Raising a Baby Is Like a Science Experiment

Sometimes taking care of a baby feels a lot like a group science project. Your lab partner is your spouse. And your baby--a real, live human--is the subject.

having a baby is like a science experiment

I feel this way because there are so many ideas out there on how to do things. Some that you agree with, some that you don't. And you never know if they'll work.

Once you decide what you're going to try first, you hope it's the right choice. But you've never done it before, so you're not even sure that you're doing it right (like making food for a baby!).

Trial. Evaluation. Trial. Evaluation.

  • How can we get her to stop pooping at 4 a.m.?
  • If we feed her this, what comes out the other end?
  • Is her poop texture like applesauce or more like peanut butter?
  • Will pear juice make her poop softer?
  • Will taking her rectal temperature make her "go"?
  • Did she have enough wake time for a two-hour nap?
  • Is she stimulated enough? Too much?
  • Is she ready for solid foods? Which one should we try first?
  • If I sneak into her room at 9 p.m., before we go to bed, and give her an extra feeding, will she sleep two hours longer?

So, I realize now that most of these are about poop. That's mostly how you know things are working as they should. But sleeping is hard to figure out, too. We tried that last one a while back. Have you ever heard of a dreamfeed? It sounds so strange--and sneaky--but we've had luck with it. I'd rather feed her at 9 p.m. when I can still think straight than at 4 a.m.!

I'm glad I have an awesome lab partner, and the Internet. Each decision feels like it matters so much. I'm not sure it does in the end, but I guess that's how you find your way as parents.

One experiment at a time.