When I got pregnant someone gave us the ‘what to expect when you’re expecting book’. I diligently read each chapter at the start of each new month to find out what was happening with the mini-me I was growing. Things happened fairly consistently and rarely veered too far from the norm (apart from a large bump and some mega birth anxiety) and I started preparing for our babies arrival. I ordered a bouncy chair because ‘I won’t want to be holding it all the time’ (she was an ‘it’ as we didn’t know the gender) and we were given a moses basket that I carefully assembled and bought extra bedding for. I was given a couple of contended baby books which I started to read thinking ‘oh wow a routine that early on, awesome’. Then she arrived and less than 36 hours after my C section we arrived home with a baby.
I put her carefully into the bouncy chair which had been placed on the floor between the two sofas in our living room. We put the telly on (top gear) and after about 3 minutes I looked at my husband and said ‘I want to hold her’. So I did. I rarely put her down for the first 6 weeks until we moved house and I had to pack some boxes. She napped on me, she had tummy time on my knees and because it was an extraordinarily hot summer we got lots of skin to skin too. She still naps on me now if we’re at home and I don’t have anything to do in naptime (who am I kidding… I always have things to do but like an excuse not to do them!)
When it came to sleeping that moses basket probably got used for the equivalent of 3 whole nights in dribs and drabs. Once we had mastered feeding laying down (perfect for post c section mamas) she slept in the bed with us, again until we moved. At six weeks we moved house and built her cot and that night she slept through 7 hours in it in her own room. Now, at 8 months she still comes in to our bed if she needs to and sleeps fine there or in her own room. I admit I’d love to have her here all night but with a husband who gets in at ungodly hours of the night from work she (and therefore I!) were waking up more than we needed to.
And as for routines and ‘contended’ babies… my baby is the happiest most chilled out baby I have ever come across. Yes I nurse her to sleep a lot still and yes if she wakes in the night I give her a cuddle. If she wants to nap longer in the afternoon she can, who cares if bedtime is an hour later? A baby led routine works for me, and most of all it works for my baby!
So despite what type of parent I thought I’d be (fairly regimented and not a cuddler!) I am completely happy with how things have worked out for us, and if Athena could talk I’m sure she would say she was too!
Are you sort of parent you thought you would be? Has your parenting style changed at all?