There are many things that make me feel guilty as a new mom. These are a few that I have really struggled with. I usually am not one to give into social pressures and I usually feel confidence in my decisions but being a mom changes your brain and thought process. My little one is 6 months old. These months feel like they are flying by so fast (even though those first couple months almost did me in). Anyways, back to what the point of this post.
My little one is 6 months old and I googled how to relactate. Yes, you read that right. I had too much time on my hands one late night feeding and started to feel guilty for not sticking with breastfeeding. We made it 6 weeks and I had enough saved up that he had breastmilk for 2 weeks after that. There was one morning where we (me and baby) were both in tears trying to get him to eat and he just wouldn’t latch. My mom very gently asked me why it was so important to me that he breastfed. The only logical answer I could come up with was “breast was best” because that is what you read everywhere. I couldn’t stand the shame that I couldn’t feed my baby. I had been taking supplements to keep my milk production up, drinking water like a fish, and had to take other supplements to avoid clogged ducts (holy smokes OUCH). Later that day we introduced formula and he has been a formula baby ever since. Everytime I made a formula bottle I couldn’t help but feel sad and shameful. There were multiple times where I would feed him a bottle with tears streaming down my face. But he was happy. And as a mom that is all that matters to me. He is happy, healthy, and growing. Formula feeds were less stressful on little man. No more fighting me to latch. No more wondering if he was getting enough. Not to mention, now his dad and grandparents (or anyone) can feed him and give me a break. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t feel shame. Because I do. Everyday.
“Just give that baby some tylenol”. When Jackson was 3 months there was a 3 day stent where I had to give him tylenol every 4 hours for teething. He was in so much discomfort from teething that by the 3.5 hour mark he was biting anything he could get to his mouth and just a fussbucket. I felt like I was poisoning him and taking the “easy way out” by giving him medicine. Why the HECK did my brain immediately go to that thought process?! Do you remember the scene in The Aristocats when Edgar is adding sleeping pills to the kitten’s milk? That is exactly how I feel when I give Jackson his Tylenol when his teething is causing him to be fussy. I told his pediatrician how I was feeling and she assured me that the infant tylenol is not harmful and that I was a good mama for giving it to him. It was easing his discomfort instead of making him figure out why his mouth was hurting. I mean, at 3 months I’m sure he had no clue why his gums were itching. I tried every natural remedy I could find, teething oils, and gels. I spent over $100 on teething toys (sorry hubby lol) and that little stinker would rather chew on his silicone spoon than the toys.
Sleeping arrangements. I just have to laugh at this one. I think I said (way before having kids) that my kids would sleep in their own beds. Well here we are 6 months in and Jackson has been sleeping in our bed basically since day 1. When we first brought him home it was a “whatever it takes” for him to sleep. We would rock him, bounce him in the bouncer, contact sleep, you name it, we tried it. I was terrified of SIDS that there were nights I would literally “stay awake just to hear you breathing” (cue Aerosmith song). The hubby and I have fully accepted that we will have a pillow stealer and cover monster with us for a while. I follow many mom pages and it’s split down the middle. I have some that are strict about sleep training AKA making them sleep in their own bed or the other half co-sleeps. I see both sides and each have valid points. But, I honestly sleep better when I have my hubby next to me. So, it would make sense that baby just wants to feel close at night. That thought process makes me feel real poopy for trying to make him sleep alone at such a young age. I mean, he felt the comfort of my body for 10 months and then BAM welcome to the world, here is a cold bed (alone). It is the best feeling in the world to feel him snuggle up against me or I wake up to him “petting” me while he is off in dream land. Yes my sleep is interrupted BUT this is the most peaceful sleep I’ve gotten in a long time. In the mornings I wake up to him smiling right in my face and give him thousands of smooches. I know one day he will be a big boy and be in his own bed so for now we are going to take all the snuggles we can get. When he is a moody teenager we can look back on these days and smile.
Schedules. Ugh… this exhausts me on. the. daily. I try so hard to keep a consistent schedule for Jackson but I myself don’t follow a schedule so how can I expect him to? We wake up at different times depending on my work schedule which means his nap “schedule” fluctuates. I read many articles about wake times and nap times and all that entails. That shit is exhausting. Counting how many minutes he is awake vs asleep will drive you batty. I started to just follow his cues and that made life so much easier. I was able to go places and do things and not have to worry about when his next nap window would happen. He would either go to sleep where we were at or wait and fall asleep in the truck. I’m hoping that he will learn to sleep wherever we are instead of in a certain spot at home with me balancing on my head and the sound machine on 100% (definitely exaggerating here). I coach CrossFit and there are times when he comes to class with me. That means volume full blast of 2000s hip-hop (my absolute fav), barbells hitting the floor, and at times loud yelling from yours truly to keep everyone going. He heard that for all the months in my belly and oddly enough, he is calm and relaxed during class. I guess coaching while pregnant had its benefits well after giving birth!
There are so many ways to raise babies. Why does one way have to be “the right way” and the other is “the wrong way”? Just because one mama chooses something different doesn’t make it wrong and/or bad. Maybe they’ve exhausted everything they could to try and do it your way? You never truly know what moms go through to care for their babies and how hard we try to be “the perfect mom”. For me being “perfect” looks a lot different than I thought it would in the beginning. Which now that I think about it, that was probably self inflicted stress. I had never had babies so why did I already have planned what was going to happen? Chunk those hard set lines in the sand away and give yourself some grace. Give yourself room to mess up (because it happens), to get it wrong (that’s how we learn), and to grow into the mom you’re supposed to be. If your mom friends (or family members) give you baby advice that doesn’t follow what you want, just smile and say thank you for the suggestions. You don’t have to follow them and honestly you don’t ever have to think about them again. You keep doing what works best for you, your baby, and your family. My sister has been saying this for years, “you do you”. That has been the best mom advice that I’ve received and given. You do what ever you have to do to stay happy, healthy, and sane (that’s a definitely a separate blog post coming up). The take away from this long drawn out post is: give yourself grace as a mom and know that you’re doing your best for your baby. ❤️
-Mama Bear Out