So Little Man is now four months old, which is hard to believe! And I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned in four months of being a parent, and some of the tricks I know now, that I wish I’d known four months ago. So the time seemed ripe for a blog post about it…
We discovered this when Little Man was nearly three months old, which was a shame because it meant I found him a bit big to actually use it. Basically it’s a way of holding a young baby that is very effective at soothing them. My husband found it really effective with Little Man, but I do think it’s easier if you have big hands! It would have been super useful when the little dude was really tiny and screaming the house down.
The Magic of Horsey Rides
This is a discovery from the last month or so which I wish I’d found sooner! Basically, sitting Little Man on my knee and gently bouncing him for a ‘horsey ride’ (ideally with sound effects included, and/or the silly Horsey Ride Song which I’ve made up) is incredibly soothing for him. It’s a great way to chill him out when he’s being really grumpy.
The Chill Wind
Little Man is a baby boy, and as we discovered to our detriment, apparently baby boys have this reflex which means that there incredibly likely to pee when you take off their nappy and the cold air hits them. Consequently for some time, nappy changes were like a weird, very damp game of dodgeball, with me and my husband leaping out of the way of wee jets at regular intervals, and the little dude managing to pee on his own face on more than one occasion.
Then we discovered that if you opened the nappy to let some cool air in, and even blow into the opened nappy, before shutting it up quickly, it usually helps to make him pee before the main nappy change takes place! According to the internet, this is called the “cold activation method“, which sounds very sciencey indeed.
The Try Before You Buy
I’m due a rant about baby clothes any time now, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. It’s not really a hack per se, but just having the knowledge and forethought to check how baby clothes fasten before buying them. Poppers = okay. Zips = better. Hundreds of tiny buttons = every parent’s nightmare at nappy change time!
The Peg Swaddle
Okay, bear with me on this one. When Little Man was a teeny baby, we got into swaddling him to help him sleep (in line with safe swaddling guidance). However, once he got to about three months old, he was strong enough to sometimes be able to partially escape from the swaddle during the course of the night, so we stopped swaddling as there was a risk of him ending up tangled in blankets or with the blanket on his face. I was worried that he wouldn’t go to sleep well once we stopped, but actually he transitioned fine and would fall asleep happily without the swaddle.
At least… Until a week or two ago, when he developed a bad habit of fussing at his face with his hands. I think it’s a combination of teething and itchy eyes from hayfever. When he’s sleepy, he will fuss like mad, poke his own face, bite his fingers, pull out his dummy and then cry because he’s hurting himself. Understandably, this makes it very difficult for him to fall asleep!
We were staying to lose both our minds and a lot of sleep as a result of this, because it was just so hard to get him to fall asleep. Then I invented the peg swaddle! I basically wrap him up in a blanket as if he were being swaddled, but crucially don’t tuck any part of the blanket underneath him. I fasten it at the side with a peg. It keeps his arms away from his face and allows him to fall asleep. Then when he’s sleeping soundly, I undo the peg, open out the blanket and tuck the ends underneath the mattress so there’s no loose covers. Obviously we only use this when he’s supervised, but it’s just such a useful trick for getting him to fall asleep!
There’s actually quite a few more that I can think of, but in the interests of making sure this isn’t the longest post ever, I’ll save them for another time…