I have never rocked my baby to sleep.
Are you shocked? Horrified? Disbelieving?
Join the club.
Since the moment she first laid in my arms, my Mya has resisted any and all of my attempts at snuggling. I entered the hospital this second time around, dreaming of the sleepy aftermath of birth, when I could hold my sweet baby girl to my chest and breathe in that brand-new baby smell while she slept contentedly.
That didn’t happen. Instead, she took to barfing. A lot. With a first baby who nursed happily through a time in my life when I worked the night shift and survived on gallons of caffeine, I had no experience with colic or a “fussy” eater. One kind nurse, trying to be helpful, suggested we suction out her little belly, hoping relieving it of mucus would cure the problem. Against my mom gut intuition, I agreed. Mya ended up with a gashed throat from the suction tube, which we didn’t discover until her one-week check-up, when we realized, through our sleep-deprived comas, that our baby had not, in fact, been screaming for a week straight just to torment us; she was in pain.
Moms, always trust your gut. Even in the little things. We just know.
So, she spent the first couple weeks of her life miserable from the sore in her throat. Then, I contributed to the misery with a double whammy of over-dosing on the coffee I had missed out on during my pregnancy while simultaneously eating cartons of fruit in an effort to get a jump-start on losing the baby weight. She threw up everything she ate, every time she ate. Cringe away, but I will again remind you that my first baby had NO problems with nursing. The whole watching-what-you-eat thing with breastfeeding was completely foreign to me. The caffeine I was able to figure out pretty quickly, but I can admit that it was news to me that fruit, especially those of the heavily seeded variety, such as raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, are major gas/colic contributors in babies. After the “oh, maybe what I’m eating is affecting her” lightbulb went on, I stopped at nothing. I cut out everything–all caffeine, dairy, fruit. If you’re thinking of going non-dairy, I highly recommend Blue Diamond almond milk, Silk is better for soy. I especially enjoy chocolate soy milk, and I guarantee you that a two year old doesn’t know the difference…
So my baby had an upset tummy for a while. She never slept well because she was so miserable. It was a rough couple of months. Everyone in my family took their turns in doing laps with Mya on their shoulder. It was the only thing that calmed her. I think that’s where it all began–somewhere in the ceaseless laps, in the guilt I felt for bringing the pain about to her, she learned that I was not the person to rely on to rock her to sleep.
Oh sure, she’ll go to sleep for me if I nurse her. But try to hold her or rock her, and she literally stands on end, pushes me away with her chubby little hand, and bellows at the top of her lungs. It’s utterly heartbreaking. All I want to do is rock my baby girl. The true wrench of the knife, however, is the fact that she willingly and happily snuggles and goes to sleep for my husband, my sisters, grandmas. Basically, everyone but me.
“Oh, you’re just stressed,” my mom said, waving off my complaints, “She can sense that.”
Well, yes, I’m stressed. I can’t do the one thing that moms are supposed to be able to do–comfort my baby.
Right now, at this moment, my husband is putting her to sleep. I tried to nurse her and she didn’t even want that. I tried to go in her room and hold her, soothe her, rock her. I’m like a dog; I never stop trying for her affections. She swatted at me, arched her back to get as far away from me as possible, screaming. Almost every night of her life, my husband has put her to sleep or she has cried herself to sleep. I feel like a murderer admitting that. I don’t know what I do wrong.
It breaks my heart. My baby will be in one in a month. She won’t be a baby for that much longer. I feel like such a bad mother. Mothers are supposed to be the nurturers, the ones kids want to come to for comfort and snuggles. I’m plenty comfy enough for snuggling, I can be sure of that, so what is the problem?
What kind of mother can’t rock her own baby to sleep?