Suddenly the "mom" of a 6 month old - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure if this is the right place for me, I'm not technically a mom, but I'm definitely mothering.

 

To make a long story short, about a month ago we recieved a phone call that changed the lives of my husband and I.   One thing lead to another and we were suddenly caring for my 6 month old nephew.

 

I come from a very broken and confusing background.  None of our siblings were raised together, for the very same reason that now 7 month old nephew is living with us - my mother was irresponsible and addicted to various drugs, alcohol and dangerous situations.  Now my sister (19) is repeating the same thing.

 

Prior to the day we picked the LO up, I didn't want children.  I didn't know that I'd even be able to connect with a child, much less that I wanted one "disturbing" my life and freedom. I'd never really been around them, even though I'm the oldest of 3 children.  My husband, on the other hand, was born to be a father.

 

The day we picked him up, we didn't know he would soon be living with us.  But that day changed my perspective on the entire world.  I don't know if I saw myself in the LO and wanted to compensate for my own childhood somehow (something I'm afraid of), or if it was just fate - but I fell deeply and madly in love.

 

The very next day our "surprise family" was formed. 

 

We've been scrambling to get him things he needed.  He'd been very neglected and had never even been outside other than to go for WIC services.

 

So now we've settled into things a little bit, we're working on Legal Custody (something she finally agreed to so I could get him medical attention and things like, oh - his shots!), then hopefully in the future adopting him, or having our hearts broken. 

 

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but in the meantime I haven't a clue what the heck I'm doing half the time.  I'm afraid of "spoiling" him, but I also want to bond with him and help him feel secure and loved.  I'm stuck between so many suggestions from people, mostly from the very dysfunctional family that I was born into - including the mother that chose drugs over myself and my siblings so I am hoping to find advice, support and suggestions from people who have nothing to lose or gain and just care about their children as much as I care about my.... whatever he is.

 

Thanks for reading. :)  Any suggestions on where I should make my way to next would be great!

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#2 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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. if you aren't a mother...I don't what a mother is. Remember, babies come into everybody's lives overnight-- those of us who are pregnant just get more of a heads up.
Good luck! If you have more specific questions you should ask them-- there are some very knowledgeable mothers on this board.
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#3 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 03:16 PM
 
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You certainly don't have to give birth to mother someone.  At least in my book, "mother" is a verb, not a noun.  Being deeply in love with a child and wanting to give him the best life possible--that is to mother.  You cannot spoil a child by loving him too much.  Actually, you can't spoil a baby at all.  They're fresh and unspoiled even at their stinkiest.  smile.gif

 

It sounds like both you and your nephew have travelled hard roads in your past, and I'm sure the away ahead won't be completely smooth.  You'll be in our thoughts and prayers, though, and doubtless many others as well.  My only advice is the same as for any other parent:  Take it one minute and one day at a time, and don't be afraid to reach out for help when you need it.

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#4 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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Your nephew is lucky to have you. In purely practical terms, the book that most helped me at the beginning was The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. He has a few other books, but that should get you started. Best of luck to you!!!!!


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#5 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 04:35 PM
 
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You sound like a mom to me hun!

 

And the number one piece of advice I give to new moms is to go with your gut.  Hug that little boy up, kiss him to death, pick him up and love on him every time he wimpers, hold him in your arms for every bottle, and even maybe think of co-sleeping with him.

 

(And please...before you take him for any vaccines...please visit our vaccine boards for some perspective.)

 

Welcome to mothering and mothering.com! 


Bring back the old MDC
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#6 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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Wow, so amazing that you are there.  Hopefully your sister can turn her life around. It is possible.

 

Congratulations on this journey!

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#7 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 05:40 PM
 
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I'll second the Dr. Sears Baby book recommendation.

 

I'm willing to guess that you nephew has not had enough attention in the first six months of his life. Don't let anyone discourage you from giving him attention now. You cannot spoil a baby by holding them.

 

You are doing a wonderful thing for this child. Feel proud.


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#8 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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Agreed with above. Do love him up!

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#9 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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You are doing a wonderful thing for him! You are his mother for as long or as short a time as you have him.  FWIW, I personally don't think you can spoil a baby that age, especially considering his less than ideal start in life.  You really don't have to worry about spoiling a baby until they are a year or so, and even then it's more about gentle behavior boundaries.  Enjoy giving him tons of attention, kisses, and cuddles while he's still little. Skin-to-skin contact is a magical thing but as he gets mobile he may be too busy for that.  Just do your best and keep on going.  If you listen to your gut and your baby you will be just fine.

 

For practical purposes, Baby 411 is a good go-to reference book.  It's very middle of the road as far as being supportive of different parenting styles. It's the book I pick up when my son is sick on a holiday weekend and I'm trying to decide if I need to call the doctor or if it can wait. 

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#10 of 29 Old 09-24-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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Congratulations on your new-found love.  On opening up your heart so widely and willingly.  You are a mother.  I nearly didn't become a mother myself as I didn't want children either, until I did and now I wish I had discovered this life sooner.  I love parenting.  So I am happy for you.

 

I'm so glad others mentioned the Dr. Sears The Baby Book - there are so many sections that will be of help to you and your husband.  All the "advice" from well-meaning friends and relations about spoiling, nutrition, bonding, sleep, early discipline concepts, health and wellness, etc. can be found in this book.  It helped sort out my ideas about attachment with my baby so I could make my own decisions about some really key issues (baby's sleep and the dreaded "spoiling by too much holding/attention") that so many people wanted to tell me how to handle.  I cannot tell you how often I had to have the "let her cry to sleep" discussion but I felt so supported by Sears' book I was able to stick to my own truth and intuition.

 

Best wishes to you and your new-found family.

Linda

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#11 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow thank you all for the suggestions, support and warm welcome.  I will definitely look into those books ASAP.

 

I'm not sure what Dr. Sears has to say on the subjects, but I know that I often hear advice that is so frustrating and heartbreaking that I cannot imagine putting a little one through it, much less someone who has been neglected during a very important part of his life.   

 

It will be good to hear unbiased advice.  I look forward to hearing experiences and suggestions from the wonderful mothers here who are so clearly wanting to be the best mothers they can be. :)

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#12 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IzzyTheTerrible View Post

Wow thank you all for the suggestions, support and warm welcome.  I will definitely look into those books ASAP.

 

I'm not sure what Dr. Sears has to say on the subjects, but I know that I often hear advice that is so frustrating and heartbreaking that I cannot imagine putting a little one through it, much less someone who has been neglected during a very important part of his life.   

 

It will be good to hear unbiased advice.  I look forward to hearing experiences and suggestions from the wonderful mothers here who are so clearly wanting to be the best mothers they can be. :)

 

I think you're absolutely on the right track. Hold and love your nephew as much as he wants. At this age it's absolutely what they need. If he's crying, he's not trying to "control" you, he's telling you he needs something. And we are biased, we're just biased toward loving and holding babies! winky.gif
 

 


Mom "D" to DD1 "Z" (14) and DD2 "I" (11) DH "M"

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#13 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 02:39 PM
 
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I would check out the foster/adoption forum in the parenting section of mothering. Lots of moms there in the same or similar position as you.

 

welcome to MDC!


living with alopecia universalis (google it), learning alongside my children DD 2003blahblah.gif DS 2007fencing.gifDD 2011jog.gif

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#14 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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I agree with one of the posters here, please research the vaccination forum on this site before you get any shots. many of us here choose not to vaccinate or to select and delay vaccinations. there is alot of wonderful info on this forum. good luck to you.


Lisa wife to Ronne and mom to 4 kids ,Thomas 4/92, Amanda 9/99, Christopher 8/06 & Nathaniel 5/08.
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#15 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 07:20 PM
 
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Welcome to Mothering.com IzzyTheTerrible.   One Golden piece of advice for Motherhood and all parenting things would be this- FOLLOW YOUR GUT INSTINCTS, OR INTUITION.  If you listen to that inner voice, you will find that your heart knows what's right for your new family.  Make sure you research EVERYTHING before you do it- don't just do what's "normal or routine" with out knowing all the facts, because you are responsible for your Nephew's life now. You will not spoil him by holding him, loving him, and by teaching him that you are listening to what he's trying to tell you.  There are consequences to the Cry It Out (CIO) method, and the people that push that method sometimes don't care about the consequences. The emotions of a child or baby are rarely ever taken into account. 

 

You and your husband need to find a groove that works for your family. You need to keep the communication between the two of you open and honest. Talk about your fears and concerns about being parents. Also talk about the things you research and figure out what will work for your family and what won't work.  Also, always ALWAYS be willing to flex.  The branch that will not bend in the wind will be broken.

 

Enjoy! Welcome to MDC! 


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#16 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post

You sound like a mom to me hun!

 

And the number one piece of advice I give to new moms is to go with your gut.  Hug that little boy up, kiss him to death, pick him up and love on him every time he wimpers, hold him in your arms for every bottle, and even maybe think of co-sleeping with him.

 

(And please...before you take him for any vaccines...please visit our vaccine boards for some perspective.)

 

Welcome to mothering and mothering.com! 

thumb.gif YES YES TO ALL THIS!

You have broken a cycle in your roots , that is so hard and such a great way to begin again!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Family , best of love on your journey!
 

 

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#17 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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Congrats on your new baby! I agree with all above posts... . You are a great mom to be reaching out for support you will find it here. I could not have raised my babies as well  with out this site guiding me and helping me and supporting me.


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#18 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 10:54 PM
 
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How lucky that little baby is to have you and your husband in his life, and vice versa. Congratulations on entering a wonderful new world.  :)

 

My two cents: Find a mama or two in real life that is also new to parenting--maybe join a group for new parents or even an adoption-support group to find other new moms in similar situations, and perhaps find a compatible mama friend. Second, find an experienced mama or grandma that you can learn from--maybe you can think of a wise neighbor or someone at your church (if you go to one)  or someone in your husband's family? Ultimately you will rely on your own instincts but it can be helpful to get ideas etc. from people who can also support you in real life. 

Also, I recommend the American Academy of Pediatrics Birth to Age 5--it's very basic, but it goes by age and tells you what's happening with a child developmentally, and it also has all the basic medical information that you may have occasion to look up, quite well organized. 

 

And yeah, don't worry about spoiling him. That baby probably needs to regain some trust in the world and to make up for some lost snuggle time.

 

Oh, and talk to him a lot, and read to him even starting now--he's not too young to enjoy looking at books (and trying to chew on them.)  :)  Get a bunch of board books or cloth books to start and also see what your library has. Language development is based on how responsive caregivers are to baby's communication attempts, so definitely pay attention when he babble or coos and hold a little conversation with him even though you have no idea what he's saying. If he has been ignored giving attention like this is especially helpful. 

 

Good luck and enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

 

 

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#19 of 29 Old 09-25-2011, 11:37 PM
 
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Izzy, I wish you well and want to applaud you for stepping up to take care of your nephew! What a big, potentially heartbreaking job you have taken on! I know there are others in your shoes on the adoption and fostering boards, you may want to start a thread there specifically about kinship adoption.

 

One thing that jumps out: You already have good instincts, even if you feel your background has affected your ability to parent. If something sounds like it would be harsh or "heartbreaking" you are free to not do it. Sometimes you can just listen to the advice, and just do the opposite if that is what feels right. You don't have to fight all these battles that you don't have settled in your mind all at once, just go with your own flow and love on that baby.

 

My favorite advice was to think of your baby like a little adult. Our culture tends to put babies very last in priority just b/c they are small and can't speak their needs, but I don't know many people who would force an adult to "cry it out" just b/c they were unable to get out of bed. Read to baby, take him on walks, to the store and just talk to them and hold him all the time, or let him play on the floor if that is where he is happy. They are good at telling you what they want, if you are willing to watch and listen for their cues :-)

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#20 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 12:25 AM
 
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If anyone is a mom, you are now. Love on that little guy, and trust your instincts. You'll find your way, and know what is best for him. You CAN break that chain of abuse, as well. I didn't trust myself at first because of childhood abuse, but if are aware of the challenges, they can definitely be overcome. My husband and I tried to adopt through foster care for a couple years, and while we decided to wait for now, we learned a lot. Finding an adoption support group, or for family member placements might be very helpful for you. Most importantly, love him, cuddle him, hold him, and believe in yourself.

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#21 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 04:14 AM
 
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Your nephew sounds like a very lucky boy to have you to mother him and I think you are very much on the right track.  My SIL had a sudden extra child situation due to death in the family and the other family members being unsuitable because of drugs and Children's Aide involvement.  My number one piece of advice to you having been a close part of this situation is to really take care of yourself and your relationship with your husband.  Really communicate and take this on together so that it can bring you even closer.  And never be afraid to ask for trusted help or extra support.  How you are doing affects how you parent and how your child feels in your home so much!  Keep taking care of your little one and each other.  My thoughts are with you.

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#22 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 07:38 AM
 
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Wow. Your story really touched me. heartbeat.gif What a lucky child to have you all in his life. I hope that you continue to shower him with love and stick around MDC. Dr. Sears writes, "Don't be afraid to fall in love with your baby."

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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#23 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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Your nephew sounds like a very lucky boy to have you to mother him and I think you are very much on the right track.  My SIL had a sudden extra child situation due to death in the family and the other family members being unsuitable because of drugs and Children's Aide involvement.  My number one piece of advice to you having been a close part of this situation is to really take care of yourself and your relationship with your husband.  Really communicate and take this on together so that it can bring you even closer.  And never be afraid to ask for trusted help or extra support.  How you are doing affects how you parent and how your child feels in your home so much!  Keep taking care of your little one and each other.  My thoughts are with you.


This is so important that from very first appointment, our pediatrician asked if we were getting enough time for ourselves, and to be alone together sans kiddo. Taking care of an infant, let alone an infant that may need some extra help bonding, is a lot of work. Take some time to make sure your relationship is strong, and to decompress. Make sure to do something every day for yourself, even if it is a 15 minute bath, a walk around the block when you get the mail, quiet time with a book after the baby is sleeping, etc.

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#24 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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#25 of 29 Old 09-26-2011, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you everyone.  I'll be ordering the Dr. Sears book ASAP and I've been researching delayed or selective vaccinations.  We are definitely going to be considering our different options. 

 

This is a really difficult situation, it's good to find some support and answers.

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#26 of 29 Old 09-27-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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He is a cutie. heartbeat.gif

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#27 of 29 Old 09-27-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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Glad you found this forum! There is great support here on raising children lovingly and gently! I think my advice based on your post is- don't worry about "spoiling"him- love him up and hold him and respond to his needs as much as you can! If you hear advice that involves letting him cry alone, or seperating him when you feel that you should be with him, just choose not to follow that type of advice if it feels heartbreaking in any way!  Choose the loving gentle choices.

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#28 of 29 Old 09-27-2011, 10:53 PM
 
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Oh, this made my heart leap out of my chest.  

 

You are without a doubt a mother.

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#29 of 29 Old 09-28-2011, 05:32 AM
 
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I learned from several people over the course of my life that love and family does not have to come from giving birth or even being blood related. My favorite grandmother who made me feel most special out of all the grandchildren- my mom's step-mother. My step-father has been wonderful to me and my children. My husband has been the best father ever to my oldest(and my in-laws took her right in as their own granddaughter). None of these people had a part in making any of us but I have seen over the years the love they have for me and my children.

 

As far as spoiling- I can tell you *from experience* that the more responsive you are to a baby, the more independent and secure they will be. You can have the clingiest baby but if you are as responsive as possible(spoiling them, according to others!), they will be a 4 year old saying to you as you drop them off for their first day of art camp, "Ok, you can leave now, bye!" and never look back.(oh that was a hard day lol I went to the car and cried) I see a huge difference in my first daughter's self-esteem and independence and my last two...the oldest was raised more mainstream as a baby, and my last two were more "Attachment Parented", along the lines of Dr. Sears.

 

I had never wanted children, either, until I had an unplanned pregnancy. I can understand a little of the emotions surrounding being a mom when you had always planned not to :) Also do your best but none of us are perfect and there will always be mistakes. Don't be afraid or ashamed to get help. Not only are you a new mom, you are a new mom with no warning! The fact that you are seeking good advice is something to be proud of. I hope everything goes well for you all. I have several neices and nephews and I would do(and have done) ANYTHING for them...they are second to my own children.


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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