If you are a parent you probably know what I am referring to here.
Have you ever noticed a parent of a new baby, especially the mom, when they are holding their baby they tend to sway rhythmically to an fro. It seems to come naturally and it usually does wonders for calming a fussy newborn. Have you ever noticed the same parent when they put the baby down or hand them off to someone else? They are more often than not still swaying. I call that the baby sway.
I did this with all of my babies. I don’t know why, I just did. Maybe it was comforting to me too.
Well, last night I cared for a term newborn being treated for hyperbilirubinemia. She was a doll and her parents were the sweetest couple. Mom was really determined to only breastfeed her baby and insisted on coming in every time her daughter was hungry. I was able to accommodate her request and more than supportive provided mom promised to lie down and at the very least, rest in between feedings as her daughter was demanding to be fed every two hours nursing for thirty to forty minutes.
After one middle of the night feeding, her daughter seemed to have a little difficulty settling while under the phototherapy lights. Mom stayed at the bedside “nesting” her daughter on the warming bed like I showed her how. Eventually, the baby quieted and was soon sleeping but mom and I continued with our conversation about other ways to soothe her baby. It was then I noticed that mom was swaying as if her baby was still in her arms. I smiled to myself as I remembered doing that with my own babies. It was such a warm, fuzzy memory.
And then I realized I don’t do that anymore. Of course I still do the baby sway with a baby in my arms or MY baby in my arms….but he isn’t really a baby anymore. He will ALWAYS be my baby, but he definitely is a little boy. He still needs me very much and makes that known with his numerous requests for hugs and cuddles throughout his day but once that need is fulfilled off he goes back to his little boy adventures. I remember the same transition with each of his sisters.
It is bittersweet. My internal baby sway is now dormant as we enter the next phase of my son’s life. There are no more babies for me. It will have to be the babies I care for in the NICU, cuddle at church and someday…..a long time from now!…..my grandbabies. Then the baby sway returns with the soft grandmom shoulders that all grandbabies love to snuggle against.
Of course I had no clue that three years later I would become a grandmother, a Mima, much, much sooner than I was ready to be. Oh well. Thankfully, my own baby sway did return and on many occasions, I somehow managed to put those grandbabies to sleep when no one else could.
Skills…I haz skillz!