There is so much parenting advice available now, but who do you turn to for the best information?
There isn’t enough advice available to parents, is there? Who do you turn to for the definitive plan to raise kids?
If you think that this column is going to provide you with good, evidence-based and easy-to-follow advice to help you bypass the years of worry over sleep, food, development and strange behaviour of your children ... then you should probably click away now!
As a working Leitrim mammy with two children under five, I will bring you the trials and tribulations of parenting in this post- modern, information-overloaded and judgemental era — hopefully with a touch of humour. There might even be a few ideas to help your sanity.
Whether you have one, two or a whole Kiltubrid football team of children, each one is completely different and sometimes your hard-earned experience with your first is completely useless with your runaway second child.
As a first-time parent, you will find that your parents, grandparents and aunts will force their tried and tested advice quite adamantly from the moment they set eyes on your newborn. By the way, that baby should really have an extra blanket on — despite the balmy indoor temperature! Although your granny raised 20 children and swears “a small bit of brandy helped them with sleep” it is probably best to nod, smile and ignore that pearl of wisdom.
Once you have qualified past that tea party, it may be harder to resist the “worked for mine” other mum brigade.
They have one to four children and they all slept through the night from four weeks. They were eating steak and spinach by 12 months and fully potty trained and dusting the china by two. What they claim to offer is so very tempting — sleep. But if you agree to try out their methods, be warned — these mammies will need proof that you accept their word above all others.
They will drown you with a bag full of books and herbs and routines to fill every second of your day.
And then there is Google, Siri or Alexa, aka your personal servants. Despite your good intentions, the temptation of Googling your baby’s symptoms/ problems or lack of complete sentences by six months is too much to resist for most.
You will cave and find yourself looking up images of newborn poo, mind-boggling sleep routines and eventually you’ll ask the question: “Does my baby hate me?”
Always take online advice with a very large chocolate bar. I would have said a glass of wine, but then you can't drive to NoWDOC at 3am and let’s be honest that is probably where you are headed as your anxiety usually reaches fever pitch in the early hours. Lack of sleep will do that to you.
It is however important to always give your district nurse honest answers, despite her disapproving looks.
Try: “Yes, I turn my baby three times during his 20 second nap incase his head gets flat” or “No — we never bring the baby into our bed - who really needs to sleep?!"
Remember there is no baby manual, no one is perfect (even the instamums) and the baby is not crying just to spite you - but your three-year-old probably is!
My only small bit of advice is do what works for you and your family and go easy on yourself.
Happy Mammy = Happy Baby.