My best friend had a baby back in November, her first. It was great being able to talk about and share all my learnings as well as those of my friends, and she was like I had been, asking for and soaking up all information given. She decided against NCT classes due to their cost and the fact that her area in Manchester did parenting classes (unlike our town which has one session a couple of hours long). So she was happy to ask around her friends who already had children.
I was the same, although I did do NCT classes as I wanted to meet some other mums going through the same thing as me so I’d hopefully make some friends for life and be able to share our problems and solutions.
My friend had been asking for various bits of advice, so I decided I would pull together all the hints & tips that my friends (online and offline) had found worked for us. In the end, I didn’t get a chance to pull it all together in time, but I’m going to add it here on the blog in small doses.
The Big One
The main rule on taking advice from others, whether that be friends, family, professionals or books, is to pick and choose. I think every parent would agree with that. It’s all very well raving about Gina Ford or the Baby Whisperer, but that’s one person’s view of what’s worked (or not) for them. And as a new parent you get given lots of advice, so you have to take on board what you like and discard anything that won’t fit into your family’s life.
- If they cry the first night they’re home, chances are they need another blanket. We had this – the next day we realised that N was usually in a really warm living room so the cool upstairs was just too cold. From talking to friends, the extra blanket seemed to work a lot
- Sleep when they sleep – everyone advises this, but I don’t know many people who actually did it. It’s usually the time for mums to get on with chores.
- Start a routine early on. If you want them to be used to getting up in the morning ready for when you go back to work, start this from the beginning
- When in sleepsuits early on, have day and night ones – it gets them used to getting changed ready for bed
- Once they’re sleeping through, turn down the sensitivity on the monitor (or off) – they’ll just wake you with all the noisy snuffling as they sleep when they’ll otherwise settle back down themselves
- If they’re not good sleepers, try finding out about all the different methods, choose one and stick to it. Here’s a selection that people I know have used with success.
Contented baby (Gina Ford) – routine from hell, it’s hard but it works, hated by lots of people – just a selection of views. I tried it but N wouldn’t wake when due to, so I picked and chose the bits that worked – bedtime routines, timings etc – he fell almost into her routine naturally on his own
No cry sleep solution – If you’re not a fan of letting children cry it out, then this suggests gentle options like pick up, put down.
Baby Whisperer – another softer version of easing baby needs into family/mum’s life, uses the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You) acronym.
Or just let them do their own thing…if that works for your family and you’re happy to do that (it would drive me mad, plus I’m of the view that if you’re going back to work, some sort of routine is probably easier to get into earlier rather than later).
So that’s my first part of hints and tips. If you’ve got any sleep tips to add (especially any toddler ones for when the cot sides come off – we’ve got that to come), do drop me a comment and I can add them in.