Letter to Camille: One Month

Hello sweet Camille, and Happy 4 Weeks and 1 Day since your birth. I began writing to you yesterday and wanted to post an entry exactly one month from your birthday – but I’m learning that sometimes I have to put things off because you need me. That’s okay, I’m happy to be needed, and I need you too.
I can’t believe you’re already a month old. It has gone by quickly, but at the same time, I feel like we’ve learned and grown a lot. You are such a sweet baby, and I’ve enjoyed seeing even more of your blueberry eyes lately during the day. You still sleep a lot in the daytime, but when you’re awake these are some of the things you really like:
-When I sing old showtunes and hymns to you – bless you for being so kind to tolerate Mommy’s singing
-Cuddling with your Daddy
-Your pacifier
-When we read books to you
-Riding in the car
-Being held
Here are some things you do not like:
-The hours between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. So far, that seems to be your only really fussy time.
-When your pacifier falls out of your mouth
Although you’re our sleepy girl most of the time…
…this is what you looked like the other day after I had my first caffeinated coffee in ages:
You are such a sweet girl, and your Daddy and I love you very much – so you’ll have to forgive me when I turn into neurotic mom. It’s just that you’re so important to us and I don’t want to mess you up. About a week ago, I started reading up on what to do to help babies get into a more regular sleeping and eating pattern. You were still up much of the night, and I have trouble sometimes deciding if you’re crying because you’re hungry or just because you need a good cry. So I looked for advice in my baby books, on the internet, and from family and friends.
There is no shortage of advice on the subjects of infant sleeping and eating. The problem is, the advice is completely contradictory, and ranges from giving you everything you could possibly want until you’re a teenager and can handle routine, to laying down the law and letting you cry an awful lot so you’ll learn routine at a very early age. And every variation in between.
What makes it so difficult, is that proponents of every method often indicate if I don’t follow their advice, I am putting you in MORTAL PERIL. The people who think I should respond to your every whimper believe if I don’t, you’ll grow up to be a despondent, distrustful child because you were neglected as an infant. What really stabbed at my heart was when one “expert” said babies who are left to cry for prolonged periods tend to laugh less. IF I LET YOU CRY, I AM STEALING JOY FROM YOUR LIFE.
However, some of those who think I should let you cry it out indicate if I don’t teach you routine and structure immediately, you will grow up to be an unhappy, out-of-control person. One day when you’re a teenager, I’ll tell you to clean your room, and you’ll tell me to get lost and you’ll leave the house in a rage and knock over a liquor store. All because I didn’t let you cry it out when you were a baby.
So I stressed out about this for days before talking to my pediatrician who said I need to feed you on demand at least until you’re 2 months old. So for now, we’re taking this approach: we respond when you cry. We make sure your diaper is clean, you’ve been recently fed, and the cat is not biting or suffocating you. We let you cry a little, but not for long. I know there will come a day, and probably very soon, when I may have to let you cry for a while because you need to be taught routine. But for now, my doctor says I can cater to you without spoiling you. For now.
And the last few nights, you’ve rewarded us well. You’re beginning to sleep more at night, and last night you slept the whole night in your crib and went for almost 5 hours without waking. When you finally stirred at about 5:30, I was so happy to dash into your room and scoop you up for a feeding. Then you snoozed some more until 8:30, then you woke up and your Daddy brought you into our bed for some quality cuddle time. I think the morning is one of my favorite times with you. You’re still in your pajamas and still a little sleepy which makes you extra-cuddly. You’re usually pretty hungry so you eat well, and afterwards you’re content to lounge about for a bit and we stare at each other while I play with your feet and nibble on your fingers.
The clock says you should be getting hungry about now. You don’t always care what the clock says, but I am trying to maintain a little bit of routine here. I guess I’ll get you out of your swing and see if I can wake you up a bit.
Thank you for being a resilient baby, and forgiving your Mommy and Daddy when we don’t always know exactly what to do. You’re growing bigger, stronger, and more beautiful every day, so we must be doing a few things right. You are loved little one!