Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? During the course of my pregnancy, I was always so blind sighted by the concept of holding my baby that I didn’t really explore or look into what life might be like post baby and what babies actually do.
We all know how it goes; babies, eat, sleep and poop. I was naive to assume as much and to never have questioned what goes on in between or even during these stages in the day. I didn’t bother to think about what babies do when they are awake, how they act and what can trigger them to act in a particular way. Why does a baby cry?
I feel that I was misled and misinformed by the midwives and ante natal classes. I was only ever told of the positive side to motherhood, breastfeeding and babies. Never the negatives. I was silly to have been so naive and not ask more questions or have done more research into life with a newborn. After all, it is a life changing experience and I wish I paid more attention to this and given post birth some thought. I had wanted my baby so bad that I overlooked some of the most important factors surrounding becoming a first time parent. I had unknowingly set myself up for failure.
There is a lot more to babies than eating, sleeping and pooping. It is not as simple as it can be made to seem and a lot more delicate.
What happens when all your baby wants is to be held and will not allow to be put down? What happens when your baby is awake all night, crying in discomfort with colic? Nothing that you try to do will help and the crying only intensifies. What then?
What happens when your baby gains the benefits of breastfeeding but you, as the Mother are left feeling drained and lifeless from hours of cluster or comfort feeding? Breastfeeding is said to help a Mother share a strong bond with baby, however I was not aware nor made aware about issues that develop such as cluster feeding. The whole aspect of bonding is overlooked in my experience and I don’t feel nursing my baby builds a bond, nursing simply intensities how tired I am. I feel like I am not yet a Mother, I am a feeding mechanism with a baby attached to me almost 24/7.
Nobody warned me of the darker side to parenthood or what happens come dark. There is no routine and there will not be for a long time. Why are parents so misinformed about issues such as colic? Why are the benefits of breastfeeding pushed at new mums yet the reality of this nursing method is missed out?
Perhaps it is down to the parents to do their own research pre baby. Perhaps health care professionals should be more open with the reality of life with a newborn and not lead parents into a false pretense. I hadn’t even heard of colic prior to this. I have discovered just how common it can be among newborns and I feel a little upset that something so common does seem to be overlooked and not spoken of during a woman’s pregnancy.
We are currently involved in a six week baby massage class where we learn routines and techniques to massage Eleanor. An element of the class covers dealing with colic and wind build up, methods to help subside this are taught and seem to be very beneficial and relaxing. It certainly chills Eleanor out but is in no way the answer to her colic nor a long term solution.
I feel that had I been given information about colic or told the disadvantages of breastfeeding I could have prepared myself for the impact each would have and the extent of the toll that such issues can and do take. No new parent wants to be nursing their baby for hours through the night to help soothe the excessive crying, unable to lay their baby down anywhere but right beside them. It is tough.
We are told by Health care staff that colic is a phase that will pass. When? When will this phase pass? It is so easy to say yet being on the receiving end and dealing with your baby who is clearly in discomfort and struggling is not so easy. It is hard to see her struggle through. I feel so helpless during her episodes of this. Being told it will pass, is simply no use.
Life with a newborn is hard and there is so much more to it than we are led to believe. I often find myself feeling the strain of handling a baby all day both physically and emotionally, especially when she does not like to be put down. You don’t really get a break being a new parent and certainly factors such as colic and comfort feeding add to this. I only hope that come time, colic and the disadvantages of breastfeeding become more spoken of and awareness surrounding both is brought to the attention of new parents.
I only wish that during my pregnancy I had done my research and asked more questions. Had I had the information which I do now, could I have prevented the colic? Could I have been in a better routine of the sorts? Would I still have chosen to breastfeed? The fact is, it is now too late to wonder what if, II can now only act on the decisions that I had made and deal with each day at a time. I hope that this is just a phase and that the colic and the crying relentlessly will pass, sooner rather than later and I can gain some Independence back.