A Day Three pre-rocked LouisI'm never alone when I rock Louis to sleep. Aside from the obvious, I can always count on the company of a nagging voice in my head that gets stuck on repeat. "Don't get your newborn used to being rocked to sleep; you'll regret it when they're 17 pounds." That little gem was one of the many priceless tips I gleaned from my extensive pre-birth baby book reading: I find it comes in particularly handy now that Louis is 17 months and a good 10 or so pounds past that 17 pound cut off.
Given how 'useful' that bit of advice turned out to be, I started thinking about all the other so-called top tips I wish I'd never read while pregnant. Up there with thou shalt not rock your baby, was the one about those glider rocking chairs. You know, those ridiculously comfy (and expensive) chairs, that adorn "proper" nurseries. Well, apparently they're lethal. All that rocking might comfort your baby so much that they get too used to it. Plus heaven forbid you should actually be comfortable for all those hours and hours - and hours you spend nursing and soothing your child. Avoid! Avoid!
Then, in no particular order of irritation and uselessness we have:
- Don't carry your baby around too much in a sling. He/she will get so sick of hearing your voice that they'll start tuning you out. (With thanks to, 'What to Expect those first 12 fraught months for that one, a personal favourite that yes I did worry about as I burbled away to Louis.)
- You're the boss, not the baby: don't let him/her dictate when he/her needs to eat. Put the baby on a schedule asap and don't be its slave. (No prizes for guessing where I read that. And yes, I know I want shooting for even picking up the dreaded Gina.)
- Think EASY and you'll have your baby in a routine in no time. That's Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time. (You think it's obvious when the baby's still in your tummy, but you try keeping a newborn from sleeping after a feed, or getting it straight to sleep after playtime. Actually, don't. It will drive you nuts. Thanks for nothing Baby Whisperer.)
- It's never too early to start getting baby used to a bedtime routine. (But what the books don't tell you is that do that and you'll miss out on all those opportunities of taking out your very portable newborn. Plus routine, schmoutine: I was anal about bedtime from about week three and fat lot of good it did me.)
- Start expressing milk pronto so the baby's dad can do the 11pm feed and you can go to bed early. (It might sound sensible, but that advice is just wrong on so many levels, from making you stress about expressing when you have better things to worry.)
- Sleep when the baby sleeps. (What if it doesn't? Or you can't? Another way to make me feel incompetent.)
- Avoid vibrating baby bouncers. Ditto singing mobiles or anything else that will get your baby too used to a sleeping 'crutch' ever to fall asleep by himself. (And make life even harder for your sleep-deprived self? Brilliant advice, that. Advice that I diligently followed, opting instead for a beautifully designed number that I liked but Louis - sorry Great Aunt Claire - never adored.)
I could go on, but I'm seriously depressing myself. I had intended to balance this post with a list of tips I did find useful (that'll be quite short, then) plus add some of my own, but I've already broken Daddy J's golden "keep it short and sweet" blogging rule. I'd love to hear which "tips" keep you constant company in your hours of need. Or, cynic that I am, any that did indeed prove sanity saving.