Babies are expensive. Everyone starts to tell you this about a minute after you announce your happy news. You nod politely but secretly imagine yourself laden with baby joys in one hand and a full purse in the other. After all, you are a master shopper. Bargains fall into your hands. Shopping is easy.
When your bump is sufficiently secure and protruding, you will start the exciting task of equipping yourself for ze bebe. This involves reading endless blogs, signing up for every advisory webpage under the sun and, primarily, mothercare and mamas and papas, reviewing endless “must have” lists and seeking individual and personal recommendations from anyone who has ever been in close proximity to a child.
It is at this point you start to realise that, yes, everyone was quite right: if you survive the birth, you may be bankrupt. How can such a small thing require so much stuff??
This is the first of a series of blogs on baby stuff.
Let’s start with the simple stuff. When you think of a baby, how do you imagine them? Peaceful, angelic….snoozing. You usually imagine them asleep, right? So it probably doesn’t cross your mind that your baby might not actually sleep. Of course he will sleep! I’ve seen lots of them, it’s all they do!
How wrong you are.
You get all the basic sleep devices for a tiny human being; a moses basket, maybe a crib or a cot attached to your bed, or separate, ready for the big move after 6 months (!!). You get the special mini sheets and blankets and cushions-for-ants. Maybe even a dangly musical mobile, and the special sheep – you know, Ewan the Sheep, the fluffy white, glowing noise machine that pretty much everyone and their uncle recommends… (see pic!) But that’s just the start, my friends. You see, the baby won’t actually want to sleep in the basket when it is bed time. Or in the crib. Ewan the blessed Sheep won’t help. In fact, there is only one sleep thing baby requires and that is to sleep on mummy. He doesn’t care about white noise, soft sheets or mobiles. He wants warm, milky, sweaty, tired mummy.
By the way, it is strongly recommended by the NHS, the midwife, the health visitor, your mum etc. that baby does not sleep with or on you. PANIC FACE. What do you do? You’re extremely sleep deprived and insanely protective of this little thing. Ok, it makes sense that they should not sleep on you or in your bed – what if you fall asleep or roll over? It’s logical and safe advice not to do it. Except logic isn’t necessarily prevalent right now. Your baby literally won’t sleep anywhere that’s not you. And just as a reminder, you haven’t slept yourself in what feels like a decade. You are literally delirious from sleep deprivation. Every time you feed the little babe they fall asleep on you. So what the heck do you do? This was the situation we found ourselves in. To make matters worse Bébe FF wouldn’t sleep on his back at any time, so even when we managed to get him to sleep somewhere that wasn’t on mummy (or daddy, or grandma) then we had to wedge him onto his side. Not as bad as him sleeping on his front, but still not ideal.
If sleeping problems happen to you, you may need the next level of sleeping device. And you guessed it, there are loads to choose from, they all claim to work miracles and they come with a hefty price tag. There’s the baby swaddles that claim to work miracles (we found certain “normal” blankets worked well and secured Bébé FF nicely), baby sounds and smells (lavender and camomile) and then there’s the memory-foam-based-item-that-feels-safe-and-snuggly to essentially wedge your baby into a position that they feel safe enough to sleep in like a womb (like the cocoonababy, the sleepyhead, etc, although sometimes towels will do). Why someone hasn’t invented one in the shape of boobs I do not know.
In our house, le must ‘ave for sleeping baby is the “Lambie” – a lambskin that bébé can snuggle into, that keeps him warm or cool, and travels around in all sleeping devices as a constant. He loves it.
Oh and one last thing – when they are asleep safe and sound in their cribs or cots or baskets, with their sleepyheads, sleeping music and sleeping suits, you will then need a baby monitor to check – roughy every 2 seconds – that your bundle is, in fact, asleep.
A baby monitor is essentially a walkie talkie. Except baby monitors do so much more. They are literally all singing all dancing… you can get ones with a camera and screen and a light show and musical accompaniment, including white noise, classical music, ones with a safety mat alarm thingamy (I’ve heard these are more hassle than they are worth) – the choices are endless. Naturally, the level of technical wizardry is proportionate to the level of $$$ you will be handing over. This may be one that Daddy decides is his domaine. Mr FF made the executive decision on ours (BT) because, you know, even though it is a baby monitor there are technical things like batteries involved so best to leave it to the experts…