest boy ever, zipping and bolting around the place.

He loves his walker!

But he also loves his furry sister.

Every opportunity he gets, he wants to be near her.  He’s so happy now that he is mobile on his own accord.  He seeks out his sister to play with.

However, little human child hasn’t learnt the skills of gentle as yet.  While he loves to bolt toward his sister to touch her, she defiantly sits in the middle of his path.  This is a recipe for a lot of tears.  From her.

Lately, she’s become more needy.  She never used to like much attention from us, happy to just do her own thing.  She’s been wanting more from us lately and becoming more daring in sitting near her human brother.  Well she really wants to be near us so she gets pats.  But that’s the sort of risks she is willing to take.

She didn’t want to be near him for the first 6 months.  Then one day, while he was having his afternoon nap, I found her laying at his feet during his nap time.  I think it’s at that point, she’s decided this little human is ok.

It’s a big change for the old girl, having been an only child and now she needs to share the attention and love.  But she gotta look at this way, she’s getting more love – from another human!

 

 

 

Mommy Introvert (alternative title: I am an introvert and a first time mom)

I am an introvert.

And I am comfortable with this.

However since giving birth, I have started to question how this will impact my child.

I have read all these stories of moms going to play groups, mothers groups, play dates etc and I wonder am I denying my child of something by not going to these groups?  It seems that these groups are more for the benefit of the mother than the child.

I have no desire to go hang out with other mommies comparing child raising notes.  Being a first time mom is daunting enough.  Just imagine the constant comparison.  This would drive me beyond insane.

Perhaps after he’s had his 12th month’s vaccinations, I could start taking him to swim classes.  Not sure how that’d go down though.

Rejection from my child

This sounds rather pathetic but I feel rejected by my child.

The child I’d gone to hell and back for.  The child I love with all my heart.  The child I’d sacrificed my life for.  The child I could not imagine I’d be a mother to (because I didn’t think I’d be a mother).  The child who doesn’t like to sleep.  The child who now whines more than laughs.

Yes my child.

This very child prefers his dad though.  His face lights up when his dad enters the room.  His face lights up when he sees his dad comes through the door  when he finishes work.  He cries and whines and screams when he can’t see his dad.  No amount of love nor cuddles from his mother could comfort him.  The only thing that can turn the sad face into a smiley face is his dad.

How do I feel about this?  I feel sad.  I feel hurt.  I feel rejected.  I feel incompetent.

I ask myself where did I go wrong?  Why does my child reject me?

I don’t have an answer.  He just prefers his dad.

No matter what it is, I am still his mother.

I still love him no matter what.

Today I really feel like a failure

He won’t settle.

He won’t sleep.

He pushes me away … cuddles no longer work.

He fights me with everything … changing nappies is a nightmare.

He doesn’t even grin at me anymore as he used to when he wakes up.

He cries and screams so much, nothing I do can comfort him.

All this remind me of the difficult pregnancy.

All this remind me of the failed induction.

All this remind me of the failed natural birth.

That’s right, I can’t even do what a woman naturally is supposed to do.

I have failed.

I really hate my noisy neighbours

I live in an apartment complex where there’s common amenities like a garden in the middle, a pool, a sauna, gym, museum (it used to be a brewery).

There used to be a higher percentage of owner-occupier to rentals.  Now it’s the other way round.

Our upstairs neighbours like doing laundry at night … as in 11.30pm to 2.30am.  They also like dragging furniture at night too.  Whenever they put a wash on, the pipes rattle and our apartment shakes with banging noise of the pipes.

The neighbours downstairs like to slam doors … day and night.

Today they had an all day party taking over the whole garden and pool.  The pool shuts at 10pm so what do they do?  They moved the party into the apartment, out onto the balcony.

I am sleep deprived as it is with a difficult baby.  Tonight we have to deal with shouty footballer types shouting at the balcony and the neighbours slamming doors.

I hate my neighbours.  I really really do.

 

I chopped off my locks

For the first time since his arrival, I went out without him.

Yes, first time in mooooooonths!

I finally made a salon appointment to get my hair sorted out.

I have very long hair to my waist.  I’ve been colouring and trimming my hair as I can’t bear to get it done.  I find, in my past experiences, hairdressers annoy me too much.

Not this one.  Kim is a mom too, to 3 kids.  Having a conversation wasn’t painful.  Most important of all, she knows exactly how I want my hair done.

So two achievements in one day.  This is after a huge meltdown from being sleep deprived.  My precious lil boy has been waking up every hour or hour and half for the past couple of weeks.  I am broken.

So today, I got over my anxiety of being out without him and having my hair cut in a salon.

Small achievements by any means but big deal to me.

No, don’t do this or that! Oh really? Fuck off already!

Being a first time mommy is overwhelming as it is.  Throw a whole lotta guilty advice in the mix, and you get very nervous mommies.

So, let’s talk about all these things we aren’t supposed to do.  Well, ya know, it’s ‘against the rules’!!!

 

Co-Sleeping

If you go onto any parenting forums or read any parenting websites, apparently you are not to co-sleep or you will kill your baby! Yes, that’s correct.  You must put your freshly popped out newborn in a giant cot on its own to sleep.  Or you will kill it!

I wonder how all these other nations where mothers co-sleep with their babies feel about this.  In Japan where mothers co-sleep and breastfeed their babies,  I wonder how high rate of SIDs is?  Lowest in the world.

Newborns are, well, newborns for a very short period of time.  They need their parents close by instead of being put in a huge cot alone in a room.  I don’t understand it.

Common sense is needed when dealing with co-sleeping.  Naturally, parents shouldn’t be inebriated, been smoking, on drugs.   Co-sleeping can be made safe.

Something like this can be used for the baby and still be close to the mother:

zsd-200_1z

 

Don’t feed to sleep/Don’t rock to sleep

Now this is a confusing one.  Some say don’t feed baby to sleep.  Rock til baby is drowsy then put it in its cot and WALK AWAY.  Then there’s some saying don’t rock to sleep or it becomes a sleep association you will have to rock it to sleep forever!!! (ok, maybe not forever but you get my drift).

The whole feed, play, sleep method is great if your baby works with you.  Ya know, great if you can do it if you’re one of the parents who can execute this method to perfection.  However, it doesn’t work for others.  What are you gonna do when you have a screaming baby who just won’t adhere to these methods and … rules?  I got told off by the lactation consultant GP (whom we paid a lot of money but no good returns for) and the child health nurse that the baby has to fit around our lifestyle.  Oh really?  Would they like to come over when the baby is screaming lungs off in the middle of the night waking up the whole apartment complex (my neighbours hate me, oh the dirty looks they gave me when they walk past!).

In a nutshell, we gotta do what works for us to the best of our abilities for the well-being and safety of our babies.  Following other people’s rules will only drive us insane and make us feel more guilty as we already do.  These rules and methods work perfectly for some mothers.  Ya know what, that’s good for you but the rest of us struggle and we we just gotta improvise.

 

No screen time

Ok, I am an exclusive pumper.  The breastfeeding mafia can fuck off on this also.  I had a traumatic birth and postnatal experience.  My baby was taken away to nursery in my sleep and the hospital didn’t help with breastfeeding.  In fact, they fed him formula while in the nursery.

So, when they finally let us go home after holding us in the hospital and refused to let us leave, I pumped and fed him.  Why?  Even after engaging services of lactation consultant and lactation consultant GP, we still had issues.  Even the lactation consultant GP told me that ‘it’s ok not to breast feed, formula is ok’.  Yes, this came from a registered lactation consultant GP.  Hearing this from an expert, what could I do?  As if I didn’t feel enough guilt and failures with the birth, I now had to deal with the failure of not able to breastfeed.

So I pump.  I have to pump whenever I can.

There have been times when he was so hungry, he drank all that I’d pumped. So I was pumping while looking after him so I could feed him straight after.

As he grows bigger, it becomes harder to entertain him while I pump.  This and to make sure he is safe … and not screaming.  You can’t really predict what a baby will do.  He may sit happily playing with his toys then the next moment he’s screaming his head off.  Sorry not all of us have perfect, quiet, well-behaved babies.

Well, put him on the floor to entertain himself, they say.  Let him have tummy time, they say.  Give him toys and get him to entertain himself, they say.  Really?

What happens when all these methods fail?  What do you do?

I need to feed my child.  So yes, I am ‘guilty’ of exposing my son to ‘screen time’.

Why?  Because it works.  He is happy to sit next to me to watch a bit of Peppa Pig or Curious George or Lily’s Driftwood Bay while I pump … without screaming or wanting me to carry him around.  This works for us.

For you anti screen time nazis out there.  Good for you that your baby is quiet and well behaved and you can breast feed them.  Good for you that it works for YOU.

Well, this works for me.  He sits next to me quietly while I pump for his next bottle.  What I’d observed is that he doesn’t want to watch the screen for a long time but he’s happy to be distracted even for a brief period while I pump a bottle to feed him after.

 

I love my baby.  And I will do anything to keep him safe and do whatever I can to make him happy.

The most important thing about this motherhood gig is?

Be there for your baby.

 

 

My lil boy listens to Drum and Bass to sleep

Yes, you read it correctly.  My son listens to Drum and Bass to sleep.

Reading mothers’ suggestions in online forums of white noise or lullabies or classical music made me cackle.  None of them worked for my lil boy.

One evening when putting the lil boy to bed, my partner put on Techno.  The baby loves it.  Yes, he loves it.  Then another night, he put on Drum and Bass.  He loves that too.  So he’s been listening to Drum and Bass to sleep every night.

We live in an apartment complex and it can get quite noisy at times.  We decided before we brought him home that we won’t tip toe around in hush hush.  I guess playing music in the apartment since his arrival worked.

Playing the music helped him adjust to the daily loud noises around the apartment on a daily basis.  Just then the neighbours were drilling in their apartment.  He didn’t wake up screaming.