Thoughts on Mothering & Finding a Style that Works for Us
Well, C is already four weeks old today. There's so much I could say and write about being a new mom, but I'm spending so much time caring for and enjoying C that not much time is left to digest and describe our process of getting to know one another.
I love being a mom. I love having my daughter look up at me with slightly crossed eyes as she tries to focus on my face. I love the closeness of nursing and knowing that I can give her exactly the nourishment and comfort she needs with parts of my body so marvelously designed by God for exactly that purpose. As frustrating as it is to have her fuss and cry, especially during the times when she is seemingly unable to fall asleep, I do love the aha moment when I find something that works to settle her down.
White noise works to soothe C most of the time. When she was brand new, shushing in her ear worked wonders, but recently I can't seem to be able to sustain it at a volume level that still works. Two days ago we hit the afternoon period when she tends to not want to sleep and to alternate between little fussy noises and all out crying. I put her in our Moby wrap and got out the vacuum cleaner, and she was out within minutes with an added benefit of clean carpets. Yesterday, I decided to try the same trick again and now I have clean carpets AND sucked away all the cobwebs and dust in the corners. Today, when she woke up crying after a very short nap, I helped her calm down and fall back asleep by drying my hair while standing next to her bassinet.
Sometimes though, the only thing that works is laying down to nurse and falling asleep together ... and it just occurred to me that in those times it is God's way of telling me, "no, you didn't really need to get (whatever it was) ....done ... what you really need right now is to rest, beloved daughter." What a very interesting thought... it just might be that in reality, a desire to stay awake because the world is just so interesting even when rest would be best is something that C and I have in common, and God is being a good parent to me just as I am being a mother to C.
Being a new mother, I sometimes feel at a total loss for what to do or what is best for my baby. So, I've solicited and received a lot of advice from other mothers about what kind of routine or style worked for them in raising their young ones. I've also done a lot of research on my own.
The majority of the moms I've spoken with have advocated the methods in the book "On Becoming Baby Wise," while one of my cousins really believes in the advice of Dr. Brazelton, and my Kaiser baby care classes seemed to lean toward the advice of Dr. Sears. Well, I haven't found a method that I want to follow 100%. Babywise and other schedule & sleep training methods seem to rigid and harsh to me, but on the other hand, a full-on commitment to attachment parenting ends up feeling too chaotic to me (that may just be my misguided application of it though?). My cousin gave me her Dr. Brazelton book "Touchpoints" and I do like his gentle "try to work toward a routine/schedule but adjust your approach to what baby tells you she needs and can handle" advice.
I've found that C and I do need a pattern to our day -- a loose order of events, if you will -- but not necessarily a strict schedule or rules to follow. I'm not going to stress if she eats at 7:00, 10:30, 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 8:00, 11:00 and 3:30 one day and at 6:30, 9:30, 12:00, 2:00, 3:00, 6:00, 9:00, 10:30, and 2:30 the next.
C and I need principles, but I must balance the need for structure with the need for compassion all within the limits of what I can give. I'm not going to stress that I've ruined her for life if on the one hand she needs me to rock her or nurse her to sleep for now, or if on the other I'm in the shower and she wakes up from her nap crying and falls back asleep before I can get out of the shower and comfort her. I'm not going to legalistically follow the advice of any expert but instead prayerfully follow my God-given instincts and the cues C gives me.
And now she's been asleep for 3.5 hours and my milk is letting down and she's starting to stir ...
Yep, all signs tell me that it's time for me to stop writing and get ready to feed my precious baby girl. :) <3
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Flashback: A Blog I Wrote in October 2008
I wrote the following post on MySpace in October 2008 after one day of trying to follow advice from baby trainers who advocate putting a baby down drowsy so they will learn to fall asleep without you. I felt so disconnected from my wee girl that I knew it wasn't right for us and gave up in less than 24 hours.