Pregnancy is a funny thing. All of a sudden strangers will stop you in the street to talk to you about your pending arrival, particularly women who love to talk about their experiences and pass on often unrequited advice. I would always take it with a grain of salt, as often the advice is more about their own self soothing than about your situation, however one of the best tips I was given when I was pregnant with Ol was to watch the Oprah Baby Language clip on Youtube.
After a while I started to hear the different cries and was able to work him out and get him what he need and it soon became second nature, to the point where I could hear other people’s babies ‘talking’ in the streets. Babies really are clever things and assuming your baby doesn’t have reflux or other difficulties, you can generally keep them pretty content just by observing them closely and listening to what they’re trying to tell you. I worked through last time so I found a routine meant that Ol was predictable enough for me to get him to sleep and pop the capsule under the table in a café meeting, and to not have to breastfeed him at an inopportune time! But everyone’s baby and situation is different so do what’s best for you.
+ Sleep promotes sleep. Most things with bubs are pretty intuitive but this one often throws a lot of new mums. The logical idea of ‘tiring your baby out’ doesn’t work so much – the more sleep they get the more they’ll want so if in doubt try for more sleep in the day in order to achieve better quality sleep in the night. When they become a toddler however the opposite is true and the more you can run them ragged the better!
+ Le Pause. Another goodie from Why French Children Don’t Throw Food is to pause for a couple of moments rather than rushing to your bub. Whether it be to get up for a feed in the night or rushing to pick them up when they’re crying, often just by giving your baby a few moments to sort themselves out they will develop self-settling techniques earlier on and become a little more content and self-reliant.
+ They’re probably overtired. If you find your baby is often crying for no apparent reason, they’re probably overtired and just need to be cuddled off to sleep. They’re human after all, like us mums, they cry when they’re tired!
The other thing I will say is to back yourself, and take other people’s advice with a grain of salt. You know your baby better than anyone and often people give advice that’s more about themselves than it is about you. Don’t be afraid to speak up if someone is doing something that you don’t agree with because if you don’t stick up for your bub who will? I once walked out on a relative because they insisted I bring Oli over for a visit when he was a newborn, only to open the door with watery eyes and proceed to tell me they had been sick for days ‘but they just had to meet him’. So don’t feel the need to be polite at the expense of your bub’s wellbeing, do what’s right for you and the bub and don’t feel bad if you have to offend people once in a while.