Your Baby, Your Way! – A first-timer’s guide for first-timers
When I was pregnant, we decided not to have parents over to help out once our baby was born and do everything ourselves. Lot of couples are making that choice these days as it helps them bond with their baby.
Most people were very surprised by our decision since it’s quite unheard of back home. We were told again and again that we are making a mistake and have no idea what’s gonna hit us! In fact, my husband Karan did start to doubt our decision towards the end but I felt we should at least give it a shot before we start freaking out.
Surprisingly, all our friends who did manage their new borns on their own told us its not as bad as everyone says. I’m sensing a pattern. Do you? 😉
In hindsight – it was the best decision we made! Yes, it was physically tiring. But mentally, it was easier (barring a few extra-colicky nights). We have enjoyed our baby’s first few months to the max – long nights, crazy crying (mother and daughter both!), diaper accidents and my favourite – fart smiles.
So here are 9 reasons why I would recommend managing your baby YOUR way from the beginning:
No offence to anyone, but guilt and self-doubt are a new mother’s best friends and hovering around telling me how to do my job or actually doing my job might make me grateful on the surface but subconsciously makes me feel useless inside. As much as grandparents have the right intentions and want to help, they do add stress and run interference. They might not want to but it happens. There is a lot less guilt and a lot more confidence when its just you, hubby and the baby – take long distance advice, do your research, talk to your doctor, decide what works for you and don’t blame yourself.
2. Father’s involvement:
So Karan would do the cooking and manage the house and I would primarily take care of Karma. When I needed a break, he would manage her. I would give her massages and he would give her baths. When she cried, only one of us would calm her down (instead of a bunch of people fussing which we think makes it worse). She knew her dad as well as she knew me from the start. Fathers don’t get to do much when the mother or mother-in-law is there.
Lets get real for a second – parenting has been known to distance couples as well. It does take a toll on the relationship. It makes the mother fierce and the father ignored. But doing it together as a team actually helped. It made us feel like we were in this together. Neither of us felt left out or ignored. We also bonded with her very well. If one of us is out the whole day, she is happy with the other one. It’s a good thing if your baby can stay with papa all day and not miss you.
4. Cranky baby:
I am not a medical expert so this is purely based on my friends’ and my experience (and some research). Everywhere I read, it says that everything is stimulation for a new born baby – even just looking at people. So when there are too many people managing the baby, it leads to over stimulation, less sleep and hence, a cranky baby.
It is easier to form a routine that will last for a few months when it’s just you and the hubby – primary caretaker and secondary caretaker. Research indicates that even a newborn baby recognises the voice and scent of its mother. So when the baby has one primary caretaker a.k.a. the mother, it latches on to her schedule sooner and falls into better sleeping patterns faster as well. When there are 2-3 primary caretakers, the baby doesn’t get a chance to latch on to single routine that will stick.
6. The fart smiles:
When you have grandparents staying over, you only get to see a cranky-crying-hungry-baby being handed to you for feeding. Or when its lesson time like bath or massage and your baby is probably crying through that as well. You don’t get to just sit around and stare at your baby in wonder. Chances are you will miss the first fart smile, the first loud fart or the first sign of recognition etc – all things funny and cute which make this initial tough time a little easier.
7. Crying and screaming:
Not talking about the baby here! This one is for the mother. Baby blues hit everyone for the first two weeks and the only way to deal with it is to let it out. There is too much pressure on new moms to be perfect mothers who are happy and grateful all the time. Lets face it – no mother is happy and grateful all the time and they should be allowed to talk about it. Sometimes, you just wanna cry or yell. You can’t scream profanities at your mother or mother-in-law but you can at your husband! :p
8. It gets easier:
You can feel the pressure getting easier as you learn from your mistakes (like how to reduce diaper accidents per week), become better at understanding your baby and gain confidence. Baby management, even with the hormonal-crying-fits and lack-of-sleep-frustration, actually gets easier. And as it gets easier, you get happier and more confident. It’s a cycle. However, when the parents are helping, it hits you suddenly once they leave and becomes quite overwhelming.
9. It’s YOUR baby:
I am not saying don’t get help if you need it. You absolutely should if you want to. But if there is something that you want to do your way, don’t be afraid to speak up. It is your baby and your instinct matters most. So don’t worry about hurting people’s feelings and take a stand. Let them know why and how you are planning to do things. Keep them involved but maintain your independence. Everyone will not just get over it, they will eventually be proud of you. You’re the mommy and you know best! 🙂