You are what your baby needs

In the early days of being a mom, one can get the message that all the solutions to life with baby would be answered by the newest gadget, the right diapers, the right book, etc.. Although stuff is nice and necessary, it is not helpful when we internalize that we are not enough.  Sometimes this feeling is exacerbated by well meaning friends and family who offer their advice before honoring your own intuition. Essentially, you often get the message that much of what your baby needs to be happy, comes from outside of you.

When my babes were small, I remember being derailed by these messages, then coming back home to this thought over and over: “I have all my baby really needs:  loving arms, a connected heart and mama’s milk.”

When babies are held securely by their primary caregivers, they feel safe and comforted.  They trust that love and connection is always available.  From this place of safety they can then experience their world fully, without fear.  Without fear, their brain relaxes and takes in the world with wonder and ease.  (Learning a lot more than any learning toy can inspire.)

A connected heart is one who attunes to your baby.  As you hold your baby, looking into their eyes, noticing their movements, listening to their cries, you begin to know your baby like no other.  This mother (or father) baby bond is priceless and often hard to describe.  Sometimes because of this connection, you will easily know what your baby needs.  And when you don’t, remembering to follow your heart will always provide clarity and insight. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Trust your mama heart.

Though any primary caregiver can do the above, I include nursing because it is one of the most symbiotic and mutually nurturing relationship there is.*  Your baby receives sustenance that is specifically designed to meet their complete nutritional needs in the most absorbable and comforting way. Meanwhile, you are getting wonderful oxytocin blasts that transport you into many moments of bliss and connection, strengthening the bond between you.   There is no need to look outside of yourself, no sterilizing, mixing, or purchasing necessary.  I find this to be both a profound symbol of our divine design and one of the deepest blessings in life.

So when you feel your focus going outside of yourself, put your feet on the ground, take a deep breath and look in the mirror.  See the powerful, multi-faceted, wise and loving woman that you are and rest in the knowing that you and your instincts are enough.

And when you need to, hand your babe to other loving arms and connected hearts and rest in knowing all is well.
(*Breastfeeding can be such a delicate subject.  I never intend for any mother for whom breastfeeding did not work out, to be hard on herself. I have worked with many moms who felt shame about not nursing which is not helpful for either you or your baby.  We all do our best. What I do feel is that every woman and babe deserves the chance to have a nursing relationship and that this needs to be supported.  Sometimes difficulties in nursing simply require more quality guidance, and unfortunately this does not always come from the hospital.  I know of so many friends who were dramatically helped by private lactation consultants and La Leche League leaders to overcome challenges and have long and healthy nursing relationships. My hope is to support a mother’s decision to breastfeed.)

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