It’s 4am on a Saturday morning and Albie’s decided that, instead of sleeping for any decent length of time, he’ll take a couple of 30 minute naps and spend the rest of the night staring at the canvas hanging above our bed and treating Kayley like a prized dairy cow. Any attempt to put him down in his Sleepyhead proves futile. ‘Why won’t my baby sleep?’ I type into Google.
The problem with any questions related to a newborn baby, is that there is never a single answer to ANYTHING. You can talk to midwives and health visitors, doctors and Mothercare shop assistants, and you can bet your life that whatever the question, the answer will begin with ‘all babies are different…’
So, despite swearing off personal Goognosis (Google Diagnosis) since convincing myself I was going through menopause, I head to my go-to resource for midnight research.
The results did little to help and ranged from: “My son has been sleeping 7 hours every night since we brought him home” (well bully for you, ya jammy git) to “I’ve finally started getting my baby off for 3 hour stints” (sounds good) “she’s six months old this weekend” (SIX MONTHS?! That’s five months away!).
So I’ve decided to swear off Goognosis for Albie too. But before I do I thought I’d share my five favourite searches since bringing our baby boy home.
1. My baby weed in his own eye, what should I do?
This has since become a semi-regular occurrence, but the first time it happened it gave me the proper heebie-jeebies. Thoughts of permanent blindness flashed through my mind and I was in such a tizz that I didn’t realised he’d wazzed all over me too. Turns out a baby’s wee is sterile and so a dash of lash is no need to be rash.
2. Is it normal for babies to hold their breath?
It’s midnight and we’ve just got Albie off to sleep after a very long feed and what seems like hours walking around the house humming the Beatles’ back catalogue. As he swings merrily in his crib I start to drift off to the sound of his tiny breaths, but right at the moment I’m about to enter cloud cuckoo-land, he stops breathing. I jolt upright, glaring towards the crib to try and discern any movement in the dim glow of the nightlight – nothing. I jump out of bed and peg it round to his crib and just as I’m about to pick him up he starts breathing again – his timing so impeccable I become sure he’s doing it just to give me some exercise. Turns out babies’ sleeping patterns are highly irregular, their immature lungs adapting to life out in the open – including pausing their breath for five seconds, completely unaware they’re giving their parents the fright of their life.
3. Why does my baby’s poo smell so sweet?
After several weekends on an NCT course (highly recommended), I knew exactly what to expect the first time I changed Albie’s nappy. Meconium is basically all the stuff from inside the womb that he’s ingested. It’s black, pretty odourless and has the consistency of treacle. What I wasn’t prepared for is the stage that follows and apparently lasts until he starts eating solids. It’s doesn’t only look like a chicken Korma with sesame seeds, but it smells sweet too – a friend compared it to a caramel latte, which has rather ruined my morning commute.
4. How can you tell if it’s wind or a smile?
My answer to this question is it’s always a smile. I’m a funny guy and Albie is very intuitive, but Google likes to tell me that there’s at least a couple of weeks to go until that smirk is anything more than a reflex. Whatevs Google.
5. My baby squeaks when he breastfeeds, is that normal?
If you’ve ever seen a baby feeding on the telly, you would presume that the act is a peaceful, soul-enriching one. But when Albie feeds he turns into the Tasmanian Devil. Suddenly Kayley’s nipple becomes the only thing in existence and if he can’t latch instantly then god help anyone in his path. When he does latch, which thankfully is usually very quickly, he often sounds like he’s swallo wed the squeaker in a dogs toy. Google has several answers for this, my favourite being one lady asking if there’s helium in breastmilk.