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A casual look at the old pics of Liya at two months got me carried away to some regretful memories. How silly and stupid I had been back then! If I ever write a book sharing my new experiences as a new mother, I would have its title – “The mom who googled baby’s pee count and poop color every day.”
As a new mother, did you hear statements like: “Have you ever heard that the baby’s weight double in 4 months and triple in 9 months? Nah? Then you are either a school kid or from Mars.” I was a victim of that statement. It just sank too much into my heart that I kept chanting it like a mantra as a newborn mother.
Biologically, I became a mother, but I did not know anything about having babies. I just thought babies are cute; they eat and sleep and pee and repeat. Being a google jerk, I should have looked up the internet on what to expect after a baby is born. But being the naïve I was, I was busy adoring my pregnancy period and treasuring my special moments. I did not even know how to hold a baby when she arrived. “Hold the neck first!” everyone would shout from all sides. It was terrifying, and I had to do it a dozen times before getting the hang of it.
Ah! And all the episodes of feeding. Never before had I dreamt of being trained to feed a baby by a panel of nurses. I believed babies knew how to breastfeed right from birth; it took exactly a week to master the art. Honestly, I was more scared than happy when the baby arrived.
After Liya grew up to be 2 months, I almost freaked out before the doctor visit because Liya hadn’t gained enough weight for a 2-month-old. I feared the doctor would blame me for being an irresponsible mother for not feeding my baby enough. I believed it naturally came to mothers to tell when their little one is hungry and needs breastfeeding. I felt sorry that I did not understand her hunger cues. I believed myself irresponsible and careless toward the tiny human who came to this world trusting me and the breastmilk only I could give to her, but I failed to understand her needs. And I call myself a mother!
Then you see you have people staring at you, scrutinizing Liya’s weight and thinking in their mind, “Look at that baby. She’s not chubby. I guess her mother doesn’t feed her enough.” As a mother, you prepare all answers in your head to the series of questions you may be bombarded with: “Oh, she’s so thin. Is your milk sufficient?” “Are you not feeding her once every 2 hours?” “Why haven’t you tried formula feed?” You also get suggestions like, “Don’t drink too much water,” “Eat more fish, garlic, almonds,” “Drink a jar of milk twice a day.”
All I had to say is: “I think she’s fine. She looks lean, but her weight is on track.” “Research claims that breastmilk is the best for babies.” The truth is I copied these statements from some mom-article I had read recently and spilled it off on their faces. But inside, I would shrink and wrap like a snail in its shell. Whenever I encountered such questions, I would go back to online forums to reassure and convince myself that weight is not all-important; being active and happy is a good sign for a healthy baby.
After a few days, the guilt feeling within me triggered me to maintain a routine. I maintained a notebook to jot down every hour – the duration of feed, last feed, pee counts, poop color, sleep schedule, and the list is endless. I did that countless times and days until I finally gave up. I would google every little big thing on earth about nurturing a baby: “Why is the baby poop not yellowish?” “Is it okay if the baby had not pooped for 3 days?” “Why is my baby not breastfeeding enough?” After endless googling up, I ended up with just one answer for everything – “Oh, It’s just the baby milestones!” Honestly, I should have looked up how to stop googling for everything!
Though those were bizarre days, somewhere deep down, I kept myself motivated and figured that I was not all wrong. My family has always been a big support system; they kept me sane, and eventually, everything fell into place. Despite all doubts and fears, nothing kept me from celebrating life’s happiest and precious moments – enjoying the giggles, yawns, farts, burps of little Liya was worth every trouble. Liya completely filled my heart and the phone gallery (phone memory too. Sigh!)
Now, when I look back at the schedules, the hours of online searching and reading up, worrying for the smallest things, were totally crazy, insane, and absurd. I don’t know if I should laugh at my stupidity or blame myself for being so ignorant.
From my experience, I would say one thing to all new mothers – Trust your body. It’s just wonderful the way God has made it. It will not abandon you. Please do not give up on it; do not be so hard on yourself. Trust your abilities as a mother and enjoy every little moment with your child; they grow up just too soon.
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