A plea to reduce the expectations we are placing on our babies

It struck me during a bub’s first birthday today how so many mums are focussed on their babies growing up and gaining independence in the parents imposed time frame. Sleep and breastfeeding were the big topics that kept arising. 

I heard one mum remark, “We’ve finally got down to only one breastfeed a day. Thank goodness” …while I’m there with my breast exposed letting my munchkin suckle as he pleases. I just couldn’t comprehend how these women were wishing for breastfeeding to be over. I cherish each of those cosy, intimate moments with my little one that I know will only last a very short time in the scheme of things. The mere thought of stopping our feedings gets me a little teary. 

I am often asked, “how long do you plan on breastfeeding him for?” I feel unable to answer such a question as I don’t see it as only my decision. Sure, it’s my body, but it gave my baby a space to blossom and grow for 9 months and it will continue to do that for as long as he needs that nourishment and comfort. People seem awfully concerned that I will have a 13 year old who still breastfeeds but I feel confident that my baby and I will find a time to wean that is approriate and gentle for the both of us. And I can’t tell you when that will be. 

“Is your baby sleeping through the night?” seemed to be the small talk of the party with some gloating mothers bragging of their unicorn baby’s incredible sleeping skills while others shamefully admitting to their gremlins still waking in the night. YOUR CHILDREN ARE ONLY A YEAR OLD. One fast year in this world. They are not mainpulating you. They are not “bad” children and they will not be “terrible sleepers” forever! And I’m sorry to break it to you but they aren’t gifted geniuses who matured at a rapid rate if they can sleep for 8 hours – you are just incredibly lucky! 

Don’t misunderstand me here: I would love a full night sleep. I would probably scream with joy! But I’m also not going to impose that expectation on my tiny human because of my personal desires. I made a commitment to being his mum and providing him with a safe, comfortable space to explore the world. 

When we create this environment of hostility and competition between mothers, we shift away from the realisation that each child is unique. Rather than setting expectations from our preconditioned minds, I urge us to bond with our babies and create a connection that allows our souls to connect. By being present and aware, we will foster a secure attachment from which our babies can flourish in their own way. 

My dear child: I am your cheerleader and not your referree. 

I would love to hear all your views on this, whether you agree or not, please let me know your thoughts. 

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2 thoughts on “A plea to reduce the expectations we are placing on our babies

  1. Such a lovely post!! You put my own thoughts into words in a much better way than I would have ever done. I’m so fed up of with people asking if she’s ‘a good baby’, i.e. if she sleeps through the night. I usually reply ‘she’s a good baby and she doesn’t sleep through the night, it’s normal at this age not to!’.

    In the future, I might just say I’m her cheerleader and not her referree!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I usually respond in the same way! Society’s misconceptions of normal baby sleep patterns is so damaging and their comments can make desperate, fatigued parents second guess their instincts! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

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