Children are the BEST thing a married couple can have; a new home comes in a close second. The first few days after the baby’s born are the sweetest. Everyone in your household pitches in with the baby’s care, especially if you are living in a joint family system (it’s an Indian-sub-continental thing). But after the furor has died down, the baby is left at the mercy of the untrained parents who try balancing everything from their disrupted nightly routine to the regular diaper changes; needless to say, the whole experience can be a bit overwhelming.
I started writing this post almost seven months back, right around the time when I was cradling my two-month old son to sleep and I revisited it only after reading a friend’s Facebook status update begging for help:
Can’t say I miss being with my li’l baby but I do feel good about my newly acquired balancing act of managing work commitments too. Now only if I can get back to my social commitments. Any tips from sleep deprived parents welcome! All others who plan to be smart-alecs by saying motherhood comes with sacrifices, please keep your traps shut! Lol.
Having gone through fatherhood twice, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on balancing sleep and kids. This sense of helplessness most parents experience can be somewhat alleviated if you somehow miraculously get to sleep through the night. So my dear friend and all my readers, I present to you some time-tested tips that work most of the times and will (probably) help you and the baby get a good night’s sleep; if everything fails, try praying.
- Get the baby checked for infantile colic and treat accordingly
- Try giving the baby a pacifier at night
- Let the baby snuggle with you; try the wonders of kangaroo care
- Change the baby’s diaper frequently; some babies are really fussy about a dirty diaper
- Sing the baby a lullaby; hush little baby!
- Take the baby in arms and pat him/her lightly on the buttocks
- Try a technique called the 5 S’s by Dr. Harvey Karp; I have tried it on more than one occasion and it works
- See if the baby is gassy and give him/her some gripe water; do check with your doctor before giving the baby anything
- If the baby is being breast-fed, check if the mother is fulfilling the baby’s needs; otherwise, ask the doctor for a suitable infant formula
- See that your kids are burped properly; if not, they may cry a lot and keep you up all night
- Set up a sleeping pattern with your partner so that you can each take 4-hour shifts watching the baby; a 4 hour sleep at a stretch is better than no sleep at all
- See if the baby has boogers in his/her nose; a stuffy baby is a fussy baby
- Make sure the temperature of the room is right; the baby will cry if it is too hot or too cold
- Get an automated swing; the swaddling motion is comforting for the baby
- Use toys like mobiles over the baby’s cribs; seeing a repetitive circular motion helps put them to sleep
- Buy cots that have a vibrating electronic device underneath; the vibrating helps babies go to sleep
- Maybe you are not handling the baby properly; there are several independent services who teach how to take care of a baby and you should try hiring one
- Take the baby for a ride in the car near its sleeping time; works like a charm
- Give the baby a stuffed toy to snuggle with; it’s better if you try point no. 3
- Teach your baby how to sign; apparently, it’s the new IT thing but I’ve never given it a try
- Give the baby lukewarm milk with some cardamoms as it helps relieve stomach pain and gas build-up (check with the doc before trying this out)
- Make sure the baby’s wearing comfortable clothes; an uncomfortable baby is a fussy baby. Babies outgrow clothes faster than older kids so make sure you have appropriate clothes for the baby.
- Check your baby for diaper rash and get your doctor to recommend an anti-rash nappy cream.
- Join a parenting group for new mothers; hearing other people’s problems may help you deal with yours better. OK. The last one came out wrong. It should be ‘a support group for new parents’. The mothers and fathers are in this together.
- Most babies adjust to a sleeping pattern three months after their birth, so wait out the sleepless nights, keep your fingers crossed and pray that your baby is one of them; think of this as a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel scenario
Some parents may actually resort to giving the baby up for adoption but I suggest you wait out the worst of it and you’ll be amazed at the things these kids do when they grow up. Remember; it’s these unique experiences, these memories, that bond you with your spouse and your children for life.