My baby and I had a breakthrough this weekend, because this weekend I realized that she actually likes me.
Yes. I do admit that this sounds more than a little odd. You may be thinking, “Of course your baby likes you! You’re her mom – she’s biologically predisposed to like you!”. But, I think you might be wrong.
During the first month of her life, it was obvious that Fern wanted to constantly be near me, but it wasn’t because she was genuinely seeking my company, but rather because she was in constant search of the 24 hour a day, all-you-can-eat, milk buffet. I must admit this was more than a little discouraging and honestly I was a little bit resentful about it.
I haven’t had what I consider to be postpartum depression since having Fern, but I’ve definitely experienced some “Baby Blues” and been emotional and part of this was due to my slowly growing attachment to my baby. A lot of people report having that immediate “falling in love experience” the moment their baby is born, but for me it’s been much more gradual. Of course I loved her, but did I feel all mushy and obsessed with her immediately? Not really.
To be honest, there have definitely been times when I’ve felt resentful towards her and times when I really didn’t feel as though I particularly liked her. I felt sad that all she ever wanted from me was food – I know that this is to be expected, because she’s a baby and that’s what they need, but it didn’t make it any easier for me. She would cuddle up with Craig and my parents or really anyone else, but whenever I held her, she immediately wanted to eat and as soon as she had her fill seemed perfectly content to be held by anyone and everyone else.
BUT, this weekend when we were at lunch, all this changed.
Fern became really fussy, so I gave her a bottle I’d brought along, but after awhile it became clear that she wasn’t going to be satisfied with just a bottle, so I left to nurse her. After about 10 minutes she was still fussy. She’s not a very fussy baby, so I was confused, since up to this point nursing her has pretty much been the cure all for any fussy moments. Then I thought maybe she was just gassy, so I laid her on her side, patted her back and waited for a burp, but she was still crying. Finally I just held her tightly, pressed to my chest and it was like a miracle. She stopped crying! This was the first time Fern had ever sought me out for comfort and not just food and I was elated! I came back to the table at the restaurant and proceeded to snuggle with Fern for the remainder of the meal.
Then, later that evening, I’d fed Fern and was starting to get ready for bed and she became fussy again. She’d just eaten a huge amount, so I knew she wasn’t hungry, so I handed her off to my husband in the hopes that maybe he could soothe her since this usually works, but she just kept crying. He handed her back to me to try to feed her again and then I held her tightly as I’d done earlier and again she stopped crying!
When we went to bed that night, I was beaming as I told my husband, “She likes me! She really likes me!”. And somehow this little realization makes me feel like this thankless job of caring for a newborn is actually worth it. Even though she can’t show gratitude in any kind of way, the fact that she has even the slightest preference for me as her mommy made me feel amazing and like I could overcome all of the hard moments.
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