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No Motherly Instincts? --I don't know what I am doing

Forum: 2011 Playroom


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  • 1 Post By MikeysMommy10211

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March 19th, 2012, 09:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 21
So I'm a first time mom. My son was born two months early in October, and I have no idea whatsoever what I am doing. I was the youngest in my family (one brother, 2 cousins), and our family is very small, so I wasn't around young kids growing up. And in general I never took an interest in children (no joke, never even changed a diaper until my son was born!)

I wasn't super worried the first few months when I felt clueless about taking care of a newborn, especially since he was a preemie and required some extra stuff that i wouldn't necessarily know. But I thought by now I'd have some clue. Nope, notta.

For example, I have no idea about feeding him new things. We just started him on rice two weeks ago, and I guess we're supposed to start giving him juice and other baby foods like maybe applesause, but I have no idea how to go about this. I feel like it should be a mother's instinct on what to do but I guess I don't have any because I have no clue what I'm doing. I took him out in the stroller for the first time yesterday and the sun hit his face.. he kept squinting and flinching like it bothered him so I draped a light blanket over the top of the stroller to give him shade. I have no idea if this was ok to do or not in that I worried it might be too hot for him inside. But is it ok for him to be in the sun? What about when it is hot? Can I take him for stroller rides in the summer? Is it ok for him to even be in the stroller already when he can't totally hold his head up on his own? I have no idea.

Anyone else feel like they have no idea what they are doing? Anyone else feel like they have no motherly instincts? It makes me feel horrible when I don't know what my son needs or what I should be doing to help his development.
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March 19th, 2012, 10:57 AM
The Wife's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central Texas
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Hey, i have no clue either! I've just been going to message boards like this for advice, and also books. You can also speak to your pediatrician about what toe feed and when. They should be going over that stuff with you -- You don't just KNOW what to do. If you don't have any experience with it or haven't been around babies, then that's natural.

If you put your baby in a regular stroller and he can't keep his head up on his own for a long period of time, you need to add support. There are baby buntings that can be put into the stroller around his head. Otherwise, you can use a stroller that fits the Infant Car seat in it -- the car seat should help keep his head in a good position until he gets strong enough.

The feeding and other things, are not motherly instincts, what is instinct is being able to care and love and be with your baby... the other stuff is learned. :-)

Since your baby is a preemie, he may not be on target with other babies that were born at full-term in this group -- don't feel like you are doing anything wrong in that regard. As I'm sure your NICU nurse may have told you...

I still haven't started my girls on rice cereal yet, but that's b/c my doctor told me to wait, b/c me and my DH have food allergies...
My name is June and I'm mom to twin girls, Kara & Summer.

Stop by, we'd love to have you!

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March 19th, 2012, 11:45 AM
ashj_1218's Avatar Hiya!
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 11,971
Mothing instincts come in MANY forms and you might not think you have them...but you do. You have them because you thought about whether it was okay to put a blanket over the stroller. Or because you are thinking about how to go about feeding your son. It does not much matter if you don't know how (that is totally a learned thing, not an instinctual one), but that you follow your gut with caring for him (blanket incident is a perfect example) and try to do your best.

Grab a couple books from the library. There are TONS of them out there about basic baby care. I have one called "So, I'm a Mom...Now What?" that is really great for basic stuff. It can help walk you through the ages and stages (and what you might want to be doing during those stages). Don't be afraid to ask your doc, your mother (if she is still with you), or other mom's you come across. 90% of moms are MORE than willing to discuss their experiences and give advice about what they did with their kids. As long as you take it with a grain of salt (and only continue what you feel comfortable doing), you can get some great ideas.

The longer you are a mom, the more comfortable you become being one. I was a pretty hot mess with my first son. I felt I never knew what he wanted, how to help him, or that I was doing it "wrong." I second guessed literally everything I did. But now that he is 2.5 and totally fine, I know I did it fine. He made it through babyhood alive and well. He is happy and healthy...so I gained some confidence. Now, with number two, I am so relaxed I shock myself

(And just so you know, it was perfectly fine to put a blanket over the stroller. As long as he is dressed lightly (as cool as possible), walking in the summer is fine! Try a little hat with a brim to keep the sun out of his eyes. He *can* ride in a stroller that is slightly reclined before he sits up, but he might be more comfortable in one that is laying all the way back or more reclined until he sits more stable. As for the food, they sell "Stage 1" foods in simple flavors. You can either mix a little bit in with his rice cereal to get him used to the flavors, or just offer them straight up. Start small (not the whole container) and only add a new food every 4 days or so, so you can watch for allergies. And babies mostly reach their milestones without any help from their parents. As long as you interact with them, put them in many different positions-belly, back, side, upright, sitting, etc-they will do things when their bodies allow them to )

You are doing beautifully mama!!
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March 19th, 2012, 03:33 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,069
i read a lot, otherwise i wouldnt really know what to do either. My twins were born a month early and needed extra stuff that other mothers, such as my MIL, couldnt really understand.

We are all here for questions. Also, think about getting a developmental book. Or you can look up your baby's age online and it will tell you whats going on with your baby week by week.
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March 19th, 2012, 08:44 PM
geogeek's Avatar Marsi's Mommy
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Believe me, even with being a nanny and babysitter for years, being a first time mom is crazy hard for me too. Most of my information on parenting comes from been there done that moms on here and books and pure trial and error. From what you have said, you are being a wonderful mother. Just asking those questions show that you want to be a good mother and have every ability to learn the things that pretty much every new mom has to learn.

Thank you *kiliki* for my beautiful siggy!

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March 20th, 2012, 02:08 PM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Apr 2008
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No one really knows you just get through I am finding it much harder with my secondthan with my first, ignorance is bliss kind of thing, now I know too much and they are so different in fact I am on a first name basis with most of the nurses at my doctors office I call so much about Alex just do your best andthe great thing is they wont remmeber if you mess up

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March 20th, 2012, 03:54 PM
ResilientSmile's Avatar Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 875
I agree with the others that the fact that you are asking these questions is proof of your mothering instinct. I am just now becoming confident in my decisions. Do I mess up? Absolutely! I just try to use my common sense, learn through trial and error, and take notes from moms that have similar parenting philosophy's as me.

Oh, and I could fill a book with "what I don't know!". I go with the motto "Fake it til you make it" bc I feel like half the battle of parenting is to build/find the confidence you need within.

and one more thing...I totally had a stroller in the sun incident last Wednesday and felt like duh! The sun is bothering her. Ended up carrying her the whole way home pushing an empty stroller She does love her hat and shades though.
...to hold love in my arms
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March 20th, 2012, 06:37 PM
debraf555's Avatar Christmas Baby on the Way
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Queens, New York
Posts: 99
Your post took the words right out of my mouth! I hear ya!!!

I'm a new Mommy too and I have no idea what I'm doing! I am still amazed that my son is doing so well being in my inexperienced care 24/7!!!

I read a lot of books, I started hanging out on this board, I talked to some mommy friends IRL, and slowly some confidence found its way into my life! But no matter what I still question myself at least once a day and I think that's Ok and perfectly normal! No one is perfect! I think its expected that we will make mistakes whether this is our first or fifth kid!

Hang in there . . . and hang out here too! It's beyond helpful to have the insight of everyone who posts on this board!
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March 21st, 2012, 08:10 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 13,880
Seriously, I'm a second time mom and I still have no idea what to do about solids. There is a lot about parenting that isn't intuitive, and you get so many different sets of advice, it's really hard to know what's best. And really, even if you DID know what was usually best, every kid is different so there is no way to know what's going to work best for YOUR child. So, try not to feel bad if you do something and it doesn't work out, or if other people tell you that you're doing something wrong. Especially something like feeding solids, I mean, it's not like your kid is going to turn out to be a serial killer because you didn't give them applesauce at the right point in their development or something. I honestly believe that as long as your kid knows you love them, the odds are good they're going to turn out just fine!
~Beth in Seattle

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March 23rd, 2012, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 21
Thanks so much everyone for the positive feedback and support. Its nice to know im not the only mother who feels all these things. I sometimes feel like the worst mother ever for not knowing simple things. But you've all made me feel so good. I think i will hang out here more. Im learning a lot from everyone!
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