Sometimes, our baby does not fulfill the ‘perfect’ label that he or she has so kindly been given. I am sure every single parent has been told at some point in the first days or weeks that their baby is ‘perfect’. Maybe it’s their perfect eyes, or smile, or the way they are gaining weight as they should, or feeding regularly, or latching …
LG for me, is a little bundle of wonder. He had a great birth (for me and for him), has taken to breastfeeding like a trouper, is hitting those developmental milestones, and is growing more handsome every day. He means everything to me, but I’m not going to label him ‘perfect’, and I want to explain why.
Every time my midwife visited across the first three weeks, she would always describe him or our situation as ‘perfect.’ My family, as heads over heels with LG as I am, also described him as perfect (more based upon his cuteness I think). Subtly, sneakily, this created an image in my mind: the mythical perfect baby. So when LG had a very bad week (his 4th week) it felt all the more terrible, because it was as if he fell of a very high pedestal.
Why is crying so relentlessly in the afternoon?
Why is he struggling with digestion so much?
Our midwife said he was perfect, and now he’s so distressed, is it something in my milk? What am I eating that’s causing him so much discomfort?
So-called perfect babies don’t wake up thrashing about trying to get painful gas out of themselves?
Poor LG! What can I do?
It was just a phase – it lasted (at it’s peak awfulness) Monday – Thursday. I was left exhausted, distressed, with my eyes sore from staring at computer screens filled with Google search results. We’d had a smooth first 2/3 weeks and now we were hit with LG’s bloating, cramps and general digestion issues, and it was hard. No one wants to hear their baby crying in pain and discomfort. I went for coffee with another Mama on the Wednesday, and prayed silently he would sleep a good 2 hours and not wake up whilst we were in the cafe. He did, briefly, and thrashed about and wailed, and then fell asleep again. “Does E get cranky because of gas and wind quite often?” I asked hopefully, “Mm, not really” was the answer I got. Yes, I compared myself and LG, yes I felt shit as a result.
No more of that.
LG is back on top form this week. He’s having a good week. He still cries each day over something, in fact, I can hear him wailing in the bedroom with Peter. He might be tired or bloated, but hey, he’s a baby.
He’s not a perfect baby – he’s wonderful, he’s handsome, but ultimately he’s a growing, newborn baby, and the word ‘perfect’ just isn’t an adjective that I’m going to use. Have your good days, have your bad days LG, you do you!
Mama M x