Brooklyn arrived into the world on February 22nd at 6:27am. By 7:30am I had a lactation nurse in my room bringing my baby to me for my first dose of mom reality. I wasn’t even given time to longingly stare at my baby where before I knew it, she propped me up with pillows, grabbed my boob, smashed it like a burger, and shoved half of it into Brooklyn’s mouth. I want to take time to thank Kristen Bell for this analogy (and laugh). She latched perfectly as I sat there in a daze and just stared at her. OK, not so bad. So far so good and if we hit any bumps along the way, I assumed I’d figure it out somehow and cross that bridge if I came to it. The nurse popped in often to remind me to feed her, just in case I forgot as I frantically tried to recreate the smash and shove method. These women obviously were there to help me, but I felt suffocated as they stalked and stared at my boobs while I fed her.

Two weeks later, the shit show began. Not only was she up all night, but she was up all night screaming non-stop. She would latch but then about a minute into it, she would fly off my boob screaming. Clueless, I would head to my computer with her screaming in my arms and ask Dr. Google anything I could based on what was going on. I’d tell my husband she was cluster feeding based on that night’s research. That’s what it sounded like online at least. I’d then return to the computer and read one article, then another, and then another. I’d open a book and frantically search as if a bomb was going off and I was trying to find the code to deactivate it. All my resources would have twenty different possibilities that only made me feel more lost. I didn’t know how long this would last but thankfully we had an appointment with her pediatrician that week. I was desperate for answers that actually worked. Luckily the Nurse Practitioner was a Lactation Consultant and she immediately told me it was overproduction. Basically, I was drowning my baby as if my boob was a hose that was turned on full blast in her mouth. Awesome, I was already failing at the mom gig. Even though she gave me a sigh of relief with some amazing tips that worked, I got back on Dr. Google just making sure there wasn’t anything else out there that was missed. I was going crazy researching and getting even more confused as a result. Why didn’t I just continue with what she told me and trust the advice, along with myself?

Why don’t I know what to do? I’m so confused!

Let’s cut to the good news first. Most of the time you DO know what to do. That knowledge is in there, but it’s just hidden by our huge fears of failure, looking stupid, screwing up our baby, others knowing all this, and too much information being thrown at us. We’ll cut to the “what others think” and smash that right now: You don’t have to tell jack squat to anyone. Lighten the load worrying about what others will think by just keeping it within the four walls of your home. The analysis paralysis and confusion we have is due to the overload of contradictory information out there. I’ve survived the battles to tell this. One website says this, your doctor poo-poos it with, “Oh that’s just internet garbage!” Your friend tells you that never worked for her, perhaps with a judgmental tone. A book you read then swears by it. Next time you see  your MIL, she tells you “Oh, that’s just a bunch of that hippie dippie crap”, and you’re left wondering what the fuck is going on and what to do. No wonder we are so confused and full of anxiety as new parents, or parents with children at any stage for that matter.

With each situation that blows up in our face, we feel there is this one magic solution out there for all babies. We keep searching for it. This is massive pressure and totally unrealistic. In reality, there could be quite a few solutions that could help you get through something. One day it may not work. Another week it does. One child may respond to it, your second one may not. It’s kind of a crap shoot at times. Trusting your mom compass, taking risks, being open to making mistakes, and seeing them as learning opportunities (versus failures), will lighten your mental load and anxiety. Allow yourself to open the doors a bit, connect with what speaks to you, and be confident in the decision you make at that time for your unique life.

Information changes constantly, and your baby is different!

I step into a baby-related store and the new products since Brooklyn was born amaze me. I guarantee some of the things I did with Brooklyn may not be the answer anymore. When you receive advice, first make sure the advice is from AT LEAST this decade. Or even the last couple of years. Even more importantly: even if a piece of advice worked for someone else’s baby, YOUR baby is entirely different than theirs. Your baby may not react or respond to what worked for your friend, and that’s normal. Oh, and another thing: You are an entirely different mother than the mother who gave you that advice. Honoring what you are comfortable with, what aligns with your values as a parent, and being brave to make decisions based on all this will create a confident mother inside you.

There will be a lot of things that don’t work, until you find something that does

Some days pumping a few bottles worked, and other days I had a formula on hand. When Brooklyn was teething, some days her amber teething necklace kept her smiling, other days it was Tylenol and a cold washcloth to chew on. There were time periods I used chlorine-free Seventh Generation diapers and then when her blowouts were so bad I stocked up on Huggies Ultra. If Plan A didn’t work, knowing a Plan B (or even a C) was out there gave me such relief with my anxiety. The trick is that Plan B or C were to be used with zero judgment. I attempted my best option first, but if that didn’t work the next best was just as good. I still use this mentality with raising Brooklyn. Then I don’t have to be stuck trying something that doesn’t work and brings me to tears. The key here is not overwhelming yourself with too many things though. Have a few options to go through and know it’s OK if you ask for help or advice if those don’t work. The support will help you where you don’t feel lost doing it all on your own.

I’m here for you mama, just know that. Reach out and let’s connect.

With Honesty,

Michelle Mansfield Blog



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