As I’ve said before, for some reason everything you do as a parent attracts comment and ‘advice’ from well meaning (translate as interfering) friends, family, those dreaded books and even random strangers in the street (i kid you not). Almost always it’s about sleep (or lack of in our book). You are expected to sit and listen to stories of how their little one slept through from 3 minutes of age and never woke during teething or illness. And, because of their seemingly perfect parenting they’re full of words of wisdom for you, where you’re going wrong and how you’re making the proverbial rod for your own back.
Don’t feed them, just give them water (that was the stranger one) Well yes but she is only a baby and has a very tiny tummy. She needs to feed.
Don’t have them in your bed. Well, she’s just spent 9 months tucked up inside me. It’s only natural that being by my side is where she is most happy. (See the co-sleeping section for advice on how to do it safetly)
Don’t comfort them, they just start expecting it. Erm, well,I am her mum is that not part of the contract then?
Don’t rush in. Let them cry for 10 minutes before you go to them or they’ll learn that crying gets attention. Right, so, given that that’s the only way babies communicate I should just ignore her in case she starts making unreasonable requests like “mummy, can I have some milk please, ohh sorry I didn’t realise it was nightime, it all looks the same from the inside of my eyelids.” or wait until she can tap morse code on the wall. That way I’ll know she’s not just getting me up for fun.
Oh, yes and has anyone taught their baby how to tell the time yet? So how is she gonna know the difference between 1 minute, 10 minutes or 2 hours? All she knows is that she wants something, she wants it now and she’s not being given it.
I spent too much time worrying about stuff like this in the early days mostly because the pressure from other people is ridiculous. If I’d listened to my own instincts and ignored everyone else I’d have been a lot happier, not nearly so stressed and enjoyed those first precious weeks that go so quickly and don’t come back. You will not regret cuddling and loving your baby. A baby cannot be cuddled too much. You can regret, like I do, caving in to pressure to leave them to cry or doing something you’re not entirely comfortable with.
I do believe that if other people stopped interfering and we didn’t feel the pressure to have routines and little conformers, if you and your baby were allowed to get on with things in your own way, you’d both be more confident, understanding of one anothers needs and have a much more relaxed relationship than if you try and mould it to fit someone elses definition of what is good.
My only advice is, enjoy your gorgeous babies. They’re not babies for long.