I simply can’t imagine what parenting would be like without the internet.
Who would soothe my 4am parenting anxieties if it weren’t for the wonder of the smartphone?
Who could I ask those highly personal and deeply embarrassing questions if I didn’t have Google to rely on?
What if I lived in a time where information was neither immediate nor reliable?
It doesn’t bear thinking about really, does it?
10 Crazy Things I Googled As A Sleep Deprived New Parent
Google is my go-to when it comes to all things parenting. Obviously, I know not to trust the information to be found on Yahoo Answers (seriously, I may as well just ask my grandma), but most of my baby-related info is found online.
I have frantically typed bizarre questions into Google at 3am more times than I would like to admit.
Here are just a few of the weird questions I asked Google when I was in those early sleep-deprived newborn days:
Sleep Deprived New Parent #1: Is My Baby Too Hot?
After surviving years without so much as thinking about the optimum temperature for a room, I become obsessive about the temperature as soon as I become a parent.
I have stayed awake long into the unusually warm night, wafting the bedroom window in a desperate attempt to get some cooler air into the room.
When that didn’t ease my worry, I turned to Google for advice about whether my baby might be too hot.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #2: Is My Baby Too Cold?
Ah yes, it’s not just overheating that sends fear into the hearts of new parents, I don’t want my precious newborn to be too cold either. How am I meant to know how many clothes a baby needs to wear?!
Life would be much easier if babies could talk. Instead, however, I had to rely on the internet to help me out with how many layers my baby should wear at any given time. After all, it’s not like she can tell you she wants to wear her cardigan, you have to just guess. And, no matter what you decide, there will be old ladies on the street who totally disagree with the clothes you’ve picked out.
“Ooh, that baby must be boiling in all those clothes!” “Put some socks on that poor little baby!” “I bet her hands are like ice!” Remember, old people grew up before the internet and so had no idea what they were doing when they dressed their babies.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #3: Why Is My Baby Crying?
I Googled this approximately 18 times a day for a year, and I never once found the answer.
The internet is amazing, it brings faraway friends closer, gives you the opportunity to learn about pretty much anything you want and is filled with adorable kitten videos. But (big one) it’s not a parent. It can’t figure out what’s up with your baby, only you can do that. It can’t hold your baby close, gently rock her up and down and sing her a calming lullaby.
Having a crying baby isn’t easy, but when it comes to figuring out what’s wrong, you’re the expert, not Google. And, sometimes, neither of you have any idea what’s going on.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #4: Is My Baby’s Poop Normal?
Ah, baby poop. Before you had kids you probably had no idea that there was a whole corner of the internet dedicated to baby poop. There are whole online galleries featuring photos and descriptions of each and every type of baby poop out there.
There are articles telling you what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to baby poop. I never thought I’d be the sort of parent who becomes obsessed with poop, but it’s an inevitable part of motherhood. The contents of my baby’s nappy are suddenly undeniably interesting, and every single change must be Googled. Just in case. Why does it look like scrambled egg?! Ask Google.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #5: Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?
I grew up surrounded by glossy magazines congratulating celebrities on their perfect post-baby bodies just a few weeks after birth.
So, let’s just say I was a little surprised when six weeks after the birth of my daughter I wasn’t bikini-ready (wtf is that, anyway?). Those celebs have probably been on pretty strict diets and have certainly been busy exercising during those newborn days. I’d been binge eating biscuits and watching daytime TV, turns out that’s not how you get a beach bod.
It can take months for your belly to shrink back down after having a baby, so don’t be surprised if you continue to look pregnant for a little while longer. Five years and counting… Ahem.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #6: How To Get A Newborn To Sleep Through The Night
Hmmm, I thought, this baby seems to be broken. Why won’t she sleep? It is bedtime. Didn’t she hear the lullaby or notice that I had turned the big light off? Is she really so unobservant? Ach, I shall ask Google.
And ask Google I did. And guess what Google said? Nothing. I could only hear thousands of parents on the internet laughing hard at me through my laptop.
It turns out, newborn babies don’t sleep through the night, no matter how hard you search the internet for hints and tricks to get them to sleep longer. Moving your baby into her own room won’t help her to sleep through the night. Feeding your baby formula milk won’t help her to sleep through the night. Obsessively googling at 3am won’t get your baby to sleep through the night.
One day, your baby will sleep for longer stretches. Remember, these sleepless nights won’t last forever, not that that makes it any easier to deal with the exhaustion.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #7: When Will Life Go Back To Normal?
This is the question all parents ask themselves on a daily basis. I first asked it a few days after the birth, when the exhaustion and hormones were making me feel crazy and I found myself sobbing into a washable breast pad. I didn’t stop asking this question until your life is back to normal, or at least feels a little more normal, and that took a few years.
Life with small children is never normal. It’s exhausting, relentless and overwhelming. How can life feel normal again when you have discovered a love so great it swelled your heart? How can life feel normal again when you have had only three hours sleep over the past eight weeks? How can life feel normal again now that you have a little baby who is completely and utterly dependent on you?
Sleep Deprived New Parent #8: What Is This Rash?
I must have Googled this question approximately 15 times during the first year of my baby’s life. I spent hours scrolling through online galleries of rashes and other skin conditions. Who said motherhood would be boring, eh? Far from having mummy brain I’ve pretty much self-qualified as a dermatologist.
I must have taken my baby to the doctor five or six times for various rashes only to be told that, once again, it was a viral rash (said slowly with a deep sigh). One time I even took myself to the doctor because I thought I had ringworm, but it turned out to be a round bruise. I was rash crazy.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #9: Is My Baby Bored?
I sang songs, I played peekaboo, I shook rattles and performed exuberant one-woman puppet shows. Sometimes my baby would squeal and laugh and clap.
Other times she would stare at me with the dead eyes of somebody trapped in a prison. Was she bored? I still don’t know. Google couldn’t help me out on that one.
Sleep Deprived New Parent #10: Is It Ok If….?
I reckon you can find out a parent’s failings simply by checking their Google search history. That’s where we all reveal our parenting fails. Is it ok if my baby ate cat food? Is it ok if my baby stays up late at a wedding? Is it ok that I just accidentally banged my baby’s head against a door frame?
They’re all in there for Google to analyse and laugh at. Obviously, the answers will be mixed. Some sites will say yes, that’s totally fine, happens to the best of us, babies are basically furless cats anyway. Other sites will say no, you should give your child up for adoption, you are not fit to be a mother. The internet is full of judgmental sanctiparents waiting to tear other parents down.
A recent study by the Aarhus University Hospital, indicated that sleep deprived new mothers strongly prioritised infants over themselves, while non sleep deprived new mothers showed no prioritisation of themselves over the infant.