Learning to read your baby

This is my first ever blog! Those of you who know me will have witnessed my bungling attempts at using audio visual equipment when giving lectures or have seen the look of panic on my face when my blackberry freezes (which it’s doing a lot of these days) but I have decided I do want to connect with people and get some feedback and I’m told this is the way to do it, so here goes!

At least once a day I get into my car after doing a home visit and I feel sad. Sad for the people I have seen that they are so lacking in confidence about their ability to look after their own baby. Why is it that new parents do not trust their own instincts? Please tell me what you think? I see so many homes with  baby advice books piled high beside the crib, so many tired and disappointed mums telling me they are failing and so many dads wanting to outsource “the problem”. Yes, it’s always good to read a little around any new task but caring for a baby is not comparable to studying for a degree or using the computer (technology again) or planning a journey. Confidence grows as you connect with your baby; it comes from the heart; it comes from handling and touching and kissing and smelling; it comes from trying a bit of this and a bit of that; from laughing at mistakes and asking your mates or your mum or ONE expert for suggestions. It comes from women being honest with each other about how hard it is at the start to know what the baby wants; about how tired they feel all the time; about how their nipples hurt; about how they are grumpy with their husband. It comes with men supporting each other and showing empathy.

But most of all confidence comes from learning to read your own baby, day by day.


 May 03, 2013   16 Comments

16 Responses to Learning to read your baby

  1. Kent Wilson says:

    Hi Yvonne,
    Thanks for your initial blog.
    As parents of two boys my wife and I look forward to future postings:)
    Can I suggest that one reason new parents don’t trust their own instincts is that we are overwhelmed by the amount of differing information that is provided by family members, friends and the Internet.

    K & J

    • admin says:

      Hi Kent, you are my first ever blog respondent! Thank you! I agree with you about the challenges. My view is that people should be selective about who they consult, perhaps listening only to people they know and trust and professionals who provide evidence-based advice. A possible problem with grandparents is they can be out-of-date. A problem with the internet is that there are nutters as well as experts on there and it is sometimes difficult to differentiate. Yvonne

  2. Harry Dore says:

    Very good advice! I think it is easier to be less overwhelmed by all the info out there with baby no. 2 as you have more confidence that everything is going to be alright. Wish I’d known that first time round though and put the books down and spent more time cuddling :0)

    • admin says:

      Hi Harry, I like this blog business, it keeps me in touch with my old clients! Yes, I agree with you! And I think with a second baby there’s no time to consult anyone!

  3. Liz says:

    Hi Yvonne, Great post! It takes me right back to those early days and how long it took to gain the confidence you’re talking about. I think when you’re having your first baby there is so much focus on the birth itself. You hear about the lack of sleep, how life will change forever, etc but you don’t necessarily take it on board or appreciate how difficult it might be emotionally in addition to physically. In the early days I took everything personally – when the baby cried I felt I must’ve been doing something wrong – and it took longer than I thought it would to read my baby and know what he wanted. Couldn’t agree more about women needing to be honest with each other about how difficult the early days can be, how we should try a bit of this and a bit of that, and laugh at our mistakes. It can feel like a bit of a lonely business at first but having a couple of people to talk to whose judgment you trust can make all the difference.

  4. Nikki says:

    Hi Yvonne,
    Congratulations and well done on entering the world of blogging! Learning to read your baby seems to sometimes feel like a bit of a lost art – although we were incredibly lucky with our first bub being ‘easy’, it was also terribly nerve-raking as neither of us had spent much time with babies prior to this. Partly being an expat but also partly the way life works now means we hadn’t really seen others doing it to even view what worked/ didn’t work. I would completely agree with you, however, that picking one or two sources of advice that fit with your own philosophy is probably better than reading loads of different ones!!
    Confidence to do it “your way” really only seems to come by doing it (and the realisation that your kid will probably be ok regardless of what you chose)!
    Thanks again, look forward to the next instalments!

  5. yasmin wong says:

    Your advice is always golden and your new blog will be appreciated by so many. Your first blog of advice is so true and look forward to many more funny tails of inspiration, wisdom and guidance from you. Who’s Gina Ford?

  6. Kate Jackson says:

    Excellent Blog !
    I’m with Harry, more cuddling ! With my daughter as a new born I was very keen to get her into a routine, took too much advise from too many people, including Gina Ford ! My days were judged (my myself) as successful or not depending on how well she followed the routine and not, how it should be, on how much we all enjoyed the day. My advise would be, throw the books out (have a quick glance or use for reference only) and just enjoy those precious moments with your newborn. Cry, laugh, sleep with them & don’t give yourself a hard time, just take each day as it comes. It goes by quickly enough !

  7. Katie Pemberton says:

    Yvonne I love that you are blogging! Such true words, but boy did I need your visits when Sam was born. Keep up the good work it’s great that we can keep up with your words of wisdom on here.

  8. Joanne England says:

    Hi Yvonne, Get you blogging! I was definitely was that parent who studied the books and couldn’t believe my husband didn’t. I remember your visits whereby I’d have a list of questions and would be counting down the days for your visit! Your attitude of pretty much agreeing with my approach to everything gave me the biggest confidence boost, I finally started to realize that I could do this and really started to enjoy it! I urge all new parents to do the same! X

  9. Fabulous Yvonne, how do you fit in the time to blog! Great advice and so true, luckily I had you around when my babies were little to tell me to go with it and I was doing great. I think in our expat environment we already feel the pressure on us, the women, of making a move sucessful, we are ment to be flexible and adaptable at moving around, making new friends, fitting our furniture into so many different size apartments, establishing a new life for you and your husband and then when you throw a baby in the mix, well, then your really up the creek! All the confidence you thought you had, everything you thought you were good at pales into insignificance when your given this little miracle, which you then have to keep alive! Oh my stars!
    Your mum is miles away and most of the time you come home from hospital and your husband flies out to some other country for work and your left alone you and baby, thinking, I’m going to have to go back to the hospital so someone who’s more qualified than me can bath her! My point being that what you say is so important that if you can trust your instincts and be more open and honest with other mums and put the books away, you have a better chance. Which brings me back to what I said earlier luckily I had you around when I had my babies for your support and to point these things out to me!
    Look forward to your next post!

  10. Maura says:

    Best of luck with the blog, will be definitely following your posts with interest and will recommend you to all my mom friends. Did the express pre natal course with you, really good!

  11. wendy says:

    I am going into my 4th month of being a mom. And today it is mothers day. My first as a mom! I am tired, grumpy, missing my fitness, but mostly I am so in love with my little son that I don’t really care about how unkept I look right now or how many emails I have not responded to. What a truly challenging time at almost 42 years of age. But, I have the patience to hold my baby upright for 30 mins after he feeds due to his reflux, I have the compassion for my husband that he is truly trying his best and I know that I need to put down all the books and just listen to my son, he is speaking to me in so many ways. Yvonne, you have been a constant support for me over the last year, preparing for labour, and all that came afterwards. I appreciate your humour, your sweet gentle heart and good lord I appreciate your connection to technology with my late hour text messages of many questions by this new mum! Thanks for the blog and I look forward to reading more! Happy mothers day!

  12. admin says:

    Thanks so much to everyone for responding to my first blog. I’ve been touched and excited by all the responses. I keep suggesting to my current Mums (and Dads) to take a look at the blog to get a different pespective but of course most of them are so focused on the day to day existence of the early days that they haven’t yet had time. I realise that those early months are such an intense time and what I would really like to do is to help couples enjoy those first few months, not just exist! Yvonne

  13. r i p a says:

    I have an almost 2 year old and an almost 1 year old. I still spend most of my day in my pyjamas unless I have to see someone or be somewhere! I worry about my children’s development and constantly check that they’re meeting milestones etc. However, a few months ago I felt that there was something ‘wrong’ with my son’s speech developement, he had all the regular checks and nothing seemed out of place, even the paedatrician was not worried. But something didn’t feel right and I was unable to articulate what exactly I felt was wrong. Now it seems that my son DOES have speech problems and is getting a lot of help in this area.

    Lesson: it doesn’t matter how much you read up and what advice you’re given, YOU KNOW BEST!

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