Is my baby working? By Hakunamama
As I stand here downing my double strength instant coffee with one hand, whilst jostling a fractious wee man with the other... all whilst singing popular chart songs with bub's name sandwiched into the lyrics my first thought is.....
WHERE DOES THIS FIT ON MY SCHEDULE?
And I feel my anxiety rise like a hot flush. How long has it been since his nap? Did I feed him a full feed last or just a top up? Is this activity time or am I overstimulating when I should be under stimulating? My sleep deprived brain is spinning with the info gleaned from the last book I bought promising me a happy, relaxed baby that sleeps and shits on cue.
IS MY BABY BROKEN?! AM I NOT DOING THIS RIGHT?
I hold my hands up. I judged the mothers that anxiously discussed schedules and routines for their newborns. They were neurotic and stressy, and to some extend maybe they had difficult babies because they weren't chilled out enough. And that wouldn't happen to me because I would be RELAXED. BREEZY, even. Once my little bundle was born the pressure to appear outwardly as calm, relaxed and breezy felt overwhelming, and I easily slid from avoidant and ignorant preggo to full blown stressy, neurotic mama bear in one fell swoop. The baby books in the shops and online suddenly glistened like diamonds, or more poignantly to me, what I imagine an ice cool vod would appear like to a smug after Dry January. I was hooked. My secret habit (I had to appear breezy, after all) made me anxiety rise quicker than the realisation I was too late for pain relief during labour. Why do I feel so anxious when surely these books should deliver relief and comfort?
And when they don't work, or the decision to stay in all day so I don't miss the top up feed (one boob only, in a lightly scented room, with panpipes playing and fairies dancing merrily) leaves me contemplating checking myself in to the nearest psychiatric ward, I think to myself, where's my maternal instinct gone?
If I'm honest, I don't know when my baby is tired, when he is hungry, and what conditions best encourage sleep? My brain is so foggy with the latest sleep schedule that my own maternal knowledge has been buried deep under my latest white noise app.
Maybe I should try and find it again, and give up the schedules that restrict us and cause so much stress. My anxiety instantly subsides. Maybe I should celebrate my unique ability as a mama, that is inherently within me, and trust my own instincts and celebrate, instead of berating my child (why are you not working like they say you should be?!).
Hey, maybe there's a book for that?