You’ve seen the babies on TV. They sit around quietly, looking adorable, then the actress playing the mother says “oh, it’s naptime” and whisks the baby away. A minute or so later, the actress is back and the show continues. Or you’ve read a book that promises babies will sleep, eat and play on a nice, predictable schedule.
Then you get a real baby.
As a La Leche League Leader, I get quite a few calls from mothers who are worried that they don’t have enough milk, or that there is something wrong with their milk. Why? Because the baby wants to nurse “too often” and doesn’t sleep as long or as often as they expected.
Others call because they’re worried that breastfeeding is making the baby too dependent or too attached. He doesn’t want to be plopped into a crib at naptime and lets everyone know how he feels by crying loudly. Not at all like the baby on TV. In fact, the baby wants to be held all the time. Surely this can’t be normal.
I’ll let you in on a secret. On TV shows, when the actress says she’s taking the baby for a nap, she really just hands him over to his mother. That’s why you don’t hear crying in the background.
It’s normal for babies to nurse frequently, want to be with Mom or another familiar, loved caregiver pretty much all the time, and to need some parenting help to get to sleep. It’s normal for some sensitive babies to cry quite a bit, as well, and that doesn’t mean they don’t like breastfeeding or that there’s something wrong with your milk.
So next time you see that well-behaved infant on TV, remember that this is just a script, and your own baby is the real thing, with his own unique quirks and personality that just won’t fit in to somebody else’s storyline.