I was talking to a friend who is a new mum the other day. Proudly she told me all of her new baby boy’s achievements, his smiles, his beautiful eyes, his ability to poo his own bodyweight- your average mum-like praise & wonder at this amazing person… then she told me how clever he was as he had slept all night in his own room. We talked some more over coffee in that way that all mums value. She told me how at times she finds it hard- it’s the not knowing why he’s crying…
Later I went home & sat & thought. With my first baby I was invincible, I had endured and survived the birth with all the machines that went ‘beeep’, I proudly told my community midwife about taking my 3 day old baby out for pizza and couldn’t understand why she looked taken aback. I did all the things a modern westernised woman can do. Only- I wasn’t invincible, my baby wouldn’t feed, I didn’t know why he cried in his lovely seat, his pretty bouncy chair, his perfect Moses basket that I had sewn the covers for myself.
With babies no 2 & 3 I did things differently. We baby-mooned. We had skin to skin time. We revelled in being in bed close and cosy. When it was time to go out we used slings. Not always successfully- I nearly garrotted my husband with a ring sling once… but that’s a different story. Sometimes we used the techy one with straps & buckles, sometimes the pouch one that I’d sewn. The difference was that my baby was always near me.
The difference made a difference. I was chilled, relaxed. I could talk to my babes, smell their wonderful heads, if I was Esme I’d probably have licked them. I could sense them and they could sense me. Like indigenous women have known for centuries and like the primates we are I could do what is natural and respond to my baby before he cried.
No-one can tell you how to parent your baby in the right way. There is a huge industry in books, magazines, websites and advice. I’m not going to tell you how to do it. What I am going to tell you is to be close, to use your senses, to let the attachment be. Trust your instincts, your gut feelings, be woman, mother, love.
Hold your baby, smell your baby, wear your baby with pride