I was listening to the radio today and I heard a programme about being a mummy or daddy for the first time, and how scary it can be. Apparently, all you grown-ups remember the first time you bring us home, and often wonder “what do we do now?” It’s a shame I don’t recall it at all – it sounds like a momentous occasion!
I guess it’s bound to be daunting, but look at it this way – you’re the first mummy and daddy we’ve ever known, and we think you’re absolutely great! When we’re that tiny, we babies have very few needs so go through the list and you’ll get there. “Feed me!” and “Change my nappy!” were my most common demands. And, if we’re honest, they’re still the things I shout for loudest.
In my first few days in this place, Mummy and I spent a lot of time practising feeding. I know she really wanted to feed me herself and it did seem to be going quite well. But, I have Daddy’s appetite! I ate and ate and ate, but Mummy couldn’t produce the milk fast enough. I lost quite a lot weight and Mummy and Daddy were worried, until a really nice midwife suggested giving me a little formula after my breast milk.
A lot has been written and said about breast versus formula milk, and my mummy got quite stressed about it because she felt she was failing in the most basic of mummy duties, but she wasn’t. On the contrary, if you ask me – she could have persevered, but she would have only proved a point to herself. She was a far better mummy for realising the issue and dealing with it. We carried on with breast feeding till six months, but I just got a formula top up after my feeds. I like to see it as a pudding after my meal!The programme went on to talk about instincts, and what happens if it seems like you don’t have any. Like I said earlier, we babies think you’re doing a great job and it really doesn’t matter if you don’t do things like your friends, or your sister, or your mother-in-law. We’re all individuals so it makes sense that we need an individual approach. There’s nothing wrong with getting advice, whether you read a book or talk to someone, (or they talk to you!) but take the bits you like, and don’t give the rest of it another thought. You might think someone else has more experience of being a parent, but no-one has more experience of being a parent to your baby.