Ellie at around 3 months
What I want you to know is that the biggest challenge I have faced as a new mom is weeding through misinformation and finding what works for me. There is no one stop shop with all of the answers. Every baby is different, and from what I understand, even babies from the same mama are different. EVERYONE wants to give you advice, and at first, I was super grateful for that, even searching for it. I would look on message boards, and ask questions on facebook, all of those things. I still do that every once in a while when I'm really perplexed. But there are so many different "studies" out there that are exactly the opposite in the information it gives, and then add personal experiences on top of that, you get a cluster of info that can be super overwhelming.
Here's an example that I think of all of the time. It was our very first night in the hospital, Ellie was only hours old, and she kept screaming and screaming. I didn't understand what was wrong, and both my husband and I were at a loss. We kept calling the nurse and asking for help. I would pick her up and try to hold her, rock her, whatever. The nurse came in for a final time and something she said really struck me. She said, "oh boy, this baby is going to be spoiled." At that time, it sent me into a frenzy because I thought, oh God, what am I doing wrong? Well, the nurse finally suggested that I pump (Ellie had latching issues), and finger feed her which is what we did. Amazingly enough, after she ate, she fell asleep and was fine. I was just so grateful that she was happy and sleeping, that I never thought much about what the nurse said, but here recently, the situation has played out in my mind over and over.
1) She was hungry. She was asking for us to help her in the only way she knew how, to cry. Being a new mom, I just trusted what the nurses said about not needing to eat in that first day, but obviously, my baby was different and she needed to eat.
2) Let's pretend like she wasn't hungry, and we were doing something wrong somehow. Why in the world would you tell a brand new mom that is upset and doesn't know what to do, that she's somehow "spoiling" her baby in it's first few hours of life?
3) If by saying that I'm "spoiling her", you mean, I'm responding to her cries because she's brand new into this world and doesn't know what happened to her, so I pick her up to comfort her instead of leaving her in the little plastic thing by my bed, then ok, I'm going to spoil her because she is a day old. In fact, if she's 6 months old and she's crying because she wants to be held, I'm going to go ahead and "spoil" her. Will I buy her a new toy when she pitches a fit in the store, no. But if she asks me for a hug in the only way she knows how, I will do it every time.
I obviously am a little upset about this still, but I just feel like we should be supporting each other as women, and new moms and that felt like the worse possible thing to say at that moment.
I only give that as an example because I was following my own intuition in that situation and I was right. 1) she actually was asking for something, and I knew it, and 2) I was responding to her cries with love and affection because that's what I'm supposed to do.
So my ONLY suggestion I'll give you from one new mom to the next, listen to your gut. I know that sounds weird, but your instinct is probably right. You may not know what to do, but if you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. Forget the baby books. They're nice to guide you, but they aren't a one size fits all solution. If you feel like you should be doing something, or not doing something, then follow that. A lot of my views on raising an infant are unpopular, and I'll probably never discuss them here for that reason, but I know if my heart that it's the way I am going to do it, so I am.
I shouldn't have said my only suggestion above, because I have more. Remember that they're only small for a little bit and they'll be going to school, graduating, sooner than you think. Cherish each moment, even if it's not fun, and see it from the little one's perspective. It may seem trivial to you, but it's not to him/her, so in each situation, how can I, as a mom, respond with love. If I am responding with love, then it can't be wrong.