Since the last time I posted on here the most amazing thing happened. I've become a mom :) Although I fully intended to blog about my birth experience and all the awkward new mommy moments I'd face while trying to figure out this new role, that clearly did not happen. What happened instead was I became the happiest and most content I've ever been in my life. I fell so in love with this little baby it made me more present in my day to day activities. Social media took up less of my time and my experiences were shared with only those who were actually a part of my in person interactions.
The mom I am today is not the one I pictured myself to be back when I was pregnant and dreaming of how life would be. What came natural to me when it came to feeding my baby, balancing sleep in this household, and caring for my girl in general was not at all how I thought it would be. When it came down to it I just chose LOVE to lead me in every situation.
Now I know every baby is different and what works for some people doesn't necessarily work for others. Parenting advice in general usually causes a heated debate at some point regardless of what your intentions are. My post tonight is not meant to cause drama. I'm not preaching that certain ways of doing things are WRONG. I simply want to share my experience because I KNOW there are others who will be able to relate and find comfort in it.
First of all when it came to feeding my baby I knew I wanted to breast feed. That didn't change. It was painful and difficult for the first three weeks. No one warned me just how painful it could be. However as I educated myself on the benefits of breast milk, and how truly amazing it is, I knew there was no way I was going to give up on it. There is a lot of info, help and support out there and I encourage you to take advantage of it. That's all I will say on this matter (today anyway) as it is a VERY touchy subject and not what I want to talk about tonight.
Tonight I want to talk about spoiling your baby. Let's talk about our busy, schedule obsessed world and the way it has influenced the way people parent today. Before my little girl arrived I was one of those people that believed you could spoil your baby by holding them too much. I almost laughed writing that sentence just now because really, how silly is that? I have this beautiful miracle in front of me but I'm being warned that if I hold her too much she will become spoiled and never want to be put down. It seemed everywhere I turned I was being told to go against my natural instincts and instead of caring for this baby's needs, I was to ignore their cries and get them as independant as possible and on my schedule as quickly as possible. This pressure made me feel sick. Why did I have a baby if not to love it? Why was I given this little miracle if I was just going to ignore their needs and put my wants first? This baby has spent 9 months constantly carried, wrapped up warm inside me, ATTACHED to me, constantly warm, constantly fed and now All OF A SUDDEN because she was born, she doesn't need that anymore?
The internet is filled with new parents questions. Most revolve around feeding their baby and why they won't sleep. Everyone seems to think the fact that their baby is up all night and wants to feed so much means they are doing something wrong. Well I'm here to tell you there is nothing wrong with a baby that doesn't sleep and that wants to breast feed all the time. This is normal and it won't last forever! Hold your baby when they are crying, even if it doesn't seem to help. Invest in a good carrier. Having them attached to you, warm and snug is the closest they will get to the comfort they felt when they were growing inside you. Being born is quite the ordeal. Absolutely everything this baby has ever known has changed. It takes some getting used to. This world is cold, loud, bright and scary. Your baby looks to you to comfort and ease their fears because you have been their constant. If your baby will only sleep on you for the first 4-5 months, that's ok! Yes there are stories about babies who slept in their crib, all night long, since the time they were born. Good for them! Not everyone is the same. I know it's exhausting. I know it's hard. But If your baby is crying it's because it needs something, not because it wants to piss you off and keep you up all night.
I personally invested in a co-sleeper and had my girl sleep in there for the first 4 months. At least 50% of her time spent sleeping was in my arms or on my chest. I carried her on me a good majority of the day. When she outgrew her co-sleeper, she was moved to a bassinet beside my bed until she was 7 months old. There were a couple of times I fell to the pressure of "trying to get my baby on schedule." Those moments were the most heartbreaking I've ever experienced. Again it came down to loving my baby and fulfilling her needs. Allowing her to do things in her own time, instead of when others expected her to do things, was what worked best for me. At 7 months old she showed her own independence start to emerge. She began napping in her crib and a couple weeks later started sleeping there all night. Not once did we have to listen to her cry it out. She is more independant than ever and contrary to what people told me, is not a spoiled baby. I did not ruin her, she will not be sleeping with me until the time she is in college and she most certainly is not a 12 year old girl attached to my boob. In fact she decided to start weaning herself before she turned 9 months! Who knew.... Loving your baby and giving them everything they cry for is ok..... While they are a baby. This advice is obviously not meant for older children. We aren't trying to raise a bunch of spoiled brats here! :)