Never say never right? I found myself being really amused today thinking about the various things that I said that I would never do when I had a baby. Some were years ago, some were when I was pregnant, and some were even in the early days of Billy's newborn life. I think I would actually struggle to find an "I'd never" that I haven't actually broken, aside from the likes of Cry It Out sleep training (CIO) which I can say with certainty that I will never ever do.
It reminds me that so much of being a parent is revolved around learning on the job. There is no training manual or induction. You don't get a taster. You don't get a little exam every few weeks to check your progress. You learn as you go. And it is a role that is so profoundly unique.
Turns out that I am not the mother that I planned to be after all.
1. I will never breastfeed past three months.
- Well what do you know. Here I am still happily breastfeeding my 7.5 month old. I thought I knew it all. Somehow I had the idea in my head that people who breastfeed aim to do so for three months. Maybe they do? I remember thinking that I would breastfeed for at least six weeks and I would be overjoyed if I made it to three months. It's lovely to look back now and see how far we've come. When I got home from the hospital (we were in The Coombe for five days) I was 100% sure that it just wasn't going to work. I gave it a shot, Billy wouldn't latch properly, I was exhausted and that was that. I called my mam and told her that I would be formula feeding going forward and she gave me a bit of advice to try pump. I didn't know then what I know now about breastfeeding. But I gave it a go, feeling a new found respect for the dairy cows of the world. The pumping would have stimulated my supply so that if I changed my mind and did decide to try the breastfeeding again I would have something to work with. Well visuals can be super powerful because when I gave the pumping a go and actually saw milk, I just KNEW I could do it. Psychologically I felt that I was capable. It was a real "ah ha" moment where I felt empowered to be a mother and a woman. The rest is history. Thanks Mam.
2. I will never have the baby in the bed with me.
- I said this when I was much younger, and probably before I became the broodiest person in the world. Someone had told me that you should never ever have the baby in the bed with you. Something about them never leaving, becoming too dependent on you, and bad habits. Well one baby later and I can report that co-sleeping was a life-saver for me. It was also, and continues to be some of the happiest moments of motherhood. In the early days when Billy was cluster-feeding he would feed more or less all night long. It was exhausting but an important part of our breastfeeding relationship in building my supply as well as gaining the confidence I needed to feed him myself. Co-sleeping meant that we all got decent sleep even during those very long nights. Another thing is that Billy hated the Moses basket with a passion. When he was in a deep deep sleep I would gently place him in the basket. Within five minutes you could be guaranteed that he would be roaring crying. He slept really well in the bed beside me. When it came to moving him in to his cot I didn't really worry too much. And rightly so. He settled really well in the cot. Even now, during a particularly bad sleeping patch (teething, leap and developmental changes) I take great comfort in being able to comfort Billy and take him in to the bed with me in the early hours. And lucky for him, and me, I don't for a second buy in to any of that "bad habits" stuff. It's a load of baloney if you ask me. The dependency thing is also ridiculous. They're babies. They ARE completely and utterly dependant on us. I see it as a privilage. It's my job to comfort, love and mind my baby. Something tells me he won't be looking for a snuggle when he's eighteen (but I'll try).
3. I will never give my baby jarred foods. I'll make everything from scratch. Only the best for my baby. Organic all the way.
- OK, so giving Billy the best and healthiest foods is really important to me. But I have given him plenty of jars and packets of food. There are times where they are exactly what you need. There aren't enough hours in the day to always make everything from scratch. And luckily, there are some really good options on the market. Not all jarred foods are full of preservatives and salt. The standards are really high and the ingredients are of a great quality. As I said, I like cooking and making Billy home made food, but the jars and purees are great when you need them. Anything that makes life easier on a stressful day is a good thing.
4. I will never be the mother who constantly takes photos of my child.
- Do I really need to even go here? Photos of everything. His eye-lashes, his ear-lobes, his smile, his cry. EVERYTHING.
5. I will never take pain relief during labour. I was born to do this. Drug free labour for me.
- One word. Epidural.
I could go on, but those are some of the more prominent ones that come to mind. It's actually a very humbling experience to look back and see how different things have ended up. As a spectator I thought I knew it all. Now that I'm a participant I definitely don't know it all, but I know I'm doing my best, and that's good enough for us.
Labels: breastfeeding, CIO, co-sleeping, motherhood, parenting, weaning