Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Things I was Told Vs The Things I Did

As a mother, you are judged. No matter whether your child is a few days old or a few years, you'll always get those disproving looks from people you may or may not know. You'll be given lots of advice you may or may not need. And you'll be judged for every action or decision you take pertaining your child.

I didn't have it easier either. As a first time mother (ftm), while I was still grappling with my new life, I was told to do or not to do many things. And at times, was literally compelled to do things for the 'wellness' of my child.

Here are a few gems :)

Crying is good for the baby. Let him be. He'll learn to self soothe.
Really? I'd not leave an adult alone when they're upset or crying, let alone my baby. A baby needs the mother or primary caregiver 'all the time' and doesn't know what is self soothing. They need to be held, loved and made to feel secure and are not to be left to cry it out.

Don't carry the baby all the time. You'll spoil their habit.
I carried my son all the time till he started crawling. He would just not lie down, especially for his day naps and would cry murder the moment I put him down. Most of the time, I wore him while I went around doing my work and, eventually, mastered the art of doing everything with one hand. Today, at almost 18 months, he wants to walk and be on his own. If you try to carry him, he'd protest. The fact is babies don't always remain babies. They grow up.... too soon.

Top up with formula. You'll need it.
And why? Breastfeeding is the most convenient form of feeding I know. And apart from the nutrition it gives my baby, it gives him security, comfort, warmth and love.

Ensure he eats at least 2 times after 6 months.
Yes, I admit I gave in to this initially and regret it. But soon enough, I started following my baby's cues and understood that breastmilk or formula is and should be the main source of nutrition for the baby till 1 year. I let my baby explore food and followed baby led weaning. And trust me, I cannot be happier for taking this decision.

Extended breastfeeding will make the baby dependent and insecure.
To this, I'd say to come and meet my son. And if it's a problem that my son likes to be around with his mom or dad all the time, it's only natural for a toddler his age.

4 months? He should be rolling. 6 months? Not standing with support yet! One year old and not walking! OMG!!! I have become a pro at turning a deaf ear to such things. My baby sat without support at 4.5 months, but rolled only at 7 months and started walking at 14 months. Every baby is different. And I'd rather enjoy and celebrate every milestone than fret about it 'getting delayed'.

Don't rock the baby to sleep. You'll have to do it for years to come.
I've rocked and sung my baby to sleep almost till he was almost a year old. Then, suddenly, one day, he nursed, rolled over to the other side and slept off. And it has been like this ever since. I really miss the rocking and singing though.

Give the baby salt and sugar, else he won't like and neither eat regular food ever.
I gave absolutely no salt or sugar to my son till he was 1. There are enough research and studies that show how harmful these two things are. Hence, the lesser, the better. Now, though he eats the regular food that we eat, but if something is cooked for him separately, it's still without the two. He enjoys his food that way and eats what he's offered if he likes it or is hungry. And for those fretting about him getting less sodium etc, he gets it in natural form from various other foods, fruits and veggies, and of course, breastmilk.

Why don't you give the bottle?
Simple, because he likes having in his cup. And I'm proud of it.

Give cow milk. Breastmilk isn't enough!
It is, says WHO :)

Leave the child with someone else. They'll get used to it.
Yes, I'm a possessive mother, but I'd never let my baby not enjoy all the love and attention he gets from people who love him. If he's happy and comfortable with someone, and safe, I'll not think twice leaving him with them. That being said, I'll not force my kid to be with someone just so they get used to the idea. If he isn't happy, he wouldn't be forced to do it. 

It's okay if strangers want to hold him.
Really? Sorry, I don't think it's even worth answering why not.

It's okay to give junk food.
Junk is NOT OKAY. Period.
I've had someone offer my son Haldiram Punjabi Tadka Namkeen (very spicy) when he was 10 months. I turned around just in time and literally shrieked. And since then, never left my son alone with that person. Case of lost trust. For ever!

Again, extensive reading and research came to my aid and always does. Today, I am regarded as one of those stubborn mothers who doesn't listen or adhere to time and tested things (read as myths). And do I regret it? No. For the sole reason that I know 'what' I'm doing and am a part of strong networks of mothers who know their thing.

The most important thing I've learned is to trust my instincts and that no one knows my baby better than me. Because I'm the mother.

Be back soon.

Till then, take care and stay precious :)

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