Kate, Get Off Google.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

I wouldn't say that I'm a control freak, but I do like knowing what's going on so I can prepare/plan appropriately. And generally I'd say that knowledge is power, but I'm actually not too sure anymore. I actually kinda feel like, sometimes, too much information isn't a good thing. 

The moment you find out that you're pregnant, you're pumped full of information. Of things that you can and can't do, what you can eat, what will happen, how the baby is developing. So naturally, you worry about what you're eating, whether you baby is normal, whether you and your pregnancy are normal. And then once baby is born, it's the same. But what people seem to forget is that every mum is different. Every baby is different. And every mum/baby combo is different. So while there might be an average baby that they base research and information on, chances are, that baby is not your baby.

It can be really hard to remember that. You want to fit the mould. You want your baby to be sleeping through like that other baby and you want to hear that yours is pooing just as much as someone else's. And then when they don't, you google. Because if your baby isn't like that baby then there must be something wrong right? Ha! Well when I heard from my midwife that a normal baby poos from eight times a day to once a week, I really did realise that there is a huge spectrum of "normal" and most of the time, you'll fit in it. And sometimes babies do things that are different and that's normal too.

At my discharge appointment with my midwife, I told her that Jackson wasn't sleeping as much as he used to in the day, in fact he was really alert and hard to put to sleep. And she said, oh - that's because he'll probably be up for about 2 hours at a time now. See! Change! Here I was, frantically trying to get the poor little guy to sleep because I had read that newborns should only be awake for about 45mins to an hour otherwise they get overtired. I was completely ignoring Jackson's signals and just going off what I had read. We were swaddling and shushing, and stressing that he wouldn't sleep but Jackson hadn't yawned once! No wonder he wasn't sleeping, he just wanted to hang out with his parents. And since I've started really paying attention to what HE wants, our relationship is a lot better. I'm more relaxed and easy going, and he's content and awake, and goes to sleep happily and tired.

It's really made me wonder, what would happen if we just ignored the advice and research, and just followed what our babies wanted? If we just let go, got off Google and enjoyed them. If we stopped comparing our baby's sleep or feeding pattern to someone else, and did what felt right. And I'm not sure if this kind of attitude just works for newborns when they're still so fresh and changing all the time. It's always hard when development and routine comes into it because I guess, you want to make sure you're doing the right thing by them. But then again, they all start eating/walking/talking at different times, all kids have different brains and subjects they enjoy and are good at. So maybe we just need to trust our instincts a bit more and go with what feels right.

For me, it's going to take awhile to fully embrace this new way of thinking. A bit of brain rewiring is going to be needed to be done, but I can already see the benefit in adopting a more free-flowing attitude so I'll just have to try my best! I know there is a bit of a fine line between being ignorant and going with what feels right in an informed way, so I think it's going to be about finding more of a balance. And probably, looking things up if we are having a problem or can't figure out what's wrong, rather than pre-empting issues that MIGHT pop up. Making sure that I understand the big developmental moments and how to deal with them, but also realising that little Jackson does know what he's doing and sometimes, the best thing to do is follow his lead. 

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