Yesterday was my birthday and my husband made it such a special day for me. First, he surprised me by taking the day off of work, then he took me to get coffee, have a picnic lunch, and then for a walk while he took pictures of me baby wearing our daughter. The pictures were the highlight of my day, because it’s something I’ve been wanting for awhile. Baby-wearing has been a huge part of motherhood for me, and one of my favorite parts of being a mommy (what mom doesn’t love baby snuggles?).
You can read about my journey of having a baby with colic by clicking here. Baby-wearing helped me through that challenging time. I would wrap up my daughter in my Moby wrap for several hours every day those first six months. At eleven months, I still baby wear at some point each day, and it still works wonderfully at calming her down when she’s upset or putting her to sleep when she’s tired.
When I became a mom for the first time, I dealt with a lot of doubt in myself. Doubt that I was doing anything right (especially the long nights that I couldn’t seem to do anything to help my baby girl stop crying). I received a ton of advice (which I’m so thankful for) and tried so many different things those first few months. I was told to schedule her nursing times, while others told me not schedule. I was told to let her cry or to never let her cry, to hold her all the time or that she shouldn’t be held all the time. I was told not to spoil her. I tried this and that, but in the end, I took the advice of others that matched what my maternal instincts were telling me (I believe God gives maternal instincts to every mom).
My instincts were to keep my baby close to me. My sweet baby girl had just spent nine months in a wonderful, warm world, where she was always beside me. She didn’t know anything besides being with mommy, and after she was born she was clearly happiest when she was with mommy. Why would I try to teach independence to a baby? Why would it harm her to be close to me? I read bits of different books that advised me to have her sleep in her own room, never in my arms. These books went against every instinct that I felt. My daughter’s cries were the only way she could communicate with me.
Some books suggested that once she was fed and had a clean diaper, it was alright to leave her cry herself to sleep because her needs had been met. Do baby’s not have emotional needs too? Of course they do! My baby girl just entered a new, cold, bright world which was probably so scary compared to my snuggly, dark, warm womb.
By following my maternal instincts, I used to feel guilty, sheepishly telling others that yes, I nurse her to sleep, or yes, I pick her up every time she cries. I was told (and still am told) that I’m too attached to my baby. At a certain point, I stopped caring what others thought, and I’m glad I did. I stopped feeling like I was too attached to my own baby just because I was following my instincts.
We live in a culture that tries to get babies to fit into our schedules, instead of embracing the beauty of motherhood and enjoying the sweet and fleeting moments with our babies. I once heard a comment from a frustrated mother, ‘I still have to rock her to sleep.’ How incredibly sad this mother’s perspective was. I cherish nursing and rocking my baby girl to sleep each night. I love our late night nursing sessions and I love holding her in my arms and having her close to me. I love that I can rescue her from tears by picking her up each time she’s afraid, upset, or just needing mommy. She won’t always need me in this way. In fact, she’s already showing so many signs of independence.
I have no regrets for answering my baby girl’s cries and always keeping her close to me. I hope this post encourages other new mom’s to do the same. Don’t ignore your baby’s cries or try to make your baby fit into your schedule. Embrace this beautiful experience. Some day you’ll look back and long to do it all again.
Here are a few of the pictures that my husband took of my daughter and I.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?” -Isaiah 49:15