What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

Introducing Baby Iris

By Mary-Jane

Introducing Baby Iris

I left hospital three days after Iris’ birth, and both my partner Jake and I had very little idea on what we were doing. I confess, I spent many hours 'googling' for help and advice in the first couple of weeks. I just couldn't help myself! But as I write this blog, I can say with some relief that my confidence is definitely growing.

I had some challenges in the first few weeks, especially with breastfeeding, but Iris now latches on with little effort and the anxiety I once felt with every feed, is no longer so intense. I'm always a little worried that I'm not providing the best care for our baby - is Iris getting enough milk? Do I have a low milk supply? Am I expressing too much? Should I be expressing more? Why are the feeds taking so long? But, as our little girl continues to put on a healthy amount of weight each week, I try to reassure myself that I must be doing something right. I am going to stick with breastfeeding for at least 6 months, and I sincerely hope that in that time, I will start to enjoy the experience. My sister loved breastfeeding her two children, saying it was the most a beautiful bond with her babies, and I just figured I'd feel the same, but It hasn't been the case as yet. I do hope this will change.

Over the last three weeks, Iris has been smiling a lot. It really is the best thing. I love peering into her bassinet first thing in the morning, unravelling her swaddle and waiting for her stretches to complete, so that I can receive the first smile of the day. Over the last two weeks, she has also begun to roll to one side and I have noticed that she is now happy to stay longer on her play mat, entertaining herself. Both Jake and I talk to her a lot, make up songs and bath her every night. Bathing Iris has been a really lovely activity to take on together. Iris loves it and chills out, Jake forgets about work, I stop worrying about what needs to be done around the house before I go to bed, and the cat joins us by sitting on top of Iris's toy box to look on (he never wants to be left out of the action). As a result, there is a lovely sense of calm in the house. It's these moments in my day that I love the most. 

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Sue Doogan

I’m sure this brings a smile to everyone’s face not just mine when I read your blog Mary-Jane! Your description of little Iris waking up and offering you her first (of many) smiles of the day – wonderful! Not to mention your increasing confidence and the sense of calm in your house.

In some ways I’m sure 9 weeks has seemed like an eternity, particularly when we focus on the slightly negative side of things: not sure what we are doing, googling everything before we act or our experiences of breast feeding isn’t as expected. But look at all the positives that have come in 9 weeks and the growth that every member of the household has made (both mentally and physically). It is truly amazing and you will continue to be amazed! The past 3 weeks sound like you are really settling into your role as a new mum.

What positive changes have other bloggers seen in the past 3 weeks?

We all must remember that we don’t need to compare or think there is something wrong just because our experience isn’t the same as other parents – we are all different just as our babies are all different. Time, instinct, evidence-based research, innate development, experience, temperament, expectation (just to name a few!) all play a part.

Not everyone’s experience evokes the same emotions. How many times have you been faced with friends or family who had a different experience than you at a restaurant, film, pregnancy? We seem to accept these differences but when it comes to babies or parenting we default to “there’s something wrong” or “I’m doing it wrong” if our experience is different to others. You might have a different experience than those around you but this is absolutely ok. Just be assured that you are doing the very best job you can, for you, and more importantly for your baby.

Be kind to yourselves! There will be aspects of caring and nurturing your baby that you may experience differently to others but it doesn’t mean it is wrong or not as fulfilling .Once we accept this, as Mary-Jane states, “there is a lovely sense of calm in the house”.

Posted in:  Baby 9-12 weeks