I’ve had a few people say how brilliantly I am doing considering I have a newborn and to be honest I have surprised myself as to how okay I am feeling. Thing is, I’ve done it all before – twice, so I think it is more due to the fact I am less stressed about certain things rather than the fact I am organised or anything like that (because I promise you I am not!).
When I had Gracie I didn’t really leave the house – ever. I remember going shopping when she was 4 days old and leaving in a hurry at the first sign of her crying – that was the end of my adventures for at least 6 months! I had no idea what I was doing and had no confidence in my abilities to parent. I found having a newborn reallly stressful -mainly because she didn’t sleep for about 3 months. I didn’t know why or what was wrong but in the end it turned out she suffered with silent reflux, poor lamb. We got there in the end and slowly my confidence grew, we muddled along and settled into a nice little routine.
By the time Lils was born I felt as though I had more confidence and definitely knew to keep an eye out for any silent reflux!! This time of course I was having to learn a new skill … how to parent multiple children! I found it really difficult and spent many a day in despair – my confidence was knocked once again. I thought I would have known what I was doing but she was miserable. Turned out she had a milk allergy (I know how to grow them don’t I?) and once she was on prescription formula she was much happier. I still struggled with 2 though and looking back I neglected my little Lils – I was so worried about neglecting her sister that I ended up missing her newborn days and before I knew it those precious days were over.
The thing I found with both of my girls, was that I cared far too much about other people and their opinions. I cared too much about doing the right thing, putting too much pressure on myself and ending up feeling all the worse for it. When I heard others saying that dummies were a no no, I felt guilty, like I needed to hide the fact that Lils absolutely loved (and still loves) hers. I felt guilty when I had to stop breastfeeding – I ended up lying to the health visitor and saying I was still going with Gracie at 9 months, when in fact I’d stopped at 5 months. Looking back it just seems so silly, they were my babies, it was up to me how I parented them.
The thing that makes me really angry with myself is the fact I listened when people told me I was overreacting, when they told me that there was nothing wrong and that all babies cry. I listened to them instead of following my instincts. It took me less time to trust my gut with Lils and so instead of months it was only weeks until I took her to the doctors. But still, I should have had more faith in myself.
Mummy always knows best.
So third time around, what is different?
I am different- I believe in myself now. I have two happy, healthy little girls and I am proud to be their mother. Yes Gracie slept in my bed for 3 months, yes Lils still has a dummy at bedtime but does it really matter? I don’t think so. When you have children, you do the best you can for them and you do what works for you. I have always believed that a happy mummy = a happy baby and that is the most important thing I have learned over the last 5 years.
So now I have my little boy, the last time I’ll be a ‘new’ mum and I am soaking up every last moment. I am taking every day as it comes and am not in any hurry to get anything done. We have our own little routine with the school run but other than that we just do what we like. I am not stressing about a dummy being ‘the right thing’ or not, it works for us and means that he doesn’t scream the place down when I change him in the middle of the night or when we are midway through a feed and need to go get his sister.
He sleeps in our bed most nights from around 5am as he just can’t settle past that point. We follow best practice and he sleeps soundly and happily snuggled up to my boob. I don’t sleep brilliantly as a result but then if he refuses to sleep anywhere else I wouldn’t sleep at all anyway.This way is definitely the better way and everyone is happier as a result.
I realised at 12 days in that he was reacting to dairy in my milk. I didn’t hesitate to cut it out and within a day or two he showed signs of improvement. I knew what was wrong and I knew how to fix it- I trusted myself and it worked. He is the most contented baby now – something I never had with the girls as I didn’t trust my gut.
I wish I had been more confident from the beginning of my parenting journey. The thing is you just don’t know what to do for the best as a first time mum. You have no experience and you can only rely on others to help guide you. The problem with that is that they don’t know your child. Having three has given me the confidence in my parenting skills and means I am able to enjoy this time now. I am not getting stressed out with endless night feeds, it doesn’t phase me when he is overtired and refusing to nap, I am just able to enjoy my little baby and live in the moment.
These days are so fleeting, before I know it he will be sitting up, weaning, walking and talking. I don’t want to waste a moment – yesterday has already gone and tomorrow will be here too soon so I need to enjoy today.