For the first few weeks of my daughter’s life, every time she drifted off to sleep happily nuzzled into my breast, I tried to put her in her bassinet. Inevitably, she cried and woke up.
I didn’t understand, was my baby broken? Was I a shit mum? Help me Google!
She didn’t like the bouncer, the play-mat, the pram or the car. Everywhere I went, people told me how their babies looooooved the car. Couldn’t get enough of the pram. I just nodded and smiled while anxiety sent my heart racing.
Google told me it was my fault. My baby was too attached to me. My tiny baby, this incredible human who grew inside my body for 9 months, and had never known a world where she couldn’t hear my heart beating, was too attached to me.
So I stopped Googling. I started cuddling up to my baby while she slept and gazing in awe at her tiny face while she suckled. I bought a carrier and wore her when I needed to get things done. I let her sleep in bed with me whenever she needed to.
There was even a term for people who parented like me. “Attachment Parents”. So I started googling again, and slowly I realised I was not alone. My baby wasn’t broken, and neither was I. I wasn’t a shit mum.
In fact, I was listening to my baby and giving her exactly what she needed. What’s more, science backed up most of the instinctual ideas I had about parenting, and rather than make my daughter “too soft” with my responsive love, studies show attachment parenting leads to happy, healthy, confident kids. No baby is going to fit perfectly into a list of parenting ideals, but the “good baby” model that Western society has created is so far from normal.
Listen to your instincts mama’s. Put away the books. Smile and nod at the advice from well meaning strangers, then do your own thing anyway. Find your tribe. Trust yourself, and trust your baby. In a few short years those tiny legs will be running off, distracted by the word that waits.
For now, breathe that heady newborn scent and marvel at the fingers curled around yours with surprising strength. You will never be this needed again.