Mamas, I'm looking for a little BTDT support.. E has hit this place where she wants to be more independent (I think). She sits up strongly now and enjoys spending most of her time on a blanket on the floor playing with toys. She is less happy when she's being held as she wants to be able to move around on her own... but this means that the only thing she really wants to be held to do is nurse, and for that she needs Mama and not me. So she doesn't really want much to do with me physically these days. If she's going to snuggle to sleep it's with Mama, if she's going to be held on a lap it's Mama's lap.. going to bed is generally a Mama activity as well.
Mommy activities these days seem to be high chair eating, Mommy reads while she plays on the floor, Mommy makes faces while she rides in the stroller, Mommy swings her around or bounces her up and down. I miss my snuggly baby!! She's on the move and doesn't want to hang out for much physical contact with me at all. It makes me feel like she doesn't like me much and likes Mama more... even though H says she feels like she only likes her for her breasts. At least she's getting what little snuggles there seem to be lately!
I think part of the difficulty for me also lies in how much like H she can be. It's not a bad thing, they're just both go-go-go types and like to be constantly on the move. H jokes that it took me ten years to slowly wear her down to my preferred level of calm, steady action. E doesn't want to sit and read books with me, or calmly gaze at each other and play peek-a-boo, or any other calm, slow activities that I had fantasies would be lovely with a baby.. She's happiest out of the house, like her Mama... I'm happiest in the house doing things slow and steady. She's LOUD, energetic, enthusiastic about her world.
She definitely attacks her world with gusto, which is wonderful... but how do I encourage the things that I want, those slow, steady, focused activities that we can enjoy together? How do I get my snuggly baby back?
Despite having never been a non-bio mom, I can still sympathize with the non-stop baby (DS' first sign was "outside,"a made up sign). I personally am in the "if you can't beat em, join em" camp but I think the sling is really your best friend. Pop her in the sling and head out the door for a quick walk to the mailbox or wherever, head back in and walk around the house talking about the art on the walls or bookshelf or anything up high for a little while. Going outside first is big because sling = outside makes for major sling love. Cooking while slinging makes for a lot of time, too. Give her a spatula and have at it until she gets bored.
Both of my kiddos have not been huge snugglers. Definitely more on-the-go than I tend to be (I'm thinking I tend to be like you and Katie like H). It took until he was two for Q to start to be a snuggler. Now he's a great snuggler!
I can totally relate to the breastfeeding, cuddle, closeness desire from the non-bio mom perspective. With Q it was definitely that way. Wylie has had major nursing issues and now only bottle feeds, so that has changed the dynamic with her.
But, I mostly wanted to write that I second what Seraf said -- I'd totally go for a carrier. I recommend a mai tai because they hold the kiddo close but she can see lots as well. The support is better (and thus closer) than an Ergo, too. We have a kozy that we used with Q and it's our favorite carrier this time around too. By far. I think the key with the carrier is for there to be a lot for the babe to be able to take in -- cooking, slowly strolling (slow for you, but lots to see for her!).
As for working on a different pace of life and getting E to enjoy what you enjoy, I think that takes time and patience. Right now, I think it's about following her. And sometimes doing something slower or more quiet near her or next to her while she moves about. Sometimes I'll read or knit or type on the computer while Wylie rolls around and plays like a tumbleweed, as my friend put it. We're near each other, in touch, but both getting a bit of what we need, too.
Best of luck finding the right balance here....
Thanks for the support! We have a Mei Tai, but I think she associates the sling either with someone trying to put her to sleep, or having to wear her huge snow bunting, which she absolutely hates putting on. When she's in the Mei Tai for me she's constantly trying to turn her head to face out or wrenching her body away from me. If I wear her in the hotsling on my hip she does a bit better. She still hates getting into it, and tries to bend away from me, but she tolerates it inside, which is something.
I think we may try some skin-to-skin therapy in the Mei Tai this weekend and see if that helps me feel a bit better.
That sounds like a great idea! And, we often have a hard time adjusting to the mei tai for a few minutes. Wylie does the huge back bend, jerk away thing, too. Often, if I put her on and immediately start moving, bouncing, dancing, singing, that's enough to settle her, and then she'll stay snug in (as long as she can look all around above the edges).
Good luck! Let us know how it goes...
Hi. Oh! That's so hard! Babies that age are starting to want to go! more and sometimes want more physical independence than it seems like they could possibly be ready for!
Our son came home at 9months old. (Adoption from local social services) He needed to be bonding with us and wanted nothing to do with holding or touching of any kind. Partly he just wanted to play ("hey ladies, leave me alone!) and partly he didn't know us. So: we did the stuff in a sling and move quickly to something really really really exciting thing. We laid around in the bathtub playing and sneaking in skin to skin time when he was distracted. We slid him onto our laps to play when we were on the floor, even though he didn't need the sitting support. We went to the indoor pool. Our situation was obviously different in lots of ways but some of the strategies are similar. We tried to interact on his terms and just slooooowwwwllyyyy stretch towards more touch and interaction.
J is now 5.5 and so snugly that sometimes I feel like I need to scrape him off me. He, like most kids, alternates wildly between preferring DP and preferring me, and we were able to split feeding mostly equally from the start. "no! Mama!" has evolved to "no! Mama is squishier, I want her to lay down with me instead!" (sigh)
Good luck and happy cuddling!
What about bath time? My DP gives DD her baths almost all the time and it's a nice quiet time for them to connect. Or snuggle up with Mama while baby nurses :) What about bedtime? Does your babe like books yet? My DP is also one of the "slow and steady" types (earthy taurus lol) and I'm a speedy one. So she also had dreams about reading books together and doing quiet, gentle things together. When DD is tired DP pops her on her lap and they love reading together. DD is quite snuggly, definitely more with me because of nursing but a lot of the time she is go go go too. We just follow her lead and have learned that things change by the week so who knows what will happen next!
I felt this way too when my dd was becoming mobile. She suddenly didn't want to snuggle - except when eating and sleeping, which was my DW's domain with breastfeeding. It was a huge loss - and I definately felt it.
One thing I loved to do was snuggle during a feed anyways :) we'd all get into bed, with baby in the middle. I'd just snuggle up with them. My DD often grabbed for my hand or chin - she liked having me there and after a while would turn over to smile at me or make sure I was still with them. Great memories :) Often we'd end up napping or playing together - great family time.
I second alot of the other ideas here - they worked for me too. Getting her ready for bed was nice too - I'd massage her with lotion and get jammies on. She was sleepy and more snuggly then. Often could get in some rocking chair time and books.
Now my DD is almost 2 - and things have changed. She is big into snuggling again - that happened shortly after she mastered walking - and loves to snuggle with both of us. More and more, though, my DW is feeling that our DD only wants to snuggle with her for milk, and she finds that hard. It makes my DW wife feel that she has 'less' of a relationship with our DD - that she doesn't have the same diverse relationship with her as I do, because breastfeeding is such a huge part of their time together. It doesn't help that when my DW comes home from work my DD yells "MILK!" as she walks through the door... So this is where we are at now, finding creative ways to work through and balance our mothering :)
Have fun finding your snuggle time :)
Best of luck with finding your snuggles :)
Thanks everyone, we had a great weekend with lots of snuggles, and quiet times, and Mei Tai action. It was really great.
Thanks for all of your suggestions, it's good to know I'm not crazy or alone! :)
I'm so glad you had a great weekend Osker.
Like others have said, wearing our kids was HUGE for me, especially with Leigh. When she got too big to wear, I think I felt kind of like how nursing moms feel when nursing is done (and I'm such a sucker for it I'll still muscle all 45 pounds of her up on my back on occasion). She wasn't much of a snuggler (very much go-go-go), but I could almost always get her up on my back if we were heading out.
I wanted to add one more thing, which is that in your list of Mama/Mommy jobs, it doesn't sound like you do all that much independent care right now. Is that true? I know families take different approaches to this, especially with how independent care fits (or doesn't) with their approach to nursing, but with both of our kids, making sure that both moms were able to do 1-on-1 daytime care, and manage bedtime independently (especially once past the newborn stage) was really important to us. This went a long way to instilling non-bio-mom confidence, and balancing out the inevitable "preferences" (and the resulting hurt feelings). If you're the only parent available, somehow those preferences just disappear like magic. You can get a nice boost of "she really does love me" to carry you through.
If bedtime is truly not your turf at all right now, I'd encourage you to find ways to build caretaking from you into the routine. If you guys prefer she nurse to sleep, then you can take care of bath/jammies/books first. If you are open to moving nursing away from falling asleep, then you can try nursing first, followed by you taking over and getting her all the way to bed. If you ever do bottles, a few nights out for your partner might be in order so you and the babe can work out your own approach. Don't get me wrong, switching up bedtime might be hard, and might not be your cup of tea, but for us it REALLY paid off in terms of helping us BOTH feel like competent parents, and build close relationships with our kids.
Again, so glad things were good this weekend! I think the most important thing with all of this is not to just sit on it, but to speak up, reach out and try something. Hang in there!
Thanks for your thoughts, Lyn. It's true, we have slid a little bit on bedtime. We had been doing more of a 50/50 bedtime thing.. and that's ultimately what our goal is.. but lately for some reason we've both let it go to what's easier, which is H doing the whole thing. Since we talked about it over the weekend we've made more effort to have me do dinner, bathtime, etc... which has been great. We had kind of gotten into a bad habit wrt her going to sleep/napping during the day, and we're working on helping her get more used to things the way we'd like them to be... It's just so easy to be lazy, you know? ;)
Twice this week I was able to get her to fall asleep in bed with me, which was great.. but then she woke up at 30 minutes looking for the breast and mad as can be that she couldn't find it.. so that wasn't great.. but we're starting out with tiny steps toward what we want, so that feels good.
Thanks again everyone for your thoughts and support!