My first Grubby Bubby is turning two … Two! I can hardly believe it. In some ways, it’s hard to remember life before him. A life that revolved around me and my needs and of course my darling husband. I really thought I was ‘adulting’ for a long time before I had kids. But then I had a baby and realised the sheer weight of responsibility that it entails and I had my first real adult decisions to make for someone so vulnerable and precious. I felt seriously out of my depth. In those early days of being a mum, I felt so uncertain. I’m not sure any first time mum can ever say they felt confident in their parenting decisions from day 1, but I know from my experience that if your baby doesn’t fit a certain mould then you are going to cop more than your fair share of unsolicited and solicited advice and it can be very hard to decipher what is worthy of getting through to your fragile, sleep deprived new mum brain.As I detailed in my first blog piece, my filter failed me big time. But as I reflected today on my baby’s big milestone, I looked back through some of my writing and found this little piece and I felt so much relief just remembering that those months of stress and worry were followed by a much more peaceful calm as I settled in to my groove and followed my heart.
Here it is:
As a first time mum, in the early days and months I really let other people’s opinions and advice filter through to me far too easily. One of the most common ones I heard was the old, ‘you’re building a rod for your own back, you start that now and you’ll be doing it forever.’ This pearler was pulled out whenever certain people saw me holding or rocking my baby to sleep, feeding my baby to sleep, or giving him a dummy. It was also very popular upon hearing that after 6 extremely exhausting months of trying to ‘fix’ my frequent waker, I now bed share with him.
I ran into a new mum this morning and the poor bugger was telling me how her little bundle would only go to sleep when rocked but how worried she was that he would always need her to do this. It got me to thinking as I too had all these worries and I can tell you now, my mothering experience has improved tenfold since I stopped worrying about creating ‘habits’ and thinking and worrying about the long run. And I’m here to say I am so glad I have built that rod for my own back!
As I just cuddled my sweet little 10 month old off to sleep, I breathed in his beautiful scent and pressed my lips to the softest cheek. I gazed at his peaceful, trusting, beautiful face and I could not think of one place I would rather be. For you see, it might be ‘easier’ to get things done when you have a self settling baby but there is honestly nothing I need to get done that is more important than what I have been getting done, helping my baby get the rest he needs in a way that works best for him.
I will also not be doing this forever, as these days are in fact fleeting. 10 months has gone in the blink of an eye and it breaks my heart as much as it swells with pride to realise that my little baby is becoming a little boy and is growing before my eyes. He needs me a lot right now- attention, cuddles, endless boob, to hold him tight to get to sleep and resettle. But before I know it he will be grown and I will not regret for one single moment the time and cuddles invested in him now.
I no longer worry about when he’ll sleep through, or when he’ll fall asleep without a boob or dummy in his mouth or how long he sleeps in our bed. I just breathe in and live these moments and feel incredibly blessed to be his mum.
I still cuddle/ or lie and hold hands and sing my beautiful little man to sleep for his lunchtime nap and at bedtime and I love it. Other people can put him to sleep but if I’m around, mummy’s ‘cuggles’ are the best. While I was pregnant with number 2, I did have some fears about how I would keep up with my intense little man’s need for comfort. When I found out I was pregnant he was still feeding 2 hourly around the clock. And once again, I did get my fair share of unsolicited advice, ‘oh, you’ll have to get him to start going to sleep on his own, how will you manage with 2?’ But thankfully, by then I had enough confidence in myself and was surrounded by enough like minded people that I knew things would work out in time. And they did. Pregnancy helped with weaning and the natural progression of day sleeps have seen him drop from 3 to 2 to 1 sleep all on his own. Following his lead. Some days it’s is tough, if he needs his nap while I’m still getting babe down, things aren’t always pretty. But on the whole, we’ve found our little rhythm and it works for us.
My second Grubby Bubby, he’s a totally different kettle of fish but one thing remains the same … He loves a good cuddle to sleep. Sometimes with boob, sometimes with dummy. Sometimes in arms, sometimes in carrier. He’s 3 months old now and I treasure my snuggles with my man because I know they are for such a short time. Some times I am exhausted. My back aches, my arms ache, my neck aches and I think to myself I can’t do this anymore and just go the F*+^ to sleep but mostly I just breathe and find my peace. I slow me down. I match my baby’s rhythm and for that time he is my arms, I forget about my to do list and try to remain present as his sparkling blue eyes grow more and more sleepy and gradually he drifts off into peaceful slumber. No stress, no fear. In his mama’s arms.
I am so in love with the good ‘Ol rod I built for my back that it actually makes me feel sad thinking of the day my boys won’t need their mummy to utilise it anymore. One day they will be too big for boob, too big for cuddles on my chest or lap, too big to need my stories, too big to need me to sing or hum them off to sleep. So ‘til that day, I shall treasure my rod and be forever grateful to have built it in the first place.
Who else out there is loving their rod they’ve built for their own back?
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