What is a Rod for your Back Anyway?

A lot of advice that new Mums are given revolves around ‘bad habits’, specifically about not creating them. When I first had Darcie she was a very cuddly baby who clearly needed a lot of physical attention to the extent that she would cry as soon as I put her down even when she was sleeping. To be honest this was hard as it meant that the whole ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ thing went completely out the window, it was just sleep whenever somebody else can hold the baby which wasn’t that easy either as she was breastfeeding basically 24/7. Throughout this time I was told time and time again that I was ‘creating bad habits’ and ‘making a rod for my own back’. The latter became my nemesis, any time I heard those words even when not aimed at me my blood would boil but there was enough going on at that point (the whole having a newborn thing) that I didn’t really dwell on it too much. But nearly 8 months later I suppose you could say I’ve had the time to dwell.

The thing is that after about 6 weeks Darcie eventually learnt to sleep by herself, in the car seat, in her pram, in her Moses basket, in her cot, on the sofa, in the pub, at her Nanna’s house and just about anywhere else you could think of. I don’t have a rod for my back I have a happy, secure baby that knows that if she needs me I will always be there but equally spends ninety nine percent of her sleeping time not being held, like the confident little queen that she is. While we were going through that difficult time I was made to feel that because I wasn’t being ‘firm’ and putting her down despite her cries I was going to end up with an 8 year old that would only fall asleep while being rocked. And that’s just not the case, how many 8 year olds do you know like that?

As we near the 8 month mark there have been several more times and phases during which I have heard that expression ‘rod for your own back’ but I have fully come to ignore it. So long as you are happy and your baby is happy that is all that matters in these first months. There will be plenty of time I’m sure for discipline and rules so for now let yourself off, ignore these ‘parenting veterans’ of older generations who ‘did things different in my day’, this isn’t their day, it is your day and it is my day so let’s own it.

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