I recently spent some time with a new mum and had the joy of cuddling her beautiful baby for a couple of hours! It inspired me to write this…
You are an independent, disciplined woman in control of your life! Well you were, now a small baby is in complete control and babies have zero discipline or independence.
Babies live completely in the moment, what happened a second ago, to them is irrelevant (or tucked away for future developmental learning), everything about to happen doesn’t exist for them. Only now matters.
Each child is different, only you know your baby best. Not someone external, not doctors. Only you. Take onboard only advice that resonates with you (& your baby) and forget the rest.
You’re going to make mistakes. That’s okay. Mistakes are relative, you learn from them. Don’t dwell on them. Your baby has already forgotten.
Everything is hard when you’re so tired you feel like you’re underwater.
Asking for help isn’t weakness but strength building. In the past we had smaller communities and more support. We have isolated ourselves with technology and large suburban sprawl. Reach out! Don’t be shy in asking for help, join a mothers group if you can.
We’ve all done it, doing it or will be doing it. Just slightly differently. As women, we can be extremely critical of ourselves and each other, what we should be doing is supporting each other through with absolute love because it’s darn hard and we FORGET that!
The worst days will become blurred and only memories of being sleepy and ‘all that love’ remains.
The most important toy is You, your voice, face, your smell and your time.
Everything else can wait. Really.
You alone no longer exist. What was you will evolve into someone new… in a few years.
Forth trimester. Your baby has jet-lag, when you were pregnant, up & active your baby was rocked to sleep by your movements and by your voice. When you slept your baby woke and was active, possibly even kept you awake as you tried to sleep. She/He has to learn to sleep without your warmth, heartbeat and body completely surrounding her/him. She/He actually has to learn to go to sleep. Beds (even cradles) seem huge to them, they aren’t touching something with every part of their body. The sheets can seem cold after your warm arms and it smells of clean washing not of mum and milk. There are a few tricks you can do to make a little cradle smaller and warmer until they grow to ‘fit’ it. Rolled and tapped bath mats & Luke warm heat packs or Luke warm hot water bottles (not loose towels – suffocation isn’t a pleasant thought and not hot for heat packs, they are more sensitive to temperature then us).
This too shall pass. All these hard moments will change, you’ll get use to it and then something new will come along. A new challenge, that will also pass.
We give everything of ourselves to the children, they hurt – we agonise. They feel joy, we explode with it. All emotions seem doubled because you’re feeling it for your child too.
Most dads don’t get it. They think they do, but they don’t. We are different from men, that’s okay. Mums are generally the primary parent and their child-free lives shutdown. The secondary parent has a child-free life at work & there are other challenges that come with that. Dad’s have to leave their family, switch to work mode, go work all day come home and change back (often without a break to think), and sometimes just as sleep deprived as the mother. It must be really hard not to be there to see the changes in their child and help out each day.
Hold and cuddle your baby as much as you want. It won’t be long before they are on the floor, tummy time, rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, running … they are so little for such a short time. Holding them is fine. They feel safest when they can smell you. To begin with they can’t even see you, imagine emerging from 40 weeks inside something warm, safe, constantly fed and rocked to sleep, constantly hearing your mothers heart beating, her stomach digesting, hearing the music she played, hearing her voice through her body. Feeling everything tight and comforting around you. Then you’re pushed into this world (or pulled) and it’s cold and bright and nothing sometimes only your back is touching ‘something’ – that voice is far away, the sounds are different and inconsistent. It must be very frightening.
And then just when you think you’ve got it worked out, a routine (or close to one) in place… The Controller (your baby) decided it’s time to change it up 😉
You can’t really plan around a baby, you have to roll with what is happening with them at any given moment. Be in that moment and know that you’re not alone.
The Kittens Mum