As we all know, babies don’t come with instruction manuals. As a new mom who didn’t have her own mom to talk to for advice (mine passed away seven years ago), there were three main sources I had in my arsenal to go to for help. Those were:
1. The amazing “adoptive” mamas who have always made sure to look out for me for years,
2. The “September 2015 Mommas” Facebook group that I check in with religiously, and
3. Dr. Google.
But as every new parent has experienced, the choices other parents have made don’t always match yours, and the “advice,” whether wanted or not, can get exhausting. And Dr. Google, much like your best friend in high school, can either give you great advice or spread nasty rumors that you have vaginadentitis and your hair is falling out.
But my baby and I are doing a dance that has been done by every mother and every child since time began. We are learning how to take care of each other, learning how to nurture new life. Since she doesn’t know how to talk just yet, it’s more crucial than anything else that I listen to the ways that she does try to communicate. My daughter is not fussy. At all. So I resent when people tell me, “Oh, you know it’s okay to just let her cry, right?” Infants cry for a reason. Their cries are painful to listen to because they are not meant to be ignored. Every single time she has cried, it’s because she has a need that requires attention.
I also have no idea what she’s feeling or thinking. But I know that she is built to be happy and engineered to crave equilibrium. She doesn’t yet have the conditioning or the capacity to manipulate, prove herself right or push a hidden agenda. So if she needs to nurse for the fifteenth time today, I say okay. Not always enthusiastically, but I follow her lead.
I also let her sleep as much or as little as she wants. Sometimes she sleeps all day and all night. Sometimes she’s up and learning the world. I think to myself “maybe I should wake her up so we can sleep tonight…” But I never do. Because if she needed to sleep, it would be impossible for her to tell me any other way but to sleep. If she’s hot, what does it matter that it’s November or that so-and-so thinks she should wear a hat? Take it all off.
The bottom line is, I trust her because she trusts me. She trusts me to love her, care for her and read her cues. She trusts me to sift through the advice and the articles to make the right choices. And she trusts me to do what it takes, as often as takes, because she has no concept of “too much.” For her whole life, she’s only ever looked for “just right.”