When I was a brand new mom, I had a really hard time trusting my inner voice. My first instinct, most of the time, was to text my mom or a friend or my husband, asking a million questions a day about what someone else thought was best. Now that I'm on the far side of being a new mom, with a sassy toddler running around, I know there are so many new mom moments when you have to trust your own inner voice in order to help advocate for your baby.
This borders on TMI, but heck, what's good writing without a little too much information, right? When my daughter was about a month old, she started pooping less frequently and seeming very, very fussy. She was so new to our family, and the formula she was drinking was what the NICU had her on, so I was hesitant to listen to the tiny voice that was telling me to consider a formula change.
It seemed like such a monumental decision to make without her pediatrician, or my mom or everyone else I asked, weighing in. In the end, though, I had to listen to that little voice. I knew the formula was making her uncomfortable and trusting that voice was so important in helping her feel better. We switched formula to a sensitive one, but I still remember how terrified I was to give her the first bottle. Talk about being a new mom, right? Still, listening to that voice was critical in starting to advocate for my daughter.
When You're Taking Your Baby Outside
My daughter's pediatrician is downright old school. At my daughter's first appointment, when she was just 1 week old, he told me she shouldn't be out in public for the first four months of her life. He meant well, and he meant that I should keep her away from germs after a particularly difficult entry into the world, but that advice haunted me for weeks. I'd panic when I couldn't avoid bringing her into the grocery store, covering her carseat with a swaddle and praying the germs didn't sneak in.
At some point, though, when she was a month or so old, I decided it was time to trust myself in bringing her out into the world. She was thriving and I knew an hour or two here and there with strangers and their strange germs would be OK. It was.
When You Feel Like Something Is Wrong
We haven't had any major problems with our daughter's health, thank goodness, but we have had some little mysteries that take a little detective work, Googling, and my mama intuition to figure out. After figuring out that her formula was making her uncomfortable and switching it, I started trusting my inner voice more when I felt something was wrong.
Just recently, my daughter came down with a case of eczema out of the blue. The pediatrician blamed the climate, but she's been living here all her life and hasn't had a problem yet. A little persistent Googling later, and we've nearly cured her eczema by taking her off almond milk. Thanks, inner voice!
When Your Baby Is Tired
Taking my daughter out of her grandma's arms when she was just a few weeks old wasn't the easiest or most fun thing I've done as a mom, but I could see my daughter getting more and more tired. She needed to be in her bassinet for the night, and I had to listen to my mama voice and make sure she got there. It's not always pleasant or the path of least resistance, to listen to your inner voice as a new mom, but it's almost always what's right for your baby.
When You're Listening To Advice
You're undoubtedly going to get tons of advice, solicited and otherwise, when you become a mom. Some of that advice is going to sound helpful, some of it won't, and sometimes it'll be hard to tell what you should take on board and what advice you should completely ignore. If you're having a hard time deciding, listen to that inner voice.
When Your Baby Is Overwhelmed
When your baby is brand new and everyone wants to hold her, it's really hard to listen to yourself when you start to see your baby getting overwhelmed. However, it's perfectly OK to step in when you see your baby start to get weary of all the new people. Blame it on being a protective new mom, but know that that's your job now and your inner voice will help you do that job well.
When You're Overwhelmed
Likewise, your inner voice is likely going to tell you when you're about to hit a wall and need a break. Listen to it. Ask for help or ask for a break or ask for a nap. Don't ignore your inner voice just because it's not talking about your baby.
When People Make Your Kid Upset
I think there's some kind of ancient wisdom that says babies and dogs are a great judge of character. I may have made that up, but I do think it holds true. If your baby isn't comfortable with someone, your inner voice will tell you. Babies get fussy, especially with new people, but there's a subtle difference between being fussy and not feeling comfortable that your inner voice can somehow distinguish before your baby can speak up for themselves.
When Your Baby Cries
As a new mom, your baby's cries are such a hard thing to hear. I remember feeling so physically pained to hear my daughter cry when she was so small. The panic of hearing her cry would often drown out the inner voice that eventually helped me figure out what kind of cry she was giving me. But one of the biggest signs we knew we had to change her formula was that her cry sounded like a cry of discomfort, at least to me. My inner voice was telling me this wasn't typical newborn fussiness and that we needed to make a change. I'm so glad I was able to hear it.