I held my first crying newborn at only 11 years old. He was 2 weeks old and the 3rd child of a family I babysat for, this was long before cell phones and he was inconsolable. So, I did what any scared 11 year old would do: I picked up the phone (a landline) and called my own mom.
She came over and within minutes, had him calm and falling asleep as I watched in wonder. She explained what I was doing wrong and something just clicked inside me at that moment. I wanted to master that secret.
It has been over 40 years since that night, yet I remember it like it was yesterday and literally the rest of my life has been about understanding newborns, what they are trying to tell us, and teaching parents to do the same. And now, through our company and the amazing people we train, instead of helping 2-3 families per year, I get to indirectly help hundreds of families get to learn and experience that same “ah-ha” moment that I experienced all those years ago.
Not Knowing Does Not Mean You Are Incompetent
So often, we either are told or believe the misconception that if you can parent a child, in whatever form that takes in your life, you “automatically are going to know what to do”, “nursing will be easy and natural”, “you will figure it out” and other fallacies of parenthood. Add in the media and influencers who promote “Pinterest Parenting” and it is no wonder so many amazingly talented people are left feeling scared, insecure, and incompetent as parents.
I am going to let you in on a little secret: You already have what you need to be an amazing parent without being “perfect” at it, and armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can be even more amazing.
What the heck do I mean by that?
I see, talk to and consult with parents all the time that are running some of the largest companies in the world–and yet a small, 7 lb human who cannot even talk has brought them to their knees in a matter of minutes and they are struggling. They can handle 10,000 employees but not 10 lbs. of baby.
Here is what I tell parents: Don’t try and be me—babies and teaching are my thing, and I love it. And chances are good you feel that way about your job (and I could never do what you do). So you be you! And be the very best you that there is–whether it is a lawyer, brain surgeon, or CEO; you honoring you is going to be an amazing example to your child of one of life’s greatest lessons–be true to who you are. And the rest I can teach you pretty quickly.
Newborns are not that hard to understand really, and they show us what they need, if we know what to look for and that we need to look for their cues. Little things like when we are chatting with them and their eyes start to lose focus and seem to stare off into the distance. That is a cue they are starting to disengage and get ready to move into what I refer to as an optimal sleep window–take advantage of it, along with a few other key steps (a good safe swaddle, a darkened room, etc.…) and you can fairly easily and quickly establish solid habits that allow your baby to become the envy of all your friends in the sleep department. And nobody (including you) had to cry to make it happen. Watch for those first signs of hunger (clenching a fist, putting it to their mouth, making a specific sound–mmmm usually), and respond quickly to it and your baby will cry far less because they will be much happier. And happier babies have less cortisol and so they sleep better.
Understanding The Tricks In Your Basket
There are a few more tricks in my basket, and our students are deeply educated around all things newborn, but at the heart of it, what your baby needs most from you is love and attention. Food and sleep are necessary, of course, but those can be provided by you or another care provider (and studies show parents with good postpartum support actually recover from birth better and faster and have lower rates of postpartum mood disorders) but nothing and no one can ever replace the love and attention you give your child and at the end of the day, that is what makes a truly amazing parent.
This is a guest blog by Tonya Sakowicz. Why I decided to publish this guest blog is because of the key message of “you be you! And be the very best you that there is–whether it is a lawyer, brain surgeon or CEO; you honoring you is going to be an amazing example to your child of one of life’s greatest lessons–be true to who you are…”
So often we work so hard trying to be someone or something else. When you allow yourself to shine just being you, the world recognizes it and supports it.
Tonya is an INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist, CAPPA trained Postpartum Doula and Parent Educator who does both consulting and in-home sleep conditioning and newborn care for her clients as well as the Owner and Director of Education for Newborn Care Solutions, a company dedicated to the specialized training of high-level Newborn Care Specialists and the only company to offer the Master NCS™ training program. Tonya attended Central Washington University, has over 35 years of experience as a Nanny and Newborn Care Specialist and is a proud wife and mother of two children. She is also a certified Eco-Maternity Consultant and Green Birth Educator through her partner company, Baby Go Green.