Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Newborn attachment

So it turns out, I love having a baby. LOVE it.

It helps that we've been incredibly lucky with Callum so far, and he is generally calm and laid-back. So far he's been sleeping like a dream and eating like a champ, and fussing pretty much only when he's hungry. I know at some point this will change, but we are loving it while it lasts.

It also helps that he's pretty much the cutest thing ever. He's smiling up a storm. He coos when you talk to him. He's captivated by toys. He likes to lie on his activity mat and wave his hands and legs so they bump into the toys. He can do that for upwards of 45 minutes at a time without getting bored. He's rolled over once (tummy to back), and now he's trying really hard to recreate it. Every day during tummy time, he grunts and tries to heave himself over. He's getting really close. I imagine in a couple weeks he'll be doing it regularly... and that will be the end of tummy time.

I love this baby so, so much, to the point where it almost hurts. I love him so much that it almost makes me wistful because it's just so MUCH, if that makes any sense. I love him so much that sometimes I miss him while I'm holding him.

And it has been so awesome to read the blogs of other new moms, and see what's the same and what's different for each of us. I'm constantly impressed by how we all adapt, how we all figure out what works for us and our own individual babies, and how things that aren't right for me or Torsten or Callum at all can be totally, utterly right for other people.

One area in which I notice that I am different from a lot of new moms is in terms of how I express my attachment to Callum. I love holding him, for sure. But I also love being able to put him down. I love that he is entertained on his activity mat and in his bouncy seat, that he sleeps peacefully in his swing and on his boppy. I have no problem putting him down and taking a break so I can eat, shower, work, call family or friends, blog, sleep, spend time with Torsten, or just relax.

I also have no problem letting other people hold him. This never bothered me even when he was just two days old. For me, there's enough baby to go around, and I'll have plenty of time to enjoy him when other friends and family members are done loving on him. I don't feel compelled to take him back when he's in someone else's arms. And I love how much he loves his dad, and how much time they spend together. I enjoy that Torsten can give Callum his bottle, and that they can snuggle together happily for hours.

And, I don't mind leaving the house briefly without him. I can spend an hour running errands, or go to a meeting with our accountant, knowing that he's safe at home with his dad, and that's totally fine. Of course I'm happy to see his adorable little face when I get back... but sometimes it's nice to be out and about on my own, just me. (Though I will say that I am not yet ready to leave him for an extended period of time, or with anyone but Torsten. Maybe in a few more weeks.)

I've been struck by how other new moms feel differently. How it feels off for them when they aren't holding their baby, how it feels totally unnatural for their baby to sleep in his crib in his own room because they want him right there next to them all the time.

I can totally understand why they would feel that way... but I personally do not. I love my baby, I love having him with me, I love holding him, and believe me, I shower tons and tons of affection on him (as does his dad), but I am also happy and relaxed when he's not in my arms, or even if he's in a different room.

And the great thing is... all these ways of being, of feeling, of attaching to your newborn? They're all fine. All of us have happy, loved, well-adjusted babies. All of us are meeting their needs and our own, and enjoying the process. It's just a very early example of how, as parents, we all have to figure out what works for us. And if we can do that without judging people who have found that different things work for them? So much the better.


  1. He is the cutest baby ever!!!

    I love how content he is. I love that first picture... the happy not-quite-full-smile face... my son was like that so it reminds me of him. :) Just happy to be there, oh, hey mom...

  2. Yes. Well said. And you are also right that he is ADORABLE. He looks like SUCH a perfect mix of you and Torsten.

    Also, when my babies started purposefully smiling, I suddenly felt even more attached to them.

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  4. I remember that overwhelming feeling, like you just want to take every last piece of them in, and then some. Aaah.

    I never had a problem putting my kids down either. Sleeping in their own that was a different story.

    He has the cutest little smile!

  5. MAN that is a cute baby. I mean, babies are cute, but there is a spectrum. And that is a VERY CUTE BABY.

  6. He looks like a really happy baby. I am so happy for you.

  7. This just in: I am in love with Callum. He is so adorable!

    Fine, I have no meaningful comments about parenthood. But I do love reading all these different mothering perspectives, and seeing what works for everyone. Thanks, Jess and the rest of the internets! :)

  8. Oh, Jess. This is a WONDERFUL post. The world needs more of you - and luckily - you just added a little you to the world!

    I LOVE the first picture of that little stinker grinning. I must get down there to snuggle him soon! He is already getting so big!

    Miss you.

  9. That last picture, it suddenly struck me how much he really does look like his in-utero scan piccies!

  10. He is seriously cute. Whoa.

    I think what you've written expresses a lot about how I was with my babies, even Michael who was premature and had extra needs. I think something I have been good at, as a parent, is seeing that I need some time for myself and not being afraid to take it... it probably helped that I didn't feel an intense physical need for my baby to be only with me.

    I really relate to this post - as well as to the general benefit of to each her own (within reason) when it comes to parenting.

  11. OK, Callum? He is SUPER adorable. So the pictures. Reading this post, I honestly felt I could've written it. That's just how I felt as a new mom and how I was with my now 2.5 year old daughter. Like Callum, she was calm and easygoing as a baby, I loved her SO much, but I also put her on her mat, boppy, etc., and was glad for other people to hold her, leave her with my husband to get out for an hour by myself. I miss that time SO MUCH. Cherish it. I still love my daughter so much, but now she is in that toddler drama stage and lately, it has been rough because I just want her to still be this sweet, calm baby girl, and she is all "I'm a TODDLER, HEAR ME ROAR!" LOL. This is such a special time for you, Callum, and Torsten--enjoy!

  12. It IS so much. It's still so much. I love Sam so much I want to spread her on a cracker and EAT HER.

    As for when she was first born, I was REALLY CRAZY ATTACHED TO HER. Like, I felt like she was MINE, ALLLLL MINE and wouldn't let anyone else hold her.

    It's definitely hormones, if that makes sense. Because it was a weirdly primal feeling, and not one that I was previously familiar with.

  13. Can you send this to a relative of mine who seems to think that there's only one way to be attached? K, great. Thanks.

    Well put. B and I are very similar in our attachment style. He's adorable. But you know that.

  14. I meant Callum's adorable. Not B (though I think he is). Thought I should clarify since I was writing in stream of consciousness and my comment made no sense.

  15. OMG! I want a BABY! Whine. Oh wait, I get one soon. He is the cutest, you are the cutest. You make it sounds so easy. It's totally easy right?

  16. He really is an adorable baby, like ridiculously adorable. I know everyone says that to all parents, but just know that your baby is TOTALLY cuter than the average baby :)

  17. I agree that your baby is a cuter than average baby! And I have a baby the same age (who I also, of course, think is cuter than average) so I am an expert in the field. :) Callum seems like he's a smartie, too just like his mom! I loved this post, you have a way with words and a great perspective.

  18. He honestly gets cuter every day, Jess!

    He was a cutie to begin with but OMG...such cuteness!!

    Can't wait to meet him!

  19. oh my GOD that picture of him and torsten!! what is it about men with babies that's so endearing?!

    i'm so happy for you guys that everything is going so well. what an adorable little family you are!!

  20. He is SO CUTE. He makes me want a baby boy! And he seems laid back in all of his photos, too. :-) I'm glad you're loving motherhood.People who enjoy it make better moms.

  21. Gah! He is such a cutie!

    I totally have no trouble letting other people hold my girls. Of course, I also have two babies, so the constantly holding a baby gets tiresome after a while...even though I love them to pieces!

  22. My heavens, that really IS a cute kid. And I am not one to just say that about any baby. ADORABLE.

    You're as lovely a mom as you are a person!