Will Lodge: The rules keep changing – help!

Will Lodge and his family.

Will Lodge and his family. - Credit: Su Anderson

When you have a baby there are lots of dos and don’ts that you have to learn.

Some of them are obvious: for example don’t drop the baby. Don’t leave the baby unsupervised. Do take lots of photos and post them on Facebook.

Do sleep whenever the baby sleeps.

Okay – so the do’s are more like guidlines (sleeping in the day with three older children, who think 7am is a lie in, it just doesn’t happen).

Though lots of them are obvious many are not and you rapidly have to learn them as a new parent.

But not only do you have to learn them, you have to learn which ones are absolutes, which ones you can bend now and then and which are just plain controversies or debates in the parenting world.

Babies should not be bathed in the first week is one thing you might not think of, unless you have read past nine months in the pregnancy books. That’s an absolute apparently.

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Sterilised bottles (or fertilised as our 11-year-old mistakenly said the other day) are only good for 24 hours – but five minutes longer won’t hurt, will it?

The kettle should not be boiled twice if being used to fill bottles. But why – no-one seems to know (answers on a postcard).

And don’t get started on the dummy debate...

As if it wasn’t tricky enough to navigate the laws of the newborn, often the rules change from year to year. When our eldest was born my wife informs me swaddling was the done thing, but by the time our five-year-old was on the scene it was a no-no. Now it seems to be frowned upon but not banned.

Where can you turn for answers? While there is a wealth of pregnancy books it seems silly to even look for ‘Caring for Babies for Dummies’ and parents’ forums on the world wide web never seem to agree on anything.

At least when you are well and truly befuddled, or ready to kick the internet for not providing you with a definitive answer, your baby gives her first smile (well the first not associated with wind anyway) and all becomes right with the world again.

Other developments this week include discovering her hands, though not quite how to control them, a lot more open-eye time, and one landmark I was keen to avoid for as long as possible – pooing on Daddy.

Yes, it has happened. A nappy change unfortunately timed to coincide with an ongoing nappy filling plus a small explosion and voila! I am officially a Dad now and that’s all there is to it.

Still, it could be worse. I hear I won’t be living the dream until the same thing happens and she is on solids. Or is that vomit? I’m sure I read it mixed up with those rules somewhere...

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