“You know, you shouldn’t carry your baby around all day. He’ll get used to it and you’ll end up spoiling him.”
This is one of the very first pieces of advice as I’ve gotten as a first-time mom. It wasn’t from a friend, an experienced parent or my own mother.
It was from a medical professional – a nurse that walked in on me only a couple of hours after I gave birth to my son.
Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing – I still remember the fear and anxiety I’ve felt during those first three days. In case you’re wondering where my husband was and why he didn’t help, it’s simple: the hospital I gave birth in, one of the most modern and developed hospitals in Serbia that takes excellent care of mothers and newborns – does not allow fathers to be present at birth, or even after birth.
My husband was only able to hold our son after we arrived home from a hospital. Most of you who live in first-world countries will gasp in disbelief, thinking it must have been so hard, almost impossible to do.
That’s the truth, too: it was hard and I mostly felt like it was an impossible task, until I was finally able to get out. For most women in Serbia, this is the norm. Something they’re used to doing alone.
I wasn’t. I desperately wanted my husband to stay with me. I felt like a scared little girl during that whole experience. Doctors and nurses yelling at me and calling me a coward during the very act of giving birth did not help, either.
I had no one to help me and I was clueless.
All I knew I needed to do was to hold my baby when he’s crying. Sing to him, rock him, carry him around. It was either that, or letting a 2-hour-old baby cry it out. (Ever heard of that method? Me neither.)
So I picked him up, and I was immediately told I would spoil him.
I couldn’t understand how love, comfort and early bonding could possibly spoil a being who isn’t even aware he exists. He couldn’t even see properly. He didn’t know anything about this scary, cold world – all he knew was that, when I hold him, he feels safer. More like he used to be, curled up in his mother’s womb without a care in the world.
I’m sure you’ve heard all about spoiling your baby if you hold her too much.
Here’s the thing – and I don’t particularly care if I get bashed by so-called medical care professionals who gave me unsolicited advice, too – you can’t spoil a newborn. You can’t even spoil a baby. Not with love, not with hugs, cuddles, kisses and gentle words anyway!
When a baby is born, she’s so defenseless that her life completely depends upon you. For you to feed her, bathe her, keep her safe and happy. Without you, there would be no life for her.
How could such a tiny little creature have it in them to manipulate you into carrying them around? You’ve gotta understand – they are incapable of forming any sensible thoughts at this point whatsoever.
All they feel (not know; knowing comes way later) is need to be taken care of. To be loved.
Be the source of love to your baby. Hold her. Rock her. Sing to her.
My baby boy is turning one in eight days. I’ve been there for him every single day since he was born. I did all these things, and I still wish I could go back and do them some more. In case I didn’t give enough. Just in case.
You may be having the toughest month of your life right now.
Trust me. I know. I’ve been there.
The day is long, but the year is short.
Before you know it, your newborn will be walking around, holding on to your living room couch. You’ll want to hug that baby and keep her tiny, just for a little while more. She will grow regardless. She’ll turn into a toddler before your eyes and will become the living proof of how quickly the time flies.
The hardship shall pass.
Once it does, here’s who you want to be on the other side: a parent who knows you’ve given all you had.