When our eldest daughter was born five years ago, I wish someone - anyone - had said to trust my instincts. To go with my heart. Instead, maternal health nurses, well meaning friends, family and random strangers, all had a zillion different pieces of advice.
Overwhelming much?! Exactly.
Being a first time mum, a big part of me felt like I should trust these people that had walked this path before or had worked with infants.
A small voice inside my heart kept saying something different though.
My inner voice was saying…
“Surely it can’t be a bad thing holding my sweet baby all the time?”
“Isn’t it the most natural thing in the world to nurse my baby to sleep? ”
“What’s wrong if she feels safer and happier sleeping with us?”
I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to completely trust my heart, but it took me about ten months.
Sure, there were things I could never do. I couldn’t leave our bubba to cry or go to sleep all alone, but there were other supposed pearls of wisdom that I tried to implement, thinking it was for the best. Things like not nursing our sweet girl to sleep, or not letting her sleep the whole night in our bed. I thought there was something wrong with either her or myself because she never slept through the night, far from it - she woke about ten times. (At five she still wakes once or twice.) She was never happy or settled, unless I was holding or wearing her.
I wish so many precious moments weren’t tainted by feelings of guilt when I was nursing our little poppet to sleep. I honestly thought I was doing things wrong and that I pretty much sucked a bit as a mum. Certain things felt “allowed” for the first few months, but then it felt like she should be more self-sufficient and independent at the ripe old age of three or four months!
It finally hit me when I was driving around in order to get her to sleep and keep her asleep. (It was also costing a small fortune; money we didn’t have.)
I could have been sitting on our couch, snuggling and nursing her while she slept soundly.
So that’s what I did.
I was tired of trying to do things the way our society recommended, for no seemingly good reason. It didn’t work for us and it didn’t feel right. So I listened to my instincts.
I am so thankful that our first born is an intense, high needs, emotional girl that taught me what kind of mama she needed. So, way too many months into her life, I decided to guiltlessly enjoy nursing her to sleep, cuddle her as she napped and to cherish having her sleep with us.
In the scheme of things, these days are so short. It’s not worth losing these beautiful moments with our sweet bubbas. In our hearts, we know what our little ones need. The more we listen to our hearts, the more we can truly trust our instincts and be exactly what our babies need.
Trust those instincts, mama, you know what is right and good for your baby.