You’re feeling a little off, you’ve missed your period, you peed on a stick and find out your suspicions were true. You are pregnant! You are over the moon excited and freaked out at the same time. You share the news with your partner and family.
You realize you need download an app to track your pregnancy and know every single thing your fetus might be doing. You book an appointment with your ob-gyn, buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting, The Dr. Sears Baby Book, join some online mommy groups and start reading all there is about pregnancy. You make sure to have a list handy on your phone of all the things you can’t do and mainly what you can’t eat during pregnancy. You run away at the sight of sushi! You follow all the rules to make sure you’re giving this baby a great start in life.
Nine months later (plus or minus) you give birth to the most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen. You know you’re high on birth hormones because you find this bloody, vernix covered creature gorgeous and the amniotic fluid smells like roses to you. You’re in baby bliss and all is perfect.
A few weeks go by when you start hearing advice from other people telling you it’s ok to let your baby cry because “she needs to learn to fall asleep on her own” or “she needs to stop manipulating you”. But here’s the thing, this baby grew inside your belly for 9 months, never heard loud noises, was always warm and cozy and then all of a sudden everything this baby knows gets taken away.
It is normal for a baby to want to be held, it is normal for a baby to cry when she’s alone. It’s a scary world for them and mom and dad is all they know.
Babies can’t talk so babies cry – they cry to communicate. They cry to tell you they’re hungry, soiled, tired, scared and even because they want to be held. Whatever their reason is it doesn’t matter, what’s important is that you respond to this cry. You acknowledge the baby needs or wants something. It’s not to manipulate you, it’s not to annoy you.
You took such great care of this baby while she was growing in your belly, you should continue to do so when she’s out. Eating a piece of sushi during pregnancy or a cold cut sandwich is far less harmful than letting this baby cry.
Yes, there will be times you can’t get to her right away, like when you’re using the bathroom, but don’t let this baby cry when you can hold her and nurture her. Don’t let her cry to “teach her a lesson”. She is just a baby. She needs you.
Babies cry for a reason, not because they’re using you. And guess what, if you respond to these cries the baby will know you’re there and she can count on you. The fear they have will dissipate and they will become more independent with time. This is a fact. If you let your baby cry and don’t answer her call she will stop crying too but because she’s given up on you, because she thinks she doesn’t matter. Is that the way you want your baby to start her life?
If you were so careful during those 9 months you were pregnant why would you let this innocent creature cry for hours? You are her mama, or her papa or her caretaker. You are all she knows. Follow your instincts. She depends on you. Be there. I promise, you will not regret being there, you will regret not being there.
I know some days might seem long, get a break, ask for help, but don’t give up on your baby. She counts on your support, on your love. Be there.
Babies don’t manipulate, they communicate. It’s our job to help them adjust into this new world and to do so in a loving and caring matter. And it starts by listening to their call.
You can do this. Listen to your mama instincts!