It’s Normal to Not Know Your Newborn

I was reading the umpteenth article on newborn schedules (they were supposed to be on a schedule, right?!) when I got to the post’s final bit of advice, “But remember, you know your baby best!”.

I let out a sigh. No, I don’t!

I understood the sentiment; every baby is different, and these guidelines are meant for general purposes. You, as the mother, know what’s best for your baby. But when you have a newborn, you probably feel like I did. You barely know this new, tiny person!

At first, I felt like I was missing some instinct. Like I should know if the advice I was reading would be suitable for my baby, and I simply didn’t. So many times, the baby would be crying and my husband would ask, “What is it? Is he hungry?” and I would throw my hands in the air, “I don’t know, your guess is as good as mine!”

After a solid 6 months I finally felt like I was starting to know my baby. Six. Months. I was with him 100% – minus 2 days a week starting at 3 months old – and I was just starting to know him.

There are still days I’m at a loss as to what’s going on. Is it teething? A nap regression? Does he have a fever? Why isn’t he eating? Why is he up so early today? But I have never felt so lost as those first few months.

If you have no idea what your newborn needs, that is totally normal!

You are still an amazing mother, and you aren’t lacking any instinct. Caring about what is best for your baby is what makes you a a great mother. The rest you will learn as you go.

In one of my first Mom Group meetings the facilitator said something that stuck. A woman pointed out that her husband couldn’t calm the baby as fast as she could because he hadn’t figured out the right combination of rocks and pats. She told all of us new moms that parenting is on-the-job training, and we had more hours under our belts.

On-the-job training is 100% accurate. Reading books and posts can help prepare you. They give you an idea of what you could experience and what could work. But only time will allow you to know what works for you and your baby. Unfortunately there’s no crash course, so allow it to unfold in its own timeline.

Soon, you’ll look back at photos and think what I think, “Remember when we didn’t even know him at all?!”

It’s tough, but once you accept that you don’t know what’s going on, and that everyday is another experiment in mothering, you’ll start learning who your baby is, little bit by little bit. I hope enjoy getting to know your little one!

It can be overwhelming getting to know your baby, and learning who you are as a mom at the same time. Postnatal health coaching provides the support you need to talk about your day-to-day, how it’s different, where you want to be, and design a plan to get there. I would love to help guide you through! Email me at Samantha@simplywellcoaching.com and in a free 20 minute Discovery Call, see how I can help you thrive.

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