Watch the Baby, Not the Clock

Is she sleeping through the night?
When's her next feed?
Is she good?

These questions are currently the bane of my existence.

Whenever she wants.
Of course. Because all babies are good.

When Eric and I discussed how we wanted to pursue parenting, it made the most sense to us to be responsive to our child, create a loving, secure environment, and follow our instincts. We feel this to an even greater extent now that we actually have a baby.

But I underestimated the pressure I'd feel from well-meaning folks about sleep training and feeding schedules. And I definitely didn't realise how most people associate predictable rest and eating patterns with the "goodness" of a baby.

I'm grateful that the NHS encourages breastfeeding on demand and that UK laws protect my right to breastfeed in public. Overall, I feel I've gotten good lactation support here. I babbled on to the health visitor last week about how breastfeeding is going and she finally stopped me to say, "that all sounds perfectly normal. You're doing fine." I've gotten similar feedback from several sources so I just need to relax about it. As my doula described, I'm a twenty-four hour, multimedia entertainment system as far as Dash is concerned. I can offer food, drink, comfort, relief from boredom, security, and bonding with breastfeeding, which is pretty amazing. So I'm not keen to withhold when she asks. And also - she's only eight weeks old.

Maybe some people with babies this small are sleeping through the night, but Dash has never gone more than 4 hours in the night without a feed. This bothered me until recently when I just decided not to care. I used to look at the clock every time she woke up to see how long it had been. Why? Thanks to co-sleeping and a miraculous bamboo overnight cloth diaper, neither one of us has to wake up for more than a few minutes.

She's only going to be a baby for a little while and I don't want to miss a second. Of course I'm fortunate to be on a long maternity leave, but my husband feels the same way and seeks to be mindful of every moment with her.

Better questions to ask new parents include:
What is your favourite thing about parenting?
What surprises you the most about your relationship with your baby?
What have you learned about yourself and/or your partner?
What unique characteristics do you enjoy about your baby?
How can I support you?

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