ParentingRewriting the Instruction Manual

Rewriting the Instruction Manual

Being first-time moms, my wife and I watched just about every YouTube video and read as many blogs as we could about what to expect and what to do for a variety of things when it came to having a baby. Baby sleep tips for newborns? Yup, heard those. Calm babies quickly? You bet. We could tell you how to “instantly calm a crying baby with four little-known techniques that work when nothing else does.” We heard and memorized them all.

But almost all of that went out the window a night or two after our son was born.

That’s when we entered into survival-of-the-fittest mode. What mattered was what would calm our son down, what made him sleep the longest, whatever it took at 2 a.m. when he was a mad little man to get just five more minutes of sleep. We dubbed our survival strategy “The 3 S’s.”

Swaddle (or cuddle against body tightly)

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Sway side to side

Shush (babies seem to love a loud shhhhh sound)

Our son also loves the over-the-shoulder burp position with lots of bum pats. Babies seem to love this because—we’d read—it simulates the same feeling as the mom’s heart beat when they were in the womb so they find it familiar and relaxing. I’m not convinced that’s exactly why, but no matter—he sure does love a bum bum pat.

Now we’re in Week 3 and everything we thought worked in the first week no longer applies. Those blog moms make it look so easy, but I guarantee you they were also pulling out their hair in those initial wee hours, offering everything they could imagine to get their little one to sleep.

Whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned pro, I’m sure you’ve had your moments too. It’s important in those moments to remember that whatever you’re facing at the time is temporary; you’re doing a great job—even if it doesn’t feel like you can do anything right—and it will pass.

My friends who have kids tell me “the days are long, but the years are short” and that’s what my wife and I tell ourselves when we’re so tired we can’t see straight. This time is hard, and that’s okay. But when you finally get those scrunched up snuggles and hear those tiny baby snores it makes the tough times a little easier. Before we know it, our son will be too cool for snuggles and we’ll miss those endless nights.

So for now I’ll skip the mom blogs and just do whatever works and when that doesn’t work there’s always strong coffee!

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