Dear Mom and Dad: A Love Letter From Your Baby

Dear Mom and Dad,

We haven’t met yet, but I am the one down here hanging out in the most comfortable place around. And before I make my grand entrance I need to ask you for a few favors.

Accommodating them may mean parenting differently than you were expecting, but I promise it will be worth it.

First, I will be healthier and happier if you breastfeed me. So please nurse me, whenever and however often I want. This is how my tiny little body works. It needs to nurse a lot.

I know this will be hard for you mom, and that for the first couple of months you will wonder if you will ever have a moment to yourself.

But here I am. And this is what I need.

It will get better, I promise.

Next, please do not leave me alone. Ever.

If you try to and I cry, please pick me up. Hold me, nurse me, sing to me, rock me, cuddle me. Do whatever you have to so that I become calmer.

I breathe better when you are holding me. I am safer.

Where I Am Happiest

I do not cry to bother you, I cry because something is wrong. Horribly terribly wrong.

I know it may not seem like that is possible, when my diaper is dry and I have just nursed. But I am so little and my body is growing so quickly. And I only feel right when I am being held, or nursed.

I have been living in nirvana while I was growing in your belly and now I have to wear clothes and I get cold, or hot, or hungry, and I do not understand it. It has never happened to me before.

You will be frustrated, I know. I hear that it is really, really hard.

But, here I am. I am your baby.

Instead of spending your time trying to make me, a little tiny baby ,behave as you want me to, will you use your resources to bring in help? Family, friends, anybody who offers.

Anybody who will support you while you focus on the most important thing in the world; me.

So that you can just spend all of your time making me comfortable.

I know a lot of magazines and people and books will tell you that you will spoil me, or that you need to make time for yourself. But right now, while I am still so little, you have to take care of me. I have to be most important.

If you are able to do these things for me, we will be closer than you ever dreamed possible, and we will be able to relate. Always.

Even when I am 16.

If you wonder if this is true, please go to the source to find out. Do not talk with people who have done it differently, instead talk with those who have made these choices. Look at the science that supports it.

And try to find the science that does not.

As soon as I am born you will start making decisions about how connected we will be. You will decide how much time we will spend together and I will understand what you are telling me.

If we spend all day and all night together, I will know how much you value me.

If you hang out with me on the floor and play, I will know that you think I am fun.

If you smile at me, I will know that you are happy to be my mom.

If you always try to make me comfortable and stop my crying, I will know that you believe what I am telling you.

And that matters to me. And to the world.

And finally; always trust your instincts with me. That is why you have them.

If anybody tries to tell you that you are doing it wrong, but with every part of your being you believe that your choices are just what I need, respectfully ignore those people.

Soon we will meet. I will be confused and scared and lonely and wondering where I am. Comfort me, love me, do what your instincts tell you, and we will all be very, very happy.


Your Baby


Permission Granted: A Gift For New Families

When Sydney, my second was born, I stayed in my pajamas for a lot longer.

Last night I went to dinner with my Mom’s Group. We spent some of our time reminiscing about our first playgroup, and acknowledged the vast difference in who we were then, and who we are now.

We chuckled about how we all thought the other had it together and was managing just fine.

We talked about the fact that before having children we did not understand the depth that our marriage could reach. That our relationship with our spouse is so much more complex and full, now that we parent children together. As we marveled at how simple our married lives were before children, one of my girlfriends said “we were just boyfriend and girlfriend then, really”.

One of my girlfriends had just come from visiting a friend with a new baby of her own, where she offered her some insightful advice. And as she shared it with us, there was a conviction and certainty that I have never heard in her voice before. She told her struggling and brand new mom friend:

“Stay in your PJ’s all day. Order out, and do not clean your house. Stay in bed all day if you want. Just you and your baby. Nurse, and go to sleep, nurse and go to sleep. Trust me, this is what you should do.”

And isn’t she right?

But our collective Mom’s Group unanimously felt as though everyone expected us to get back to “life before baby” as soon as we were physically recovered from delivering.

Believing this made us manic as we attempted to manage it all while trying to look like we were fine.

What a gift, I thought, that my friend had given this new mom.

I thought a lot about this on my ride home. I remembered how tough my first weeks and months were as a first time mother, and how much different it would have been if I had understood that I did not have to do the things I thought I did.

That my house could be a mess, and that gym pants and flannels were expected attire during this period.

And that everyone around me thought it should be this way too.

And so I think all new mom’s should be given the very profound and wise advice shared by my girlfriend. That with as much conviction and confidence as my girlfriend had, we should tell every new mom:

“just take care of yourself and your baby. Recover, adjust and deal with the rest of it later.

If your (mom), (aunt), (friend), (neighbor), comes by and gives you a hard time about the condition of your home, ask her to clean it.

If you read in a magazine that your baby should not sleep with you but in your very core you know that you should, use the page of that magazine to make a beautiful paper snowflake.

If a book tells you to let your baby cry, but everything in you is telling you to pick her up, with your baby in your arms, ask your partner to add that book to the fire. And it will keep your new family cozy and warm.

Trust your instincts, do what feels right and know that you are doing an amazing job.”

Really, this might be the very best gift we can give to a new family.

Owen and I when he was days old. I wish I had stayed like this for three months.

A Movie By Pondering Jane: My Happy Baby

Okay, so my sister who works in film said “I would not so much call this an animated short as…” and that is where she left it.
At any rate, I had so much fun making this and hope to make a couple more. Click below to view the movie.

My Happy Baby!