Sometimes I feel most compelled to blog when I am really fired up about something. Maybe this is a good thing, or maybe it's a bad thing. Depending on how you look at it. But I can tell you that sometimes I post and then I read it the next day and I get a little sheepish! Nevertheless, I want to write about something that has been weighing on my mind, and my heart lately. Please read with an open mind. Motherhood is such a personal thing and I simply want to share some of MY views. I hope that I may reach some momma's that are experiencing some of the same things I am and that I may shed some light on a different perspective.
As a first time mom, it can be overwhelming. I am bombarded with advice from friends, family, people at church, strangers in the grocery store (with the BEST of intentions I'm sure). I also signed up for several newsletters on parenting, which arrive weekly to my inbox. Along with countless books that I read. Oh, and on top of that I read blog posts and internet forums. I'm overwhelmed just typing about it! The most frustrating thing for me is that a lot of my sources will have information not consistent with other sources. And the advice I get from the previous generation is sometimes considered "outdated" by modern standards. I read books on French parenting, which are pretty much opposite of American parenting. It's almost like, the more I read the more confused and discouraged I become. Here's a perfect example. I read that it is only safe to feed infants the yoke of an egg. ONLY THE YOKE. But on countless parenting sites I have read that scrambled eggs are safe for infants. When I asked my pediatrician about this, she was less than helpful and didn't seem sure herself of what foods are truly safe for infants. She basically said "just feed her what you eat." But what about nuts? Or honey? I'm not supposed to feed her those!
I think my point in all of this is, God blessed us with incredible and powerful motherly instincts. I know MY baby better than anyone else. I can interpret what her cry means. I can see when her eyes are tired, or sick. I know the way she whines when she is bored. I know the grunts she makes when her tummy hurts. But unfortunately, none of these books or articles focus on my motherly instincts. I wish they did. I have learned in the short nine months I have spent as a mother, that I truly do know whats best for her (most of the time)! I remember when Penelope turned four months, everyone was pressuring me to start her on solids. In my heart I felt that she wasn't ready. But I tried to force it because it was what I was told to do. We faced a lot of challenges and it simply didn't work for a while. As we approached six months she started eyeing food and reaching for it! She was truly ready! If i had just waited, I could have avoided a lot of stress and anxiety over something my baby didn't want or even need yet.
As a new mother I heard many "do's and don'ts." There are so many rules. Looking back, I didn't know the reasons behind a lot of these rules. For example: "Do NOT nurse your infant to sleep!" I am assuming this rule is in place so that infants will not become dependent on nursing to sleep. But in our case, Penelope nursed for only six months. And this is something that still breaks my heart when I think about it. I remember those sweet moments, (when I ignored this counsel) where she would nurse herself to sleep in my arms. I remember the sweet bonding moments as we were "skin to skin." I remember how peaceful and small she looked there. She could hear the beat of my heart and I could feel her breathing. These are some of my fondest memories. And all of these books say not to do it! I look back and I almost feel angry that I was advised against something so precious and brief! SO WHAT if my baby became accustomed to nursing to sleep in my arms. That is a decision that I should have been able to make for myself. But instead I fought against it because these so-called experts said not to.
This is the only photo I have of Penelope nursing
I was also told not to give my infant a pacifier for the first month of life. I complied of course, because these "experts" knew more than me. As a result, she never took the pacifier. EVER. I was told never to let my infant sleep in bed with me. I understand that co-sleeping is a heated topic and that moms everywhere are divided. But again, if I could go back and truly understand how short that time was where my baby would actually sleep next to me, or in my arms, I would have done it. Unapologetically. I would have enjoyed the sweetness of a precious newborn. I would have listened to my heart a little bit more than the books. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for modern medicine. I am grateful for all of the resources available to me. But, I believe fully in the mentality of read it, and take it with a grain of salt. Because we are momma's. And we know a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. And we know a lot more than these resources will lead us to believe.