“Why can’t I put him down? Why is he only happy in my arms and on my chest? I can’t even get a quick shower without him crying!”
These are some of the few things I have said to myself over the past 6 weeks. I feel like the moments I have without my 6 week old in my arms are so rare, that I don’t remember what it feels like to not be holding him. I feel horrible about complaining, but sometimes I just need to not be touched for a moment. I just didn’t understand why he was so attached! You’ll hear from others to just let them cry, that they want to be held because you are spoiling them and giving in.
That is just not true at all.
Babies don’t spoil.
That still leaves the question, why do they want to be held so much?
Have you heard of the fourth trimester? I hadn’t. I mean, I had heard about it a little with my daughter, but quickly forgot about it as she got older and needed to be held less. So when my son came, and it was the same thing all over again, it was not the first thing that came to mind. I immediately wondered, what am I doing wrong? Am I not producing enough milk? Am I starving him? WHY! WHY! WHY!
It took me talking to another mom, well, more like ranting to another mom, to be reminded of the fourth trimester. (I highly recommend mommy groups by the way. Being a part of them and finding mommy friends has been a life saver for me, with my daughter and now even more with my son.)
So, the fourth trimester, what is it?
Well, your sweet little bundle of joy has spent the last 9 months cozied up in your belly. It was nice and warm. It was dark. They could hear the swooshing of the fluids that protected them, and most importantly, they could hear your heartbeat. So, when they are born, are we supposed to expect them to just be ok with being shoved into a bassinet by themselves in a cold, bright, silent room? How would you feel about your environment being suddenly changed? I’m sure it would take you a bit to acclimate if you were suddenly uprooted from your warm, beach chair in Florida and shoved into the snow in Antarctica, right?
We can’t expect them to do that either.
The fourth trimester is time for your little one to adjust to the outside world, while still feeling safe. The world is a loud, bright, cold place and being held on your warm chest where they can hear the heartbeat that has been music to their ears for the past 3 trimesters is where they feel that. I know it can be frustrating, believe me. I have to remind myself daily as to why they feel they need to be held all the time. Just remember that they are only this small for a very tiny amount of time. It may seem like the days are long because all you have done is feed, hold, and change your baby, but before you know it they will be one and won’t want your snuggles as much.
So hold your baby close. Sit on the couch with a bottle of water, snacks and a good book or TV show and soak in those cuddles. Smell the sweet newborn scent. Let those tiny fingers wrap themselves around yours. Let their cheek rest against your chest so they can listen to your heart. Try not to let the household chores stress you out. (If you are like me, and can’t let the house be put on hold, try baby wearing.) Let them be held close to you, while you do your daily tasks. Don’t compromise their needs for your wants.
The house really can wait.
They need you.
He needs me.
I will miss these days, just like I miss them with my now two year old. It feels like just yesterday she was attached to me as I complained to my friends that I couldn’t get anything done. I miss it. So for now, I will soak baby boy’s cuddles up. Let them take me over. I don’t want to miss it. Don’t miss these moments with yours.