As a first time mum its easy to get confused and overwhelmed by all the advice that gets thrown in your direction. Its nice that people care enough to share advice, but often it can be conflicting, which does nothing more than make you second guess yourself. Then there's the people who think they know so much more than you and outright tell you what you should be doing instead of making suggestions. On the one hand yes they technically may know more about mothering than you because they've been doing it longer, but that doesn't mean what they know is right for you. Here's the thing they may have mothered longer than you, but they weren't mothering your baby.
You're the only mum your baby has. You spent nine months (or thereabouts) nurturing your baby while they grew inside you.You are the only one that spends hour after hour taking care of your precious babe. Others may come and help, but at the end of the day when they've gone home, you're the one up at night looking after your little one (unless you have a really helpful partner).
You are the one that knows your baby best, even if at times it doesn't feel that way.
Being thrust into motherhood and having to take care of a helpless baby is daunting. Suddenly you're responsible for a whole other person, something you've never had to do before. There's so much to learn. There's a little person to get to know and countless sleepless nights to navigate. But if you listen closely, deep inside, you'll realise you have those wonderful mama instincts. Babies don't come with a manual, but when they come out they do switch on those instincts. So when you're in doubt look inside and see what your mama instincts are telling you.
Trust your instincts.
When bub was born she was happy and content for about two weeks, after that it all changed. She would scream for hours. She wouldn't burp. She went from sleeping in between feeds to refusing to sleep sometimes all day. She would projectile vomit continuously (sometimes up to 16 times) after breastfeeding. She started getting a rash on her face that spread to her neck, then her chest, then her belly. I knew something wasn't right. My instincts told me it wasn't normal even when others assured me it was.
I got so much advice from friends and other mums. The problem was most of it was conflicting. Use wind drops, no don't just hold her upright for half an hour. Babywear her to sleep, no leave her to cry herself to sleep. Keep breastfeeding, no put her on formula.
I was so desperate to make my baby feel better I pretty much tried everything. I used wind drops, held her upright, did bicycle legs, kept her close, changed my diet, supplement fed with formula on occasion; amongst a list of other things. There was slight improvement but I still knew in my heart that something wasn't right.
I took her to doctors on countless occasions and it felt like they kept brushing me off as an overreacting first time mum. They explained away her symptoms without ever looking any deeper to see if something was wrong. Vomiting after feeding is normal, she doesn't have reflux. She's crying because she has gas, colic isn't real. Her rash is just milk spots, its normal.
Her rash is spreading, its probably just heat rash. She hasn't got back to her birth weight, but she is gaining so we're not worried. Time after time I was brushed off, but I didn't give up. I knew something wasn't right. Even though I'd never had a baby before, my instincts were screaming at me that something else was going on.
Finally, after persisting for weeks, a paediatrician at hospital agreed with me that these weren't normal reactions for a baby to be having. It was suggested that she could have a cows milk protein allergy and she was reacting to my milk. We went onto allergy formula and she started improving straight away until one day she choked and stopped breathing after a feed. After a hospital stay it was determined she was definitely allergic to cows milk protein and was put on a specialised prescription formula. After that she was a new baby. No more vomiting, no more choking after bottles, no more rash and no more screaming. She now has regular paediatrician and dietician appointments and has a strict diet, but shes much happier.
I knew there was something wrong from the beginning and I was right. I'm so glad I trusted my instincts and persevered until we got the help we needed. I can't imagine where we'd be now if I hadn't.
Trust your mama instincts ladies, they're there for a reason.