I’m a Google Mum.
I’m that Mum who turns up at the doctors already knowing the diagnosis because I’ve Googled it. Don’t know how to put the sling on? Never fear, Google came to the rescue. When I wonder if my baby’s (or often my) behaviour is normal, my first port of call isn’t to wing it, hope for the best, ask other Mums or healthcare professionals (I usually do all of those things later though), it’s to tap away at my trusty online search engine.
If anyone was to track my internet history on my phone they would probably conclude I am insane, a bit of a worrier a hypocondriac and kind of a loser. I would never dare say out loud some of the things I’ve Googled, partly for fear of being ridiculed and partly because I really do Google some stupid shit. I’ve even Googled ‘is it wrong to Google everything that’s wrong with my baby’ – apparently it is but the Mums that say it is have landed on that page themselves so are clearly doing that very thing.
Here is a list of some of the things I’ve needed to Google since becoming a Mum:
- Breast-fed baby poo – I’ve talked a lot about baby poo but I was really unprepared for how much attention I’d need to pay to its consistency, frequency, colour and smell. Nobody warns you about this and I don’t even know why you would consider that it’s part of the job when you’re pregnant for the first time. I knew I’d be spending a lot of time wiping it off the baby, every surface the baby went near and my own body but I didn’t realise that before wiping it off my arm I’d be holding it up to the light to work out if it was more of a yellow or green colour. What’s more, what is with the grass green mess when the baby doesn’t get enough hind milk? Luckily Google gave me an article complete with example pictures of different poos so I had a handy chart to refer to and hold my wrist against (they really should teach you that at NCT). And obviously I screen shot the article so I could refer back to it.
- Why won’t my baby stop crying? I’d tried rocking, singing, winding, feeding, coaxing sleep, nappy changing and I was out of answers. Surely Google would know. I’d advise against this one. Turns out Google knows sweet FA and unless you want judgy Mum telling you ‘babies cry, that’s what they do‘ or to conclude that your child has a serious illness, you’re best off steering well clear.
- Why won’t my baby sleep? Again, Google was not massively helpful during the early days when my baby went through several weeks of not wanting to sleep. Google thinks it’s normal that your baby doesn’t sleep, but Jane, Julie and Joan from NCT’s babies sleep so that can’t be right (clearly I’ve used pseudonyms). And you hear that babies sleep for 18 hours a day. I only need 8 so that should give me 10 hours to get my shit together, but I don’t have any time and the baby is awake and I haven’t slept in what feels like years. Why Google, why?
- Why did my baby sleep for so long? He can’t win. If he sleeps for a long period in the day I’m convinced he’s got sunstroke or some terrible illness (he can’t just be tired when he usually fights sleep so much can he?). Google doesn’t really have an explanation for this that I believe. I have now decided that if the baby sleeps you should not use the time to Google – free that trapped arm from under him and run away (after tiptoeing from the room like a ninja). Eat an ice cream in the sun (in direct sunlight without shade or anything), clean the toilet, sleep, butter bread – do two-handed things like normal humans – but don’t question it or waste your time reading Mumsnet Mothers telling you to take him to the doctors or put a cold flannel on him to wake him up: that is an easy way to piss your baby off and make him never want to sleep again (if that’s what you do to me when I’m asleep Mummy I won’t bother in future!).
- Will my boobs explode from mastitis? I’ve mentioned this one before and people on Google think they won’t but how do they know? They definitely feel like they will and after suffering three quite nasty consecutive bouts of it, I wasn’t convinced. Luckily they didn’t but to be honest at one point I kind of wouldn’t have minded if they did – it would have been a relief!
- Which baby formula is best? If you’ve had a bad time breastfeeding and have made the agonising decision to switch to formula, be wary of the wording you choose when you Google this. Because judgy mother is back again by popular demand and she will tell you that all formula is the same and is basically like feeding your baby rat poison. I saw one site in which a mum questioned why you would give it to your baby because it’s just ’empty calories’ and no goodness. Because SandraSocks81, my boobs are about to frigging explode (see above), my baby has screamed at my breast all day, every day for 10 weeks straight, I’m losing my mind and I have a sneaking suspicion that Asda wouldn’t con me into buying rat poison for my baby – that’s why! A more helpful answer to the question I Googled is that the milks taste slightly different and are slightly different consistencies but similar in nutrition so just try one and see if your baby likes it.
- Does teething make wee smell like cat piss? I hadn’t expected a serious answer to this but it actually does. Something to do with the excess saliva passing through the system and making the urine more acidic and pungent. Explains the flare up of nappy rash too. This was one of the occasions I patted Google on the metaphorical back and saved myself a look of disdain from the health visitor.
- Why hasn’t my baby pooed for 3 hours? That is not a typo for days. During the first 12 weeks of my boy’s life, we were anxious if an hour passed by without a poo. I know they say babies poo a lot but the amount he went was actually staggering. Nearly every one was also a power poo, thunderbolting through up to three layers of clothing (I’ve since learnt that this is actually really a lot for a baby – typical). So if several hours (and in a few instances a day) passed without him passing, I began to worry. And, with worry, comes my trusty friend Google.
- Why don’t I have a routine with my baby? Jane, Julie and Joan have a routine and are banging on about how great it feels. Meanwhile, I was sitting in my pjs at 3pm crying and wondering why I didn’t have one. It didn’t matter that my baby was five weeks younger (a hell of a long time in baby land) or that it was likely that their babies didn’t always stick to their routines – I wanted one too. But when I couldn’t even muster the energy to wipe the chocolate stain off my top, it’s safe to say I was looking for a low maintenance solution, and that it wasn’t just going to happen overnight.
- Why doesn’t my doctor believe my baby’s reflux hurts him? This is one of the questions that I actually managed to find a real source of support from the Internet. It turns out that reflux is becoming a big issue for babies in our society but, sadly, many doctors don’t take it seriously and believe that it’s babies just being sick. I knew my baby was in pain but my GP made me feel like an overreacting silly girl who was wasting his time. He couldn’t get me out of the door fast enough, gave me terrible advice (to stick with gaviscon and give my baby prune juice to avoid constipation – are you freaking kidding me? I can’t give him water but I should give him fucking prune juice? Even I would be crapping through the eye of a needle if I drank prune juice!) and lied to me about the medication available. I rolled over and took it. Until a Mum who runs our local baby class helped me see that I was right and I used Google to swot up on reflux and went back to see a different doctor in full warrior mode. The advice I found online helped me gain the confidence to get what my baby needed and once he switched to a different medicine he was like a different baby – calmer, happier, pain-free and generally content. Hi-five Google!
I’d love to hear what other Mums have found themselves Googling? #googlemum #stayclassy