Posted on December 1, 2011
Iona is 76 days old.
She is lying almost asleep in the crib she has almost outgrown next to my bed. I am typing with one hand, the other rocking her crib so she’ll drop off to sleep. I am also making gentle ‘sshhhhh’ noises, hoping to soothe her further. Basically I am doing everything they tell you not to do in the books.
Don’t rock your baby to sleep.
Leave your baby to self-soothe.
Put your baby in her crib and leave the room.
Thing is I want to rock her to sleep and comfort her by making soothing noises. In fact most nights she falls asleep in my arms after a lazy feed. Breaking all the rules, that one. Maybe I am making a rod for my own back. Perhaps she will become too dependent on me and have problems sleeping without a cuddle. Or a feed. Or the familiar sound of her mother’s voice.
But here’s the thing. Just 76 days in, I trust my instinct as far as my baby goes. And my instinct tells me to make her as comfortable and happy and secure and safe as is humanly possible. Not only that, but I love these quiet moments. The late-night feed, just her and me, her piercing blue eyes fixed upon mine. Stroking the soft skin on her cheek or the fluffy hair on her head as her lids begin to get heavy and her eyes close. Lying her head against my chest, her head under my chin, kissing it a million times before finally laying her down. Then another few minutes spent watching her, noticing every little detail on her face.
During the first weeks of Iona, when I was very tired and struggling with breastfeeding, and recovering from the C-section, every mother gave me the same bit of advice. ‘It gets easier and they’re not this age forever so try to enjoy it. It passes really quickly’. Of course at the time I just thought they were all supermums or something.
Not even 11 weeks in and I know exactly what they mean. It is easier. And time is flying by. My wee baby girl is growing bigger before my eyes and I am determined to enjoy every single second of it. That’s not easy in today’s world. As a self-employed mum, I was back at work when Iona was 21 days old. I’m lucky to be able to work at home but I still envy those mothers who have a year’s maternity leave. Even then though, the demands of the day leave very little quality time to spend with our children. So whether with my break-the-rules bedtime routine I’m creating a monster, I’ll take my chances in exchange for a few precious moments with my very own angel.