I remember one afternoon, about eight years ago, my mom was visiting my small, messy apartment. She was taking over the duties of holding my very colicky newborn and calming my new parent nerves. I was running on very little sleep for the first time in my life and, understandably, frazzled. I was desperate to find out how to keep the peace in my house with a newborn who was, for a lack of a better word – challenging.
My mom has always been the person I turn to for advice; she always has the right answers and can make me feel at ease when chaos is happening around me. So it’s no surprise that in the middle of one of my many freak-outs and endless stream of “What do I do?” questions, my mom did what she does best and offered some advice that put everything into perspective:
“Just Google it, Devan.”
Since that day, I have welcomed three more children. My newest is only 7 months old and I am, once again, back into the craziness of new parenthood. It’s not my first time at the rodeo, but with five years between my third child and this new baby, it feels like I’m testing things out all over again.
The advice my mother gave me all those years ago still rings in my ears today. I am thankful for the Internet, for social media, and the amazing search engine that is Google, because even though I am a mother to four children, I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing. (Luckily, Google has all the answers.)
So if you’re a new parent, I betting you can relate to recent my search history:
Question: Why is my baby’s poop green?
At no other point in my life have I ever been so concerned about what comes out than when I have a new baby. I am typically reserved when it comes to bathroom habits, so Google was the perfect “person” to ask when I was too shy to question if this was normal for people.
Answer: I was far from the only person wondering, since Google provided many options for my research. According to an article written on BabyCentre.co.uk, green poop in a newborn, “can be a sign that your baby is taking in too much lactose (the natural sugar found in milk). This can happen if she feeds often, but doesn’t get the rich milk at the end of the feed to fill her up.” This totally made sense as I saw my child eating, but quickly falling asleep while breastfeeding.
Question: When do babies sleep through the night?
I knew the answer from my older three kids — they’ll sleep through the night eventually. But I wanted to hear other’s experiences because when it comes to parenting, there is always something to learn, even if it’s as simple as “you’re not alone.”
Answer: There is no single answer for this one and there are various methods to try to aid your baby to sleep through the night. I will say that it was incredibly helpful to know that I wasn’t alone in my quest for sleep and it helped a lot to hear all the “eventually it happens” stories.
Question: What are some easy-to-make meals that taste good cold?
Turns out that when you have a baby, life runs on their schedule. That means when I finish cooking dinner for the family, the baby wants to eat, so I have to put my food on hold. When I can eventually get back to it, it’s cold, but I still want it to taste good. If you have children, chances are you’ve been looking for some “what tastes good cold” recipes too.
Answer: Other than pizza, which obviously tastes amazing cold, there are many cool meals you can make that are meant to be eaten below room temperature. This way you’re not missing out on anything or creating too much extra work. Try: Cold Southwestern Corn and Shrimp Soup from Martha Stewart or Quinoa Black Bean Salad from Food.com
Question: How to get rid of colic?
A question I asked a lot these past few months, as my youngest suffered and suffered hard from colic. I was thankful for the amazing social media friends I had who offered their advice and of course, Google had answers as well.
Answer: There are tons of articles and advice columns on how to cope and things to try to see if it eases the baby’s discomfort. Check out the many available from Dr. Sears on the topic of colic.
Question: How much caffeine is too much while breastfeeding?
With sleepless nights, aching muscles from bouncing a colicky baby, and three older kids to look after, caffeine was necessary for my functionality. But the last thing I wanted to do was make the sleeping situation worse, so I was concerned about caffeine and breastfeeding.
Answer: I found out from KellyMom.com that there is no blanket answer for all babies. The only way to tell if you’re having too much caffeine is to watch your baby. The site does recommend that you shouldn’t go too much over five cups of coffee a day and offers information on how much caffeine is in each source.
Question: When does the umbilical cord fall off?
I’m not going to lie, I was grossed out to extreme with the umbilical cord and wanted to know when it was finally going to be gone.
Answer: According to MayoClinic.com, the cord typically falls off within two weeks of birth.
Question: How much does a housecleaning service cost?
Chores were the last thing I wanted to do – even when I’m not busy in the new parent phase, I will find any excuse to put these cleaning duties off. The problem? I can’t function well in a messy space, so I took to Google.
Answer: There are many options available when it comes to hiring a cleaning service. However, most want to see the mess before they make an estimate.
Question: What do you do with babies all day?
They don’t do much except lay there and cry and coo. It’s hard to find things to do with them when they don’t interact with you, yet at the same time you don’t want to stunt their growth.
Answer: The amazing thing about the Internet and blogs is you can easily find a daily breakdown on how other parents are spending their time with a new baby. It was so helpful to read that I’m not the only one who has no idea what to do and get ideas from others in the same boat.
Question: How soon does teething start?
It seemed way too early when my youngest started showing signs of teething — drool for days and extra cranky. I didn’t think it was possible for a baby to start teething at only a few weeks old, but Google set me straight.
Answer: According to WhatToExpect.com, teething can start as early as 3 months or as late as 12 months, with the average being around 7 months old for teeth to show up. This advice again solidified that no two babies are the same and when my child sprouted five teeth in one week, I was glad I knew that it wasn’t too early to blame the fussiness on teeth.
Question: What is the best dry shampoo?
There are some beauty and hair products that you wonder why someone would ever need them, and then there are others that you can’t imagine ever functioning without. Enter dry shampoo, the best product ever invented for parents like me who have challenging babies. When you have postpartum sweating, thanks to hormones, and little time to yourself, dry shampoo helps you look and feel like a member of the human race.
Answer: I learned all about the differences between dry shampoo brands and discovered that you have to try out several to find the right one for you. I tried a few until I found that perfect one and oh, how thankful I am for this amazing product.
What about you? What are some questions you’ve taken to Google since welcoming your baby?
Devan is a freelance writer living in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and four kids. No, those aren’t her kids’ real names – they’re online pseudonyms. Read more from Devan on Babble as she dishes about babies, pets, and love + keep up with byDevan on Facebook and Twitter!