All aboard, My Parenting Mantra! Hop on to the Blog Train and come along with me and my fellow mommy bloggers as we share My Parenting Mantra. Some super mommy bloggers will be driving this train over a month. We promise to bring you some enriching insights into our lives and maybe some that will add to your own parenting experience.
My Parenting Mantra – Trust & Faith
Like most first time parents, we entered the world of bringing up babyT with a blank slate. Sure we had read all the What to Expects, and Dr Spock from cover to cover and waited for the weekly updates from BabyCentre. But we did not really know what lay ahead of us. Or how we would fare in the practicals.
And to top it, being a mother makes you super paranoid. You are always concerned whether your child is weighing enough, eating enough, developing enough, learning to walk, talk and the whole shenanigans that come with. But this is where I learnt a big lesson that nature is bigger than any of us put together. And that we must just TRUST Her to do Her job.
The first and foremost lesson I learnt was that if Nature intended for you to have a child, she also made sure you were capable of looking after and nurturing it. Enter breastfeeding! Only doubts existed in my mind that I would ever be able to breastfeed my child. I mean I was in my mid 30s, battled infertility and had consumed a lot of medicines to try to conceive. I was sure these factors had made me incapable of breastfeeding. In fact when my mid-wife told me to start feeding babyT within hours of his birth, I told her “No. There’s no milk.” She laughed and said of course there is and proceeded to show me the milk (or colostrum as it is in the early days) A real eye opener for me.
But that was not half the battle with respect to breastfeeding. Growth spurts, marathon feeding sessions, people advising you that breastmilk is not enough to fill their tummies, constantly threatened our breastfeeding relationship. There were times when my back was breaking, my stitches were hurting like hell and I hadn’t slept in days and it all seemed just not worth it. But then I remembered what the good ladies at the mom support group BSIM say – Never give up on a bad day. Mommy don’t you quit, my little baby who couldn’t speak yet seemed to say. I learnt that breastmilk was pure demand and supply. The more baby suckled at the breast, the more the body got a signal to produce milk. A big lesson in self-trust here.
Along the way we busted quite a few myths. One such was that medicines (for colic, teething), gutthis, herbs and herbal powders are to be used for babies for internal consumption or for massage purposes. I don’t intend to disregard centuries old wisdom of our forefathers. But I simply am of the opinion that nothing is pure and natural as it was in the days of yore. Some of these unregulated formulations and DIY solutions may end up causing more harm than good. I am proud to admit that we didn’t put anything in babyT’s mouth, apart from breastmilk, till he turned 6 months. An exclusively breastfed baby, his vital stats and growth charts were always very satisfactory. His health too, touchwood, has been good. He has got a few viral infections, but has much better immunity overall.
Hell, we even beat colic and set it fleeing with its tail between its legs. Colic can be a very unexplained and painful period for babies & their caretakers alike. Colic medications like gripe water is recommended. But I chose to believe that if it is a naturally occurring phenomenon in babies then it must have a natural remedy. We tackled colic with lots of tummy time (to eliminate gases), lots of tummy massages with asafoetida paste and distraction. Save 2 to 3 episodes of bad colic, we managed with just these techniques. My parenting mantra won the day for us time and again.
Tummy time also is a big contributor to developing core muscle strength in babies. And this helps achieve all other milestones like holding the neck, sitting up, standing and walking. Most people are of the opinion that babies must turn on their own and should not be rested on their tummy. We started from the time babyT’s umbilical stump fell off. 5 minutes at first and then going up to almost the whole afternoon on his tummy (as he grew.) BabyT turned over at 4 months, sat up at 6.5 months, stood up at 9 months and was cruising holding all the furniture in the house. And all this without the help of walkers or any such devices. I really have come to believe that babies achieve their milestones when they believe that they are ready for it. We the adults, only need to aid the situation by giving them opportunities to develop their skills and then leaving them in that environment. In this case – lots of tummy time and on a hard surface like a floor rather than a cushioned bed or mattress.
His only delay was walking which he achieved at exactly 13.5 months. It was not even a delay per se, but we expected him to walk much earlier because he was already standing. The delay was actually somewhere on my part, because I would hold his hand within the house and help him walk. One day I decided not to do that anymore. I knew I needed to display more TRUST. He was cruising and he could very well do that to walk around the house too. BabyT did stumble, fall and cry. But he walked within 1 week of me stopping the practice of holiding his hand. This was a big lesson in TRUST. He needed the trust and confidence that he could do it on his own and he did.
What does this lesson of TRUST mean for me as a parent?
It means resting assured in the fact that babyT will talk (he already does a lot) when he is ready. He will stop breastfeeding when he is ready. Potty training will happen when he is ready. As he grows up and his needs are less physiological in nature, it means that I will trust him to choose the sports he wants to play. The educational subjects he would love to dwell on. He gets to choose his friends and if he wants to spend time at grandma’s house every weekend or not. He can choose to help out his dad in the kitchen on Sunday’s. Or he could spend it entirely in front of the TV. But he needs to know it comes with a curb from his parents when they feel he is pushing his privileges.
I know I am saying this in a very 2 dimensional world. I have not accounted for a hormoney, awkward teenager who may think his parents are uncool people. 🙂 But I am hopeful, because parenting has not been about us teaching babyT a thing or two. It has been about us learning a great deal.