Mostly I try to be kind but I have an inner bitch too – and sometimes she cuts loose!
I know there have always been the ‘Tamers’ and the ‘Cuddlers’ and there is a whole spectrum between these two ‘ends’, so I don’t generally use labels. But my inner bitch is frustrated and impatient.
I get a couple of hundred emails and messages a day about babies from all sorts of people. Most of my emails are from the ‘Cuddlers’ (you are doing a wonderful job!).
Others are from ‘Tamers’ or people who have fallen for the B.S being pushed by ‘Baby Tamers’ .
I’m not talking about exhausted parents, reaching out for help. Im talking here about rude, self entitled a’holes who talk about their babies as though they are objects – inconvenient objects at that. They use words like ‘stubborn’ and ‘manipulating’ to describe tiny helpless infants.
I don’t have time to keep answering questions from people with ridiculous expectations of teeny, tiny babies, so I have made a FAQ (Frustratingly Asked Questions!) list, especially for the ‘Tamers’.
So, if you are a ‘tamer’ wanting a quick fix, just check your question here.
1/ why does my baby cry when I leave him in his cot?
Your baby doesn’t know he’s in a posh, safety standards approved cot with a monitor on the wall and anxious parents watching his every peep through the screen on their phone ( between comparing your baby to all the peacefully snoozing babies on social media. Tip: there are a lot of liars out there pretending they have it all together because they don’t want to cop shit for having a ‘bad baby’ either).
You have a stone age baby in a space age world! He is programmed to expect a sabre tooth tiger or a crocodile or an eagle to swoop and gobble him up if he’s all alone. So don’t leave him alone in the cot if he gets upset. If he’s still crying, for goodness sake pick the poor little kid up before he is overcome with stress hormones that will flood his tiny brain and make him feel terrified and abandoned.
2/ why does my baby cry when I don’t pick him up?
He’s trying to communicate with you. If you don’t ‘listen’ when he tries to ask you nicely, he will yell louder to make sure you hear. He needs YOU to PICK HIM UP!! (See number 1 – also see these tips to help soothe the tears)
3/ Why does my baby cry if I won’t feed him for 4 hours?
Let’s see, how long do you go without reaching for the chocolate or caffeine? Or grabbing a sip of water from your water bottle? Or stuffing your face with food? Bet you don’t often go more than an hour or two without sucking on something!
Oh, and are you trying to double your weight?
You baby’s gut is tiny – the size of his fist (Go on, check his fist. It’s little, isn’t it?).
And how big are your boobs? Yep, some of us have shot-glasses and some of us have ‘jugs’. Although it’s not actually about the size of your boobs, but what’s inside them, if you try and refill a shot glass with a litre bottle of water (or gin for that matter!), you are going to need a lot of refills, aren’t you? Well actually, your baby will need around 800mls a day and, just to be clear, that will be a few shot glass refills.
If you have ‘schooners’ (or ‘jugs’), as long as your baby’s stomach is big enough, you won’t need as many refills.
However, whatever size your boob storage capacity is, your baby’s tiny little tummy will be empty before 4 hours and he will need a refill! And your boobs will need to be emptied to tell them to make more milk too.
Your baby is hungry –or thirsty! Or he needs cuddles and touch – touch is just as important for growth and development as the food he eats! If you are feeding him mama milk, your baby will digest it really quickly (it’s fuel for his brain AND his body). HE needs to double HIS weight!
Whether you are giving him boob or not, your baby can’t reach the fridge yet so he needs YOU to feed him. WATCH YOUR BABY, NOT THE CLOCK! And remember, CRYING is a LATE hunger signal!
For effective tips to boost your milk supply, download Pinky’s FREE ebook ‘Making More Mummy Milk,Naturally’
4/ Why doesn’t my baby sleep 12 hours?
Why did you have a baby if you want to sleep 12 hours? Maybe you should have got a puppy instead.Or a doll that you can just shut in the cupboard when you don’t want to play any more.
Your baby is programmed biologically to have periods of light sleep (it’s important for his brain development) and he will arouse frequently in the early months -these frequent arousals are protective against SIDS. And of course, he could be hungry too – see #3 above.
So ditch the unrealistic expectations (and the sleep plans that tell you your baby should sleep for 12 hours) and surrender. Nurturing a little person is a 24 hour a day (and night) gig.
5/ Why does my baby wake up at 4 am ( I put him to bed at 6pm)?
If you put him to bed at 6pm, that’s 10 hours sleep. Your baby is either hungry after sleeping without food for 10 hours (See # 3 above) so snuggle him up with a boob and go back to sleep – or he’s ready to get up and explore the world! Two choices here – get up at the ass crack of dawn or if, like me, you don’t ‘do’ mornings (anything before 6am is the middle of the night for me), keep your baby up a bit later in the evening, be a FAMILY, feed him, play with him and enjoy his company. Then all go to bed together at a sensible time between 8 and 10 pm – and sleep til the sun really comes up.
Looking for gentle, respectful ways to help your baby (and you) sleep without compromising breastfeeding or the beautiful bond between you and your little one? See my book Sleeping Like a Baby. You can download the first chapter FREE HERE.
6/ Why is my baby so stubborn – he cries hysterically and refuses to self- settle ?
Because he’s not an inconvenience, he’s a human being. He obviously CAN”T self- settle.
Do you ever fall asleep cuddled up to your partner? Then does he/she wake you up and say, get over to your own side of the bed, we are creating bad habits? Nah, didn’t think so. You probably even make love some nights before you fall asleep or read a bit or have a nice warm cuppa. How about trying to see things from your baby’s perspective – he’s not ‘stubborn’, he’s an evolutionary survivor and he’s expressing his needs – for YOU! Give him a cuddle or a boob (yes, really, there’s good stuff in that mama milk that’ll knock the little sucker right out).
And, instead of losing your shit over your baby losing his, be grateful he hasn’t given up on you. He still trusts you will keep him safe, otherwise he would just shut up and not try to reach out to you. Think about it – do you want him to call you for a ride when he’s sixteen and doesn’t want to get in the car with a drunk driver? Or do you want to teach him right now that he’s an annoying little sod and he better not bother messing up your life?
Sorry, not sorry if I’ve pissed you off, maybe we aren’t each other’s people and that’s Ok. But if you want to learn more about responsive nurturing and how you can survive this intense time (I’m an IBCLC Lactation Consultant and a mum of five so I know a few tricks to beat the stress and calm your baby and your world), check out my books ‘Sleeping Like a Baby’ and ‘Parenting by Heart’ HERE and my interviews with experts recording packages HERE.