We all know parenthood advice is full of lies: “Babies always sleep in the car” (Um, really? That’s weird. Cause 2 of my 3 preferred maniacal screaming.)
“If they don’t get enough ‘tummy time’ they’ll never crawl.” (Lies! Skipped it twice. Both crawled.)
But my favorite, for sure, is this one, because it’s just such B.S., and yet practically all the books and magazines and doctors and “helpful advice-givers” seem to spew it uncontrollably: “Newborns nurse every two hours.”
Wait. What? Come again?
It sounded like you said “every two hours.” Surely you meant “nonstop for like 3 months?”
Or perhaps you meant “Babies come up for air every two hours.” Or at least mine do.
Or maybe you’ve never actually breastfed a newborn? Because I’ve breastfed three, and it sure as hell isn’t some neatly scheduled thing where every two hours my newborn nurses for 20 minutes then does something else for 2 hours, after which time we nurse again.
You know what newborn nursing looks like for me? Mind you, this is just my experience and yours may be different. But nursing at my house looks like my ass in a rocking chair in front of the television nursing a baby for like 18 hours a day. The other 6 hours are spent with me in a bed, probably nursing a baby.
Alright I’m exaggerating a little. Obviously there’s an hour here or there (when the baby’s sleeping) where I attempt to shove in an entire day’s worth of activities (my own hygienic routine, chores, phone calls, or any freaking activity other than breastfeeding), but the truth is that newborns nurse all the time. It’s what they do: They poop. They sleep. They nurse. Sometimes they poop and sleep while nursing.
They’re multi-taskers, I tell ya.
And yet, we tell pregnant new moms that their baby is going to nurse “every two hours” and they expect it, and think they’re doing something wrong when the kid appears to never leave the nipple.
Or, they put themselves through hell trying to get that baby on a schedule! The doctor said two hours! It hasn’t been two hours! I’m not nursing you, infant!
Yeah. Good luck with that battle. It wasn’t one I was willing to fight.
It felt way easier to just sit my booty down and watch 9,000 reruns of 30 Rock, smell my baby’s head and stare at her fingers while telling my husband “Yeah, sorry. Can’t do anything. For like 3 months. Baby wants to nurse.”
And let go of the rest.
As you can see, I don’t do baby schedules. I barely do my own schedule. I’ll be damned if I’m going to track poops and pees and “feedings” of my newborn.
Of course, since the baby is attached to my breast 22.5 hours of the day, I think I can rest pretty safely in the assumption that he’s getting enough milk. And there’s poop and pee. And the baby appears to be growing. So we’re good.
Now, I know there are medical situations requiring parents to track of baby's bodily functions and such, and obviously that’s different. But short of that, you won’t find me with any postpartum spreadsheets. As if parenting a newborn isn’t hard enough, now you want me to get Excel involved?
You know how I parent babies? I give them the boob.
That’s it. End of parenting approach. I know. I’m very deep.
General malaise? Boob.
Won’t sleep? Boob.
Flailing while I’m trying to eat dinner? BOOB.
Some will say “I’m spoiling my baby.” Yeah, whatever. I don’t buy it. You can drop that Dr. Spock crap back in the 1950s where it belongs.
In the meantime, I just want to tell the new moms out there that marathon nursing is alright. It’s normal. It happens to a whole lot of us. You’re doing it “right.” (Whatever that means.)
Let’s rephrase: If it works for you, you’re doing it right. Period.
And it will pass. It will pass so quickly you won’t know what happened, and soon your little one will be looking at you like “You again?” and you’ll remember, and you’ll be telling your friend who just had a baby: “Don’t worry about that ‘two hour’ crap. It’s all lies. You’re doing just fine.”