When I'm a mother I will never
FEELINGS

When I’m a mother I will never…

What did you promise you’d never do before you became a mother? Blogger and mum-of-one Tracey Quinn confesses all.

Never say never, right? I found myself being really amused today thinking about the various things that I said I would never do when I had a baby. Some were years ago, some were when I was pregnant, and some were even in the early days of Billy’s newborn life.

I think I would actually struggle to find an “I’d never” that I haven’t actually broken, aside from the likes of Cry It Out sleep training (CIO) which I can say with certainty that I will never ever do.

It reminds me that so much of being a parent revolves around learning on the job. There is no training manual or induction. You don’t get a taster. You don’t get a little exam every few weeks to check your progress. You learn as you go. And it is a role that is profoundly unique.

Turns out that I am not the mother that I planned to be after all.

When I’m a mother I will never…

1. I will never breastfeed past three months.

Well what do you know. Here I am still happily breastfeeding my seven-and-a-half-month old. I thought I knew it all. Somehow, I had the idea in my head that people who breastfeed aim to do so for three months. Maybe they do?

I remember thinking that I would breastfeed for at least six weeks and I would be overjoyed if I made it to three months. It’s lovely to look back now and see how far we’ve come. When I got home from the hospital (we were in The Coombe for five days) I was 100% sure that it just wasn’t going to work. I gave it a shot, Billy wouldn’t latch properly, I was exhausted and that was that. I called my mam and told her that I would be formula-feeding going forward and she gave me a bit of advice to try a pump.

I didn’t know then what I know now about breastfeeding. But I gave it a go, feeling a new found respect for the dairy cows of the world. The pumping would have stimulated my supply, so that if I changed my mind and did decide to try the breastfeeding again I would have something to work with. Well, visuals can be super powerful because when I gave the pumping a go and actually saw milk, I just KNEW I could do it. Psychologically, I felt that I was capable. It was a real aha moment where I felt empowered to be a mother and a woman. The rest is history. Thanks Mam.

2. I will never have the baby in the bed with me.

co sleeping I said this when I was much younger, and probably before I became the broodiest person in the world. Someone had told me that you should never, ever have the baby in the bed with you. Something about them never leaving, becoming too dependent on you, and bad habits.

Well one baby later and I can report that co-sleeping was a life-saver for me. It was also, and continues to be, some of the happiest moments of motherhood.

In the early days, when Billy was cluster-feeding he would feed more or less all night long. It was exhausting, but an important part of our breastfeeding relationship in building my supply as well as gaining the confidence I needed to feed him myself. Co-sleeping meant that we all got decent sleep even during those very long nights.

Another thing is that Billy hated the Moses basket with a passion. When he was in a deep, deep sleep I would gently place him in the basket. Within five minutes you could be guaranteed that he would be roaring crying. He slept really well in the bed beside me.

When it came to moving him in to his cot, I didn’t really worry too much. And rightly so. He settled really well in the cot. Even now, during a particularly bad sleeping patch (teething, leap and developmental changes) I take great comfort in being able to comfort Billy and take him into the bed with me in the early hours.

3. I will never give my baby jarred foods.

I’ll make everything from scratch. Only the best for my baby. Organic all the way. Okay, so giving Billy the best and healthiest foods is really important to me. But I have given him plenty of jars and packets of food. There are times where they are exactly what you need.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to always make everything from scratch. And luckily, there are some really good options on the market. Not all jarred foods are full of preservatives and salt. The standards are really high and the ingredients are of a great quality.

As I said, I like cooking and making Billy home made food, but the jars and purées are great when you need them. Anything that makes life easier on a stressful day is a good thing.

4. I will never be the mother who constantly takes photos of my child.

Do I really need to even go here? Photos of everything. His eye-lashes, his ear-lobes, his smile, his cry. EVERYTHING.

5. I will never take pain relief during labour.

I was born to do this. Drug-free labour for me. One word. Epidural. I could go on, but this is some of the more prominent ones that come to mind. It’s actually a very humbling experience to look back and see how different things have ended up.

As a spectator, I thought I knew it all. Now that I’m a participant I definitely don’t know it all, but I know I’m doing my best, and that’s good enough for us.

Find more from Tracey on her blog – Love of living

More like this:

A letter to a first time mother
When did you get YOU back?
How to make mum friends

Ask Tracey

Midwife Tracey Donegan answers your questions about pregnancy and birth

Q When should I have my first pregnancy scan? And how many scans should I get throughout my pregnancy?

A
Your first scan is known as your dating scan and is routine in all hospitals. Most mums will have this scan at their booking visit, which can be anywhere between 12-18 weeks. The earlier the scan the more accurate it will be. If you have experienced recurrent miscarriages some hospitals will scan you earlier. Contact your antenatal clinic for more information. In Ireland, most women will have two scans in a healthy pregnancy – a dating scan and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. However, some units provide a dating scan only. Private scans are also available in most cities and many parents use these services for additional reassurance and to find out the sex of their baby.

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….