I read it in a book
Carrie Linder wonders whether books can help with babies.
As of three weeks ago, I am a mother. I quickly realised two things: firstly, there is no turning back, and secondly: I know more about the art of origami than I do about parenting a child (incidentally I know absolutely nothing about origami. I can’t even fold a swan out of a serviette). And so the research begins.

Luckily there is no shortage of books on the topic. The first one I flip through tells me I must make sure that I bath, eat and sleep while my baby sleeps between feeds. Sounds great in theory, but what if your baby doesn’t sleep between feeds? What to do if your baby prefers to attach himself to you like a whimpering limpet, whose whimpering very quickly becomes a bellow if you even try and put him down? I quickly discard that book and try and find one that can tell me something practical. Something I can actually use, like “how to go to the loo while holding your baby.”

The second book seems to think that the baby leaving the womb at nine months was an absolute mistake. Where they get this from I have no idea. As far as I know, babies have been leaving the womb after nine months since the beginning of time. If it was too early to make an exit you’d think babies would have figured that out by now and extended their stay. But apparently they’re not ready for the outside world and so it is my job to try and recreate a womb-like environment for my little man to live in. Think dark, warm and lots of heartbeat soundtrack CD’s. I can’t rightly say if this theory works or not. I personally think it is so ridiculous that I discard it outright.

Then I came across a book which advises me to wake my baby at 10pm for a feed. Now, like I said earlier, I don’t know a lot about babies, but there is one thing I do know: babies are like dogs in the sense that when they’re sleeping you leave them the hell alone.

So as you can see, not much luck on the book front. So I continue to wing it and live in the hope that one day I might be able to shampoo and condition my hair during the same shower. But for now, I'll still feel proud when my husband asks what I did today and I tell him I made something. His eyes will light up as he asks, “Supper?”
"No," I'll reply. "The bed." But what an achievement that is.

Do you think baby books offer practical advice?

Read more by Carrie Linder


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