Monday, February 03, 2014

The Voice of Experience - Ha!

We've all been there...
I met a lady with a ten day old newborn last week. He was a bundle of snuffly, snuggly warm joy, his little unseeing eyes trying to focus, his little body squirming and wriggling. At six pounds, he was relatively small, and I had to remind myself that this was still 30% bigger than Baby Britney (BB) when she arrived in the world.

The lady, let's call her "Nell the New Mother", had an all too familiar look about her: her eyes looked dead and cold, her whole demeanour screamed shock, combined with grim resignation.

She was clutching not one but TWO copies of the Gina Ford book, and I couldn't help but smile when I saw that she'd stuck post-its all the way through it, just like I did with mine. Foolishly thinking that those post-its would be my salvation. In the two hours I spent with her, her baby did not sleep once. He was bright and beady-eyed and reminded me a lot of BB.

She barraged me with desperate questions: Why doesn't he sleep? They all said he would sleep? All my friends' babies sleep? Does yours sleep? When will he sleep? Why won't he be put down? Why doesn't he eat the amount he's supposed to? Why does he eat every hour, not every 3 hours, like all the books say?

She too had a career and a senior position pre-baby and was free falling through the sudden changes in her life. "I can never, ever go through this again," she croaked.

I wanted to envelop her in a giant hug, but as I'd only met her two minutes earlier I didn't think it hugely appropriate. The phrases "It gets easier/Enjoy it, it goes so fast/Trust your instincts" certainly never even crossed my mind.

So I did what I could and shared my wisdom (ha!) with her. This mainly revolved around the white noise app, white wine and swaddling. I told her that for the first few months new babies don't know the difference between day and night, they rely on smell, that they eat whenever and whatever they like, that attempting to get them into any routine before they are at least three months old could end up with you feeling like a total failure, so not to bother if it isn't working. 

I told her that she was doing a great job, that her baby was beautiful, that she would be ok. I told her that not all babies sleep straight away and it was nothing to do with anything that she was doing wrong. Just to keep on loving him and cuddling him and kissing him.

I told her to get her husband on board with the night feeds and to grasp any help she is offered with two hands.

I left feeling like a real professional. I had advice! I had opinions! I really knew what I was doing! I had come so far! I got home and cuddled BB, feeling like a real success. 

Then she refused food all afternoon and cried non-stop from 3-6 pm. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

1 comment:

Heather Von St. James said...


I have a quick question for you, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! –Heather