Sunday, 13 October 2013

Walking on egg shells

It's Sunday evening and I feel like I am walking on egg shells. Every move I make, every door I open, even turning the kettle on feels like it's going to wake my 9 week old son.
For the whole, he's a bloody good baby and a great sleeper. He usually only wakes once a night for a feed, sleeps well during the day and smiles a lot. He provides my wife and I with plenty of laughs even at this young age and we both love him to pieces. Interestingly though, he typically gets grizzly from 6pm to anywhere up until midnight. Apparently this is normal, however, this this evening is worse than normal.

We took him to a friend's 30th birthday BBQ today which was an hour from our house. He loves getting in the car and my wife needed to cure her cabin fever. However, we are paying for it this evening! He is unsettled and over tired and requiring a lot of attention to get him to sleep.

Every parent you talk to has a different view on how to settle a baby. Do you hold them until they fall asleep? Some say yes, others say no, this only gets the baby in a habit of sleeping when you hold them, and you can't be holding them all night. Do you control sleep them? If so, from what age? Some say yes, it takes a couple of hard weeks of training but saves you in the long run. Others say no, new borns need love and affection in the early months, letting them cry themselves to sleep can lead to problems down the track. Do you rock them? Sing to them? Talk to them? Pat them? Maybe you give up and just cry with them!

My wife and I have read a couple of recommended baby books. Actually that's a lie. My wife has read them and passed on the good parts! Both of these books recommended very different approaches. So, I digested it and was left scratching my head. It is difficult to know the right approach, if there actually is one.

For those that are interested, this is the usual sequence of events to get our little man to sleep in the gremlin hours (6pm-midnight):

1. Half feed him;
2. Change his nappy;
3. Bath him - he loves the bath and it seems to settle him;
4. Dress him;
5. Feed him the remainder of the feed;
6. Burp him;
6a. Wipe the vomit off your shoulder;
7. Put the dummy in his mouth and hold him for 5-15 minutes until he is asleep;
8. Put him into his cot; and
9. Pray he stays asleep.

If he wakes up, it is usually for one or two of three things; he's filled his nappy (re-change it), he has wind (burp him again - he usually burps within a minute), or he's over tired (grit your teeth and strap yourself in for a few hours).

There is a fine line between giving a baby to muchnlove and affection by holding them when they cry, and not giving them enough love and care by letting them cry themselves into a frenzy. Plenty of psychology studies conclude that babies who are control cried from a young age (approximately 12 weeks or younger) can become disconnected from others. They may not be as affectionate as those brought up being held a lot and can apparently have trouble with relationships, friendships or love when they are older.

Other studies advise that babies who are control cried learn from a young age to be self dependant and not rely or depend on their parents holding or hugging them to be comfortable.

Whatever the right or wrong answer is, I can tell you, if you take a 9 week old out for the day, you'll know about it for the next! For us with our first baby, it has been, and continues to be, a steep learning curve. We have learnt a hell of a lot in the last 9 weeks. However, we'd love to know more!

I'm interested in what other parents do with their young kids and happy to hear any tips, tricks or traps for young players! If you wish to provide words of wisdom, please leave a comment below.

All the best,
Dom Meese

*Photo courtesy of jen304ny on Flickr


  1. Awesome blog Dom!!! The titles great:)
    Sorry, no words of wisdom but it's pretty funny what parents can do to help make babies fall asleep! You and Suzie's 9 steps are awesome! :D

  2. Basic principle: remember he's not just a baby but a separate individual with all that means.

    One thing that means, is that just because he/ she is crying, doesn't mean the parent has done anything wrong, so parents shouldn't feel guilty. Try different strategies but "obsessed" parents add stress instead of good values. Parents have to learn to be moderate in all things, and so too the baby - who should always know they're loved and feel secure - but they too, need to learn moderation instead of being spoilt - especially in this day and age. It starts from the cot!

  3. Thanks Tess! Appreciate it.

    Anonymous, I agree with you. Thanks for your comment. Sometimes we just have to grit our teeth and bear it. We try not to pick him up when he's crying unless it is constant, in which case it is usually a quick pick up, burp, settle him and put him back down.