Today I took baby to get weighed and measured. I always love going to the baby clinic and getting that little dot on the growth and height chart. I do find it mildly exciting. That probably sounds very sad but when you get confirmation that your baby is growing up and “following the line” correctly then it is very satisfying. Over the last couple of weeks with one thing or another (family wedding, illness all around and then niece being poorly) I haven’t been for a while so made an extra special effort to get up early, pack baby up and tootle down to the surgery. To my surprise baby was fairly static in weight; still putting weight on and following his line but showed a slight dip. His height is fine and even jumped a line which filled me with joy! The Health visitor assured me it’s fairly normal and not to worry but “to bring him back in two weeks, just to be sure”. What? Why would she say that? Is she concerned? Should *I* be concerned? But he looks fine? (Actually he looks more than fine…he spent the whole session trying to eat his toes and screaming in delight at anyone that would talk to him!).
After getting over my mild panic I found myself trying to distract baby with a toy to get him to drink more. It didn’t work. Bribery crossed my mind but at 5 months he is obviously too young to be corrupted. Or even understand what that kind of corruption means. I then had a flashback of my exasperated mum trying to bribe my food shy brother, when he was about 5 years old, with a new toy car if he’d only just finish his food! Its something I swore I would never do but I do find myself thinking about the various tricks I will probably try in the future to get baby to eat, drink, sleep and generally behave well. Pre-baby I had all sorts of “I will never do that” principles on how to raise a baby. I think I have already broken at least half. For instance:
1. I will never give my baby a dummy, they ruin your teeth!. This changed after about 3 weeks during a particularly long crying session. We had a couple from Avent (Evil Avent!!) that had come free with the steriliser. After pacing up and down with baby in various arms, rocking and cradling baby the OH and I picked up the dummy and thought “ooh, I wonder” and popped it into his mouth. It was like magic! He’s had one ever since. I have been assured by my dentist friend that as long as it’s not for years and years it is ok. Thats my story anyway! Now I would go cold all over if I left the house without one.
2. I will not let baby get used to sleeping in my arms. That is very bad!! I think I broke this rule on about day 1. Maybe even hour 1. He was too beautiful and too perfect to not sleep in my arms you see. Plus I was breast-feeding and he used to fall asleep and I never noticed sometimes due to all the gazing I used to do at his lovely face. I realised after a bit of time that I’d have to put him down to wade through the rubbish tip in my house and attempt to occasionally clean it. So yes. breaking out of this little habit can still be hard on some days but he does now sleep (about half the time) without being cuddled.
3. I will always breast feed. No bottle feeding!! After a couple of weeks of struggling badly and discovering I couldn’t produce milk on one side (and crying a lot out of tiredness and guilt) I decided to become one of those combined fed mothers. And it actually worked wonders for me. I had always wanted to be someone who went for 6 months exclusively just on breast milk and switching over to partial bottle was a hard decision, but in hind sight I am very glad I did it. Baby got all the breast milk I could give him and also the formula to keep him going.
4. I will never give a damn about what people say about baby! This one is very hard and whilst I am a fairly balanced person I still find myself feeling guilty about baby decisions “ooh should I start weaning at 4 months? 5 months? 6 months? His milk? Is that why he’s not putting on as much weight? But he looks ready? Arrrgh” you get the picture. Coupled with people around you throwing in their views baby rearing (“Why isn’t he doing blah blah”) can be bloody confusing. I am the worrier in our family. My hubby is more the “Sod off! We will do what we want!!” type. Thankfully we balance each other out like that!
5. I will use controlled crying as a method to get baby to learn to self soothe! I don’t think this even took off! Initially I’d panic at every little whinge and think baby would need a mass of cuddling to make him feel better. Although I can now distinguish between a whinge and a genuine need for a cuddle I have never been good at controlled crying and will instead shout out to reassure baby that “I’m here! Whats the matter baby?” It seems to work ok for us. I think!!
There are still some “principles” I have yet to break. Considering my track record on the above I will no doubt be writing another blog in a few months. A little taster of the contradictions to come….
1. I will never bribe my child. If he doesn’t finish his food he can sit on the naughty step till Kingdom come and then be sent to his room.
2. As above, once he is old enough, I will be firm with my punishments and carry them through. The Naughty step will be very much alive and kicking in this household.
3. No fruit shoots. Ever!
4. I will be the Firm Parent! Grrrrrr!
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