I had just showed up for the night's postpartum visit, and bath time had just ended. The baby was not calm, relaxed, and ready for bed, like the book said she would be.
"Is this how this is supposed to go?"
"The book is telling us to set up a routine. Do we have to go through this every night?"
Mom and dad and trying to do the right thing. It is evident in every move and every choice they are making.
The baby gets dried off. A diaper is put on. A bottle is given. Baby is bright red from the night's activities.
Dad looks down at her and looks horribly worried. "She already hates me."
This is part of the trials of being a parent. Making choices, seeing how they go, and adjusting. There are no manuals for how to care for your child. Sure there ARE manuals, but no guarantee it's for your model of baby, if you get what I mean.
I can show you how to swaddle your baby. I can talk about easier ways to bathe and dress your child. I can help you understand how to help calm a fussy baby. But you get to be the expert in your child.
It doesn't feel like though, does it? Some days you are banging your head against all those parenting books. Some days it's almost impossible to remember that you are the adult and you are supposed to have the answers.
What I've learned in the short time I've been a parent, is that making choices and trying are what are important. Being a safe place for your child to rest and be loved are important, but as I'm learning from some wonderful parents out there, being deliberate and consistent are important as well. Here is a blog post that was shared by Northeast Doulas, and I want to share it as well.
Rules Without Relationship Breeds Rebellion
I encourage you to read this post and sit with it. Does it resonate? Does it make sense?
The family with the baby that was screaming like she was dipped in acid are a long way off from having daily conversations with their adolescent or teenaged children. But what translates to infants just as well as older children is Jenni and Jody's statement that kids need quality time together, and in large quantities.
You've heard parents complain, "My baby wants to be held all the time!" or "She is asleep, and as soon as I put her down she starts screaming."
Building trust, letting your baby know that you will be there to provide and care for their every need, even if it is just to be held, is the beginning of an open relationship.
So no, your baby doesn't hate you. She just hates being apart from you.
What about you? How have you built trust with your children as they grow?
Authored by A Swift Doula