Seven things to Google before the baby arrives (or, what we wish we’d known two months ago)

If you’re anything like us (and a fair number of our new-parent buddies), you spent nine months obsessively checking pregnancy symptoms, dietary and lifestyle advice online and…sort of forgot that at the end of the process there would be a tiny human with all sorts of different needs now he or she is on the outside. Research alone can’t prepare anyone for the physical and emotional whirlwind that a newborn brings – but reading up on these essentials now will stop you having to Google them one-handed on your phone with a screaming infant in the other hand when the trying times strike. I’ve included a link for each item so you won’t need to yell search terms to your other half over the racket. Don’t say I’m not good to you.

1. Cluster Feeding

To understand what evenings with a newborn are like, Google this faintly tawdry-sounding term. You may have heard something manageable-sounding about 2-3 hour feeding intervals; and for most new babies, most of the time, that’s the rough sort of pattern they’ll fall into left to their own devices. Come the evening, however, you may need to adjust your expectations and find a really, really comfy seat, because you’re likely to be on it for several hours. Plan to eat dinner between hourly feeds, and expect ‘hourly’ to manifest as ‘every forty minutes’ sometimes (especially during growth spurts). is a good page on how to deal with the evening cluster.

2. Witching Hour (aka ‘fussy evenings’)

Closely related to the above, the witching hour is the time each evening your otherwise peaceful, happy baby goes a bit mental and cries at the drop of a hat (or the slam of a bin lid, or the smell of your dinner, or absolutely nothing at all, she was just fine literally ten seconds ago). If you’re lucky, this will take place at a predictable time each evening and last an hour or thereabouts. If you’re unlucky, you may need to Google ‘coping with colic’ as well. Cluster feeding (above) may help. has some good advice.

3. How to hand express milk

Even if you’re planning to bottle-feed you’ll need to know this for when your milk comes in; if you continue breastfeeding then this is a good thing to know for dealing with pre-feed engorgement. You probably won’t be able to practise ahead of time unless you have large amounts of colostrum unusually early, but check out the theory before the big day and get ready to hand pump.

See for useful tips. Here’s how to store milk once you’ve expressed it:

4. What a good latch looks like

I mentioned here that it’s difficult to really get a feel for how to feed an actual real live infant before coming into the possession of an actual real live infant (those dolls really just don’t cut it), but forewarned is forearmed and it’s good to to be aware of some of the dos and don’ts before somebody hands you one that’s expecting to be fed.

There are bajillions of videos online, but for the pure mechanics of the thing see

5. The different baby cries

In truth, a very young baby has one cry, the cry that says ‘I’m a newborn!’ loudly and urgently at all times of day and night (newborns don’t know what day or night are). But after a few weeks, you’ll find it useful to know the difference between the tired cry, the hungry cry, the wet-nappy cry and the ‘miscellaneous – other’ cry (we’re still working out what to do about that one).


6. The Cuddle Cure (aka The Five Ss)

We’ve found Dr Harvey Kemp’s five-step cure for evening fussiness really useful – although obviously do all the basics, like feed and change the nappy, before rushing in with a swaddle-swing-shush combo.

7. Pampers Baby Dry nappies

I’m not going to lie to you, these 12-hour miracles will not get your week-old baby sleeping through the night, but they will give you one fewer task at 4am. And one fewer task at 4am is bliss.

I’m not working on commission for Pampers, honest. Other brands are almost certainly available.


Parents – what had you a-Googling in the early days? Link us in below!




11 thoughts on “Seven things to Google before the baby arrives (or, what we wish we’d known two months ago)

  1. The nappy thing is crucial. We used Tesco ones but quickly discovered it’s not the brand so much as the fit that counts – my daughter and her skinnier cousin both fit very snuggly in Pampers and Tesco; my niece, who was bigger, did not (but the nappies that fit her well – some organics natural somethingorothers – sagged off the other two which in nappies is basically disastrous).

    Winding techniques are very helpful if you have a colicky type as we did – ‘tiger in the tree’ is very good!

  2. We did try a couple of brands using the trial pairs we got in the Bounty pack (surprisingly useful thing, that Bounty pack) and Pampers seemed to work for us from the off, which is good as they’re often on bulk discount. I did like the look of the Swedish natural organic hippy socialist Naty brand, which we might try once she’s down to fewer than ten million nappies per day; or we might give washables a try (again, once she’s down to a manageable number per day). And I might stick with those nighttime disposables for a while in any case, those are a godsend.

    Tiger in the tree looks good! I’m all about the massage; we’ve been improvising it a bit using coconut oil and general rubs and squeezes, but we have a Proper Class in Proper Massage and Also Baby Yoga next week which is supposed to do wonders for wind, so will report back. She does like a nice relaxing bath and rub before bed (which I must say I’m partial to myself).

    • Extremely good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. Following all I will likely be surcibibsng to your feed and I hope you write once more really soon!

  3. As parents of a newborn with severe colic until 5months of age (the witchhour becomes a 24/7 norm when your baby suffers from colic), silent reflux, sleep issues until the recent day and not wanting to settle in anything else but the sling for the first 8months, we really struggled finding any comfort at all through groups (who ‘just’ seemed to have the ‘usual’ newborn issues), online forums, books and articles. You can end up in a very isolated place and get a tiny glimpse of how life with a child with a serious illness must feel. For entertainment reasons my favourite online forum back then was – quite refreshingly free of bullshit – just what we needed when the GPs, midwifes, health visitors, … kept telling us that ‘we will just have to ride it out’.

  4. Pingback: Weird things about parenting | Baby plus two

  5. Pingback: Getting so much better | Baby plus two

  6. From Rick on Facebook: Ah, the 5 Ss! That was a revelation. But sideways was usually always enough for us (nowadays, enough room to stretch in a starjump formation is key).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *