Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Well if you're going to cry...

The clichéd overwhelmed new mother moment has happened. I changed her diaper three times in a span of 30 minutes and got peed on and vomited on in the process and had to change both of our outfits since the pee and vomit was not self-contained. Eloise and I were prisoners upstairs because the living-room windows (which I’m too short to close) were open and I was scared the neighbors would hear my crying baby and think I was a terrible mother. And these few hours were all spent with me sobbing uncontrollably, trying to choke out words of comfort to my child and failing to even do that. The Frenchman came home to find Eloise and me sitting in a corner of the nursery, my tears falling on her face as I tried in vain to calm her down. This is what hormones do to you. The Frenchman took control, reminded me that she was probably having another growth spurt, and when I fed her he told me how happy she looked in my arms.

The first few days I felt like I was made to be a mother. It all came so naturally. The breastfeeding, putting her to sleep, changing her, keeping her warm. And then I started reading the books. And the books said she should only sleep 2 or 3 hours at a time. And the books said to wake her if she sleeps more than 4 hours. And they said to never wake a sleeping baby. They say that head movements, sucking fingers, open mouth, yawning etc. etc. are all signs of hunger. They say to be sure not to over feed your baby. And I started to doubt myself. And to mistrust my instincts.

So I’m not opening the books. Not until Eloise and I get to know each other a little bit better. Not until we can fall into a routine that some book will no doubt tell me is all wrong and then and only then we can spend months trying to undo it all.


  1. I say ignore the books and trust your instincts. You are a mother, and a terrific one at that. Books are written for the masses in general, and are not at all individualized; otherwise, how else would they sell them? You know Eloise, you spent over 9 months making her; you know her and you know you. Don't discount that knowledge.

  2. Yep ignore the books. They will just freak you out. You are doing an awesome job!
    Oh from my experience the baby swing saved my sanity, not even kidding. I almost wrote a letter to Fisher Price.
    Also somewhere I have an extra sling. Would you like to try it? I can ship it to you, although don't know how long it would take to get to you!

  3. Hello! Random Stranger here.


    I cannot stress that enough. They are not written about you or about your gorgeous Eloise. They also know absolutely nothing about breastfeeding.

    You can't feed her too much - what she asks for is what she needs when she needs it. I had an awful time with breastfeeding in the early days and it all went a lot better once I threw the routine out the window!!

    You are doing brilliantly and absolutely right in your instinct. Get to know Eloise, let her lead you, and you will find your own rhythm.

    Oh and I cannot recommend a baby sling enough - saved my life with a colicy baby!

    Take care and much love to you and your new family x