Some first time mothers just have the ‘know how’ and being a mother to them comes naturally. For many though, it’s a hard slog, and arduous road testing your patience, ears, beloved sleep, choices and how to care for this little dependent being. Can someone hand me a manual, please?
It’s a confronting journey having a baby and it makes you review yourself and question whether the choices you are making are right for you and your baby. ‘Should I breastfeed? Why is my baby crying? My baby is feeding too frequently! My baby is restless! My baby is puking!’ The list of questions and concerns goes on and on and we search for the answers because we feel incompetent, helpless and desperate. We simply have lost the confidence our foremothers had to follow our own instincts. Maybe this is because there are so many books, media publications and websites all offering different answers and solutions. This actually makes life more confusing and in many ways undermines a first-time mother being the best judge of her baby.
Then there are the ‘well-intended’ family or friends trying to guide you with the assumption that all babies are the same and if you follow their advice your baby will be cured. The nurses in the hospital each tell you conflicting advice on how to breastfeed and for how long and all you want is some consistent advice that prevents you from having issues later on when you go home.
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You may have been asked if your newborn baby is sleeping through yet? – “I’m sorry, “did you just say sleeping through? My baby is waking every hour”! What about google, the books and websites all listing advice on what your newborn SHOULD be doing!! What is the right way, the right answer? And there you have it, there isn’t. If something is really concerning you then speak with your maternal health nurse, paediatricians or general practitioner because they are the professionals that see issues day in and day out and can put your mind at ease.
The truth is, every baby is different and your personality, your living arrangement and how you run your day is different to the mother next door. Yes, definitely have in the closet a reference book that guides you through very important topics like feeding, safety, sleeping, growth etc but use this only to help ‘guide you’ not ‘worry you’ and not as a step by step instruction manual, it won’t work and you will be disappointed. A mother’s intuition is the best platform to raising a baby. Let the well-meaning and well-intended advice you receive be sifted and filtered to suit your needs and your baby.