My little boy slept so well through the night. The first few weeks he was home, nursing was hard, but I had support and I fought through it and he slept like a champ. People told me he was 'such a good baby!' and I felt so...well, I felt like I was doing the whole mothering thing right.
Until my lactation consultant was measuring him and talking about our nursing issues and she said, "Well, everything seems great! He's gaining, you're feeding on demand...just keep doing what you're doing!"
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I smugly replied that I fed him whenever he wanted or woke, which was usually about every five or six hours. She seemed horrified and as we talked further, I learned that no one had told me that if your baby doesn't demand to eat (and prefers to sleep) that's a problem! In fact, she called him, "Content to starve," and that began a routine that included me waking every three hours for the next eight months to ensure he nursed and ate, and was gaining appropriately.
The truth is 'good babies' eat often. When they're hungry and often, even when they're not. They're not just filling their bellies, they're creating synaptic responses and muscle tone that plays into developmentally appropriate speech and so much more. More, good babies rarely 'sleep through the night' in the first few weeks or months of their life.
Do some babies? Sure. Mine did. But there was a problem. Do some babies and there's not a problem? Again, sure they do, but they are the outliers in the world of 'typical' baby behavior. Babies are not little adults; they are creating neural connections and synaptic responses in their brains at astronomical speeds, and much of that does depend on their appropriate sleep.
But babies are little humans, and just like in adult humans, what is normal for one sleeper looks very different for another. To continue the myth that a good baby is one who eats on schedule and sleeps on schedule just stresses mamas out as they wonder if they're 'doing it' wrong.
Well, except if you're a natural-minded mama, that is. Because if you are, you know babies will eat and sleep and have needs that are as unique to them as yours are to you. More, the time that they need you to be most attentive and assured in your bonding with them is such a brief time in the scope of their lives. Natural-minded mamas know this--that even on frazzled days, the payoff for wearing your child 24-7 is a child who has a secure and appropriate attachment with his family, and in turn, is better equipped to have those same abilities with the world.
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The natural-minded mama knows that fits of crying mean something is wrong--not that your baby is pitting against you in some power-struggle at three-months-old. The natural-minded mama knows that there's no book that perfectly tells you how to raise your child, and your mama's gut goes a lot further anyway.
So, do you really want a good baby? If you believe what mainstream mama literature tells you? That the 'good baby' just comes with a lot of work (or none at all because, hey, why change your life?) to make them fit into your life perfectly?
And you and your baby will be happier for it.
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