Crisis of confidence – playing with baby

Little one is 12 weeks old today and I’m starting to doubt myself. It got a lot worse yesterday after a trial baby sensory class…

I’m full term Mum at the moment and I’ve been confident in saying that I want to take care of little full time (with a bit of part-time work on the side if I can)…

But

Today I am full of doubt.

Today I don’t think I’m good enough.

Today I don’t know what to do.

Why??

Mainly because I don’t know whether I’m doing the right things. She’s fed and clothed. She gets changed and has naps. She has hugs and love. We are establishing a bedtime routine. So her basic needs are met.

But what about her development??! This is the baby equivalent of an arms race… what are you doing to make sure your baby has the best start in life??

Last week I had a meltdown because I went to a friends house and she had tonnes of toys for her little girl. Little one loved having a go on her baby gym. So I came home and cried because I had only supplied minimal toys and I felt little I was failing.

This was the result… a cobbled together baby gym from two old hula hoops, a heritage playmat, some cable grips, some links (the only new thing) and the few toys we had acquired from presents and preloved.

I also splashed out on two brand new 😱 toys with faces that specifically looked down so she could see them above her on the pram, bouncer, car seat or gym. Sid the snail and Mo the monkey.

This week it was the comments from a leader at a sensory class that have got me in a spin…

I’ve struggled to take little one to classes as I’ve had difficulties with my hands. So far the three classes we’ve been to (and paid for) have been mostly disasters. She cries through them, needs a feed or a nappy change, I struggle with getting on my knees or up and down, or we flat out missed one thanks to stupid local traffic. Usually once the class is over she lays on the mats and gurgles happily as the leader packs away. She does love the songs and responds well as I sing them to her afterwards.

So we thought we would try again. We attended a free trial of a new class. All started well as we got through the first three songs without problems. She tracked a sparkly star wand, we sang hello with signs, she watched the light show on the floor… then the crying started. Try feeding says the leader… I’m looking at my baby thinking “nope she’s not hungry” but I get my boob out anyway. She’s not hungry. Perhaps she needs a nappy change she says … there’s the mat over there on the floor (ugh, nightmare for crippled body)… nope dry as a bone. I bounce around the outside of the circle as they play a game with light up spiky balls, with her in my arms and I try to not cry.

I can feel my stress levels rising as I try to breathe deeply so I don’t pass it on to baby.

I thought that the music was very loud and said so to the leader but she just said that she had just been checked and it was spot on for volume. It wouldn’t hurt my baby. But it was hurting my ears. Maybe I’m just sensitive? But also little one hasn’t had music this loud as I don’t like it. In fact often at home we don’t have any noises from tv or radio. The leader says that I’ve got to get my baby used to loud noises or she’s find it hard at playschool!

So she’s now in full on meltdown and the leader is trying to get me to book more (paid) sessions in a block. I feel like it’s a bit hard sell and I just want to run away. Still she’s going on about how amazing their programme is… how lovely all the toys are… how coordinated and developmentally targeted the sessions are… all while telling me that it’s more than I would or could be doing for my baby at home!!!!

Hang on a bloody minute!!!

You don’t know me. You are already rubbishing what I am doing at home.

Thanks so much for squashing whatever was left of my confidence.

So now here I am questioning myself. Am I doing enough. What should I be doing with her? What is age appropriate? What are the best things to be providing? Should I be filling her every waking moment with engagement and developmental play?

It also rocks my determination to be an eco friendly Mum. Babies don’t need stacks of toys and the ones they have can be eco. They can wear preloved clothes. I use cloth wipes even though I’ve failed with cloth nappies…. but then am I failing her by not providing what other babies have?

Should I be taking her to a sensory class every day? This one is very expensive at Β£7 for an hour!!! That’s twice as much as any other I’ve come across. My mum friend with a 6 month old says that this is the best class. I know that we can’t really afford too many classes and they are really starting to stress me out.

I want what’s best but how do I know what’s best??!

I don’t know whether to sing a song, let her play in the gym while I do the washing up, take her out in the buggy for a walk, hold up toys for her to see, just hug on the sofa, go outside an garden with her in the bouncer next to me, or bake a cake while chatting about the ingredients…

Which leaves me… frazzled and unsure… sitting next to the play gym sobbing while I fold mussies and singing about doing the washing… utterly confused and wondering if it wouldn’t be best for me to get a full time job and send little one to nursery where they know what they are doing? Which even the thought of makes me cry even harder 😒

Wow – this post got a “featured blogger” #dreamteam award πŸ™‚

3 Little Buttons

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Kate says:

    Hi, After reading your blog I just had to reach out…I never normally comment on anything, but your thoughts resonated with me and I hate how that group leader has made you feel. I am a mum to 2 (a 4 year old and a 1 year old) yes, you’re right babies don’t need much at all and while I’m sure of course they benefit from some sort of stimulation from birth, loads of toys is not the only way, but I understand your feelings of peer pressures, while we do have many toys we have never really owned any of the plastic battery sound and light type of toys and I used to wonder if they were missing out…of course not…the older one has an amazing imagination and actually despite having access to many toys as a baby and toddler would always prefer to play with the door handle, keys, light switch…you name it anything but actual toys. Only now does he play with toys in the ‘normal’ sense! Baby number 2 was very different and from the beginning has enjoyed toys, clutching soft toys as soon as she could and examining and feeling toys, so I thought maybe I should buy her more of the ‘traditional type baby toys’ like all our friends, all the plasticy sound and light things annoyed me and they soon got sent back to the charity shop; is she deprived because of it, of course not! In fact my ‘mum guilt’ with her is that with an older one running around I have less time to do the simple things…just talking to her without interruption, singing songs, reading stories, baking, painting, 1-1 exploring outdoors, these are the important things, the things that need no special baby equipment, just you, your baby and your surroundings. Babies need downtime too, space to sit and stare, to absorb and learn so please try not to feel pressure or guilt (easier said than done I know!). Whilst I’m sure there and many fantastic nurseries and I know from my own son’s time at preschool that he has flourished in ways he couldn’t at home, they also spend most of the rest of their life in school/work so for the moment while she is so tiny if you’re able to stay at home and enjoy being you and your baby then that sounds like the best place for your little one πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RawMum says:

      Wow. Thank you so much. This is so reassuring. I’m happy to follow little one’s lead to find the things she likes. I do want to keep things minimal for our own sanity, our limited purse and the sake of the planet that she is inheriting. This has encouraged me to stay strong and trust my instincts. Thank you so much for taking the time to write πŸ€—πŸ’šπŸŒŸπŸ˜˜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh no. I’m so sorry you are going through this. It’s very tricky to know what to do in the beginning isn’t it.Have you looked at your local children’s centre? They often have weekly free classes, so if you can’t make a session, it’s no big deal, and they tend to have midwives around to be able to have a chat to as well, which can help to put your mind at rest over things like this. I love your baby gym. Please don’t feel like you need all the toys in the toy shop to be a good mum. As someone who over bought, I can definitely say that more isn’t actually more. You’ll find your little one will have a preference for just a few toys, but mostly for interaction with you. Playing peekaboo behind your hands, singing, reading, pulling faces. And being given freedom to kick about on different textures i.e. a soft towel, duvet, rug. You can actually do everything yourself from home. If you ever need an ear, we are here lovely. Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. RawMum says:

      I love the idea of kicking about on different fabrics ❀️ our family centre has a free class on a Wednesday which we are going to try to get to. The one I’ve been to was a bit weird but hopefully the others will be nicer if I give it a second chance.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It definitely gets easier as you go… take it week by week xx

        Liked by 2 people

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