Being a parent is one of the most complex and challenging experiences of life. It lifts you, and it throws you on the ground. It’s tearing you apart just to build you back in another better version of yourself.
Almost all parents want their children to be healthy and happy. To grow up into independent and strong adults who have good mental health and satisfying relationships. But, as easy it may seem, these words, happy, independent, strong, have behind them tones of emotions, transformational moments, and a lot of dedication from parents.
Recently I had two such experiences in my motherhood journey and, I want to share them with you.
Breastfeeding and sleep
In the last couple of weeks, Arun Sai started to breastfeed more during the day and to stay more than usual in my arms or his fathers. But mostly in my arms in a constant attempt to rich the breast.
Apart from this, I started to think that his sleeping pattern should have changed by now, falling asleep by himself and not waking up in the night. I am breastfeeding him to sleep and also during the night when he is waking up. Usually once around midnight and several times in the morning, after 04:00 AM.
Am I a Good Parent?
Arun is a happy, playful, and healthy little boy. But, even though I was seeing, and feeling that it’s nothing wrong with breastfeeding longer and often, my mind started playing all sorts of questions in the background. Am I spoiling him? Am I doing the right thing by letting him command how often to breastfeed? Should I be more strict?
The same thing happened with the sleeping pattern and almost at the same time. Should I stop breastfeeding him to sleep? Am I creating a bad sleeping habit? Should I “train” him to fall asleep by himself?
Besides thinking of my comfort, sleep more, or have a moment for myself in the night, I was mainly thinking of Arun’s well being, feelings and development. I was creating harmful patterns by always offering him what he was asking for?
Christian and I never agreed with letting Arun cry to sleep. It just didn’t felt right for us. Even though I have to admit, we did try it one or two times. Fortunately, my heart broke into so many pieces, and I couldn’t let Arun cry alone. Not even for two minutes.
Nonetheless, this didn’t stop the conflict that I had inside. Between what I felt and what I heard or read in different places. I want to raise a man who is in touch with his feelings and not ruled by his emotions—a balanced, empathic, self-reliant man who can cope well with stress.
All these seeds are planted now, in the first years, especially in the first three years. With this in mind, all of these questions started to weigh heavily, and the conflict instaled quickly.
Old Patterns have deep roots.
Our old patterns have deep roots and are the first ones to arise when placed face to face with a new situation. I began hearing in my mind you should do this, you must do that, you shouldn’t do the other one, all I heard along the way regarding raising a baby.
Sometimes we have thoughts that are in contradiction with our feelings. We are sucked up in a vortex of questions and uncertainties. It is essential to take a step back to look inside, balance ourselves, and start searching for answers and different perspectives. In these particular moments Educating yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you.
Our instincts never fail us.
It seems that our instincts never fail us when they come from a place of love and consciousness. We do know instinctively what to do and how to deal with challenging situations we encounter along the way.
After I started researching about breastfeeding and sleeping, I came across knowledge that instantly resonated deep inside of me, and that also satisfied my logic and common sense, what I read created a smooth and powerful bridge between my mind and my heart that brought me clarity. I felt relieved and empowered.
With both of these topics, breastfeeding, and sleeping, I had the same transformational experience.
During their first three years, our babies go through many transformational moments. This process takes place on all levels, body, mind, awareness, consciousness. As you can imagine, it can be quite overwhelming for them.
The moment when Sai started breastfeeding more often during the day coincided with his intent to pass from crawling to walk and with his first words. In the beginning, I didn’t saw the link between these moments, and it frustrated me. These situations opened the door to questions and worries.
Likely, I discovered an article on Kelly Mom blog that provided useful and in-depth information that challenged me to listen to my instinct and ultimately dissolve my worries.
Little boys should never be put to sleep. They always wake up a day older.
When it comes to sleep, there are so many reasons why our babies wake up that is almost impossible to know for sure every time why. They could be scared, hungry, thirsty, feeling lonely, or maybe they had a nightmare or a tooth just started to emerge.
Whatever the reason, the fact that your baby is calling you when he’s scared or in pain should be something to be grateful for. This means that he trusts you, and you are the only one in the whole Universe who can bring him comfort. Isn’t this a superpower? Trust me. I understand precisely what all of this means. I’m doing it for precisely one year and one month by now. It is challenging and annoying, but also beautiful and magical.
What gives me the power to continue is the thought that I’m doing my best to offer my baby boy a healthy emotional start in life. And that it is just a phase that will pass. At one point, he will naturally gain the confidence to soothe himself without needing me. Therefore, there’s no point in rushing the moment just for my convenience.
Our toddlers are unique, and some of them will sleep by themselves. Some of them won’t. Some will eat more solid foods, and some will want more breastmilk. We, as parents, need to take the time to focus on understanding their needs and their unique way of communicating with us.
I came to the conclusion that babies know better than us what their needs are. They are using the power of sound and all the inflexions they can access to tell us they need our help.
Overall, the only thing we need to do is to trust them, really trust them that they know better than us when they are hungry, thirsty, in need of affection or if they’re tired, especially in the first three years.
I’m with you in this, and I know the amount of work and dedication this implies. Also, I genuinely believe that be will raise conscious adults who will have all the necessary tools to live a fulfilling life. By doing this, In addition to these, we will heal as well.
Let me know your thoughts. What are you struggling with? I would love to know if you had these questions too.