Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Updated February 2016
Dee Russell, Honeoye Falls, New York, USA
Photo: Athena courtesy Lena Ostroff
Remember how excited you were with your first pregnancy?
Perhaps you did like I did, and imagined you would have this beautiful baby doll. You pictured dressing her up in her lovely pink outfits. You would play with her, and then she would fall peacefully asleep, in the Jenny Lind crib you had purchased for her.
Then reality set in when, unlike those television babies who “fall asleep when their head hits the pillow,” your baby had other ideas, and only wanted to sleep at your breast! All those projects you planned to do while baby napped, get pushed aside, since your days are full of nursing her, rocking her, and trying to get her to nap! You realize that you did not bring home a little doll, but a real live baby! And that baby needs you 24/7!
So how does one adjust?
It really helps to be surrounded by people who will support your parenting choices, and give you sympathy and a pat on the back instead of offering you unwanted alternatives. La Leche League meetings are a fantastic place to find such support. Often mothers from the Group get together regularly for children’s play dates, and the moms can commiserate about their shared struggles and swap coping ideas. Fun for moms and babes!
Many also can enjoy the great library of parenting books, beginning with The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that all Groups offer. You can find a plethora of ideas and alternatives there.
With subsequent babies, mothers often expect and allow them to sleep on their own schedules, and adjust to them! Less aggravation, and a mellower household!
Experienced mothers have learned not to look for understanding from those who make different parenting choices. And instead gain confidence from the progress their babies make as they grow into secure, loving toddlers.
Get to know and enjoy your baby
- The responsibility of looking after a baby 24/7 can be overwhelming at first.
- Try to relax. You will soon learn what your baby needs and enjoys. The easiest way to care for a newborn is to accept and meet his need for closeness.
- After a while a daily rhythm will emerge that suits you both.
- Rest and sleep.
It’s important to talk to your health care provider if the “baby blues” or negative feelings that often follow birth become intensified and last more than a couple of weeks. Depression in new mothers is not uncommon and if recognized and treated mothers can recover quite quickly and enjoy mothering their new baby. Medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding are available. See Why Breastfeeding Is Good for Mothers’ Mental Health.
Dee Russell is an LLL Leader who lives in Honeoye Falls, NY, USA. She is mother to Holly, Janette, Daniel, and wife to Frank.