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Friday, 7 September 2012

Where Is The Instruction Manual

We all have a vision of exactly how it's all going to be- the birth planned to the second, the afterbirth baby romance, the love all over with your husband/partner, the endless joy and smiles! And then the contractions start and from there the vision is blurred and then slowly a distant memory. As the pain begins, then the engorged breasts, then the crying, the no sleep, the husband who can sleep, the lack of energy to smile. Sound familiar? Unfortunately for some I can't say most of the above was true for me (fortunately for me though) although yes I did have a vision that got slightly blurred and refocused once my first bundle of joy entered the world but motherhood has just.......fitted me. That's not said in a self absorbed way either, I just think some people becoming a mother does instantly happen once you conceive or even once the baby is born whereas some it takes a little getting used to. Before you think "oh I bet she has a baby that slept from day dot, breastfed perfectly, etc" I definately didn't (stil don't actually). I have been blessed with two little cherubs who think sleep is over rated, my milk with Miss P didn't come in for almost two weeks, both catnapped through day and never just went off to sleep in their bassinet or cots. My husband and I had our disagreements, thanks alot to some outside influences if you catch my drift, so everything wasn't all peachy in paradise. But I just loved being a mum, I have always run off little sleep so after a month of getting used to broken sleep my body just seemed to adjust, once my milk came in things just sailed smoothly on he breastfeeding front too and then once I found the instruction manual for Miss P after about 6 months my life just became alot easier! Yep that's right, I found the instruction manual. We have always been told 'babies don't come with instructions' but we have been told wrong.

You see for the first 6 months of Miss P's life I think I read every baby book on the market- from sleep help, settling, wind, etc. you name it I read it. None of it helped of course so I read more. Then I had the lovely outside influences making comments about my constant holding and feeding to sleep was the problem. I had to do it tis way or that way- all of which never worked. At 6 months after doubting myself, fighting my instincts, arguing with my husband about my instincts and wasting money on books I started listening to myself and my baby. When she cried I checked the necessities- nappy, wind, hungry- if all was good we just cuddled. I stopped standing next to the bassinet/cot patting her while she cried instead I picked her up and cuddled her and rocked her. I didn't time feeds or check how long it had been I just fed her. I wore her in a sling and kept her close. Once bigger I laid with her in her bed until she was asleep and if she woke at night she either came in with us or I laid in her bed. And guess what.....I was happier, baby was happier and husband was happier. The household fell into this lovely flow, still the usual life dramas and issues but no tension within myself, no doubt and a happy connected baby. So needless to say when I fell pregnant with Master X I had no other birth plan than the spoken words between my obstetrician, my husband and I. It was a plan to bring our baby into the world safely that's it. From word go he fed when hungry, he slept when he slept I didn't stress that he wasn't doing "what he's supposed to do", he coslept for a long time (only just moved to a bed at 20 months and doing a fantastic job), when he cried I picked him up. All the things I should have done from word go with Miss P but was too distracted by what other people thought I should do. Both our kids are bright, have such great personalities and overall happy kids.

Babies do come with an instruction manual, THEY ARE THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL. Your baby is better than any book, any stranges comment or any advice you get. Sure it's great to hear other people's stories and maybe even try it out if you feel it suits you but listen to our baby they know what they need. I know we all love our sleep but for a few years (depending on the amount of children you have) your sleep will be uncomfortable at times, lacking at times or peaceful. But remember the happier your baby the happier you are, if they fed 10 minutes ago and cry looking for more feed them again. I'm just sick of hearing comments such as 'is he not sleeping through yet?' or 'oh you're still breastfeeding' or 'doesn't he ever leave you'. No he's not sleeping through and I'm more than happy to be his comfort while he develops, yes I have only just stopped breastfeeding and no my kids and I are hardly apart and I love it. There is no general instruction manual for babies but there is one individual instruction manual for each baby and that's the baby.

This post isn't pretty with pictures, I'm actually typing it in the dark as I lay on Master X's bed after he was asleep in my arms for 30 mins. It hit me whilst I was rocking him, standing up and almost asleep myself that we can either fight with our babies or go with them and be happy. And by going with them I mean when they are young. I don't mean they rule the roost and walk all over you as a 4 year old, but listening to your baby will guide you through those fuzzy days and weeks. Block out the strangers or even sometimes family comments that make you doubt what you're doing, you know what to do, listen to your baby. I did this with Master X and weaning, I kept hearing 'he's old enough to stop breastfeeding' or 'will you ever wean him' so at 15 months I started weaning him because I doubted myself, guess what he let me know exactly how that was going to turn out! He wasn't ready, he didn't understand and he needed it still. So I once again blocked them out and kept feeding and then at 19 months I slowly started weaning and talking to him, then at 20 months it took 1 night to wean, we talked and he got it all because I waited until he was ready instead of forcing it because others said so. I'd love to run an antenatal class, I'd skip 90% of it and tell expecting mothers to have faith in themselves and their instincts, reach out for advice if need, listen to your baby and don't buy every book out there. I'd then tell expecting fathers to love their partner, trust her motherly instincts and protect her from outside comments or unwanted advice. Of course here is plenty of situations or moments we need someone's help or advice, I'm not saying block everyone, I just think mothers need to have more faith and listen the instruction manual. It's funny how the people who made comments about how Miss P would be when she was 3+ now suddenly have nothing to say to me?? Why? Because she has developed exactly the way I had said she would and I have proven to them that by doing what I was doing will benefit her! Oh silence is golden! She will be clingy, not social, won't be ready for school. Really- well she is secure and knows I'll never desert her or abandon her, she is a social butterfly and got accepted for early entry to pre pre. Do I get a 'wow you were right good job' from these people? No of course not but what I did get was knowledge and that's what I love about having a blog- I can share, if a mum reads this who is doubting what she's doing or that its not the 'normal' thing to do but baby and mum are happy then she can stop doubting and keep doing it. I want more mums to be enjoying their time as a mum, listening to their baby not strangers or others who make them think twice.

It's off to bed for this mumma as I just know I will fall into that deep sleep to be awoken by Master X. Don't worry what book to buy as your baby has the book you need, you just need to listen to it.

Kate xxx

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