I have had some wonderful dialogues with parents of infants in recent weeks. It’s so touching to hear how parents experience the stage of life parenting a brand new, unique person! It’s so clear that it’s a tremendous time of development for the parents, who are learning so many new things and having so many new experiences. When I observe infants and toddlers, I constantly feel I can “see” their brains and skills developing! And I realize that the parents’ brains and skills are going through tremendous growth as well. It is truly a magical time in a person’s life.
So, my next few blog posts will involve sharing a little about the unique challenges and insights of parents of babies and toddlers.
- In the early months, you’re just exhausted from lack of sleep.
- For a while when she was a little baby, I couldn’t figure out why she was crying or what she needed. I felt like I was a bad mom.
- I didn’t know anything about teething at all! So, she would be crying and have a runny nose and diarrhea and I just didn’t know what was going on!
- At first, you feel overwhelmed and insecure and you can’t even figure out how to take of basic things you’ve always done, like taking a shower. You can really feel overwhelmed and alone.
- Sometimes I get worried that my child crying will annoy people and I need to somehow make it stop—but you can’t always make them stop crying. It can cause a lot of stress.
- There were tough things going on in my life at the same time as I was starting to parent her. I went through a separation with the father. I experienced postpartum depression and I also had to go back to work very soon, so it was a really tough time.
- For a long time, I worried all the time that I was a bad mom because I didn’t figure something out that my baby needed. Or I worried that other people would think my child was bad or I’m a bad mother.
- It’s not easy to find a comfortable place to nurse the baby here in the US like it is in some other countries.
- Talking to my mom!
- More time getting to know the baby.
- Learning to trust myself.
- Support from other parents.
- People who were understanding and supportive.
- Some things I read in books and online helped.
- Little by little, I was able to figure out some routines.
- Practical advice—like:
- As my baby got a bit older and was still crying herself to sleep every single night, I got advice to go and sit with her when she’s crying herself to sleep. I’m letting her develop her self-soothing skills without abandoning her when she’s upset.
- Talk to the baby about what’s going on, even if you don’t think she can understand, such as “Mommy is tired and upset right now and just needs a break. I’ll be right in the next room and I will be back soon.”
- Just take the baby in the shower with you!
What is some of the best advice you got about parenting?
Next post—insights shared by parents of infants and toddlers…
Contact the author:
Ginny Trierweiler, Ph.D., www.bornforbrilliance.com, 303-975-6103