Bad mother (/father)?

Have you ever done something (or not done something) which resulted in your child being hurt, or sad? I’m supposed to hope everyone will answer with a ‘no’, but really I’m hoping for the opposite. Because if you all answer ‘no’, then I’m going to feel like the worst mother in the world (and Denny will feel like the worst father, even though he’s only got one thing to feel guilty about, unlike me and my list!).

I always say I know so much about babies (and I’m pretty sure I do know a lot), and with my work as a newborn photographer I’ve had tiny babies in my hands on a daily basis. I treat them with the utmost care and caution, and it’s always gone well, because safety is the number 1 priority at my shoots.

And yet, a couple of things have happened with Liv (unintentionally of course) which I feel absolutely terrible about! Stupid things, which make me want to kick myself afterwards. Do you know the feeling? I hope so…

The first night we had Liv at home, I put her in the co-sleeper with a baby sleeping bag on, and the window open. The window is always open in our bedroom, and now that we had the baby with us, I didn’t want that to change, “She needs to get used to it.” And anyway, it was the height of summer, so what on Earth could go wrong? You dress a baby in the same number of layers as yourself, so she should be fine. Denny carefully offered to close the window, but I said it was nonsense.

Here, in the first week, every time you change a diaper, you should check baby’s temperature. I thought that was rather excessive, since I could clearly feel whether she was too warm or cold, and I didn’t think it would be nice for Liv to have the thermometer up her bottom every time. When she woke up at around 5 for a feed that first night at home, I thought she felt rather colder than I liked, so during her diaper changed I checked her temperature after all. And? 36.1… and the minimum temperature for a newborn is 36.5! Her first night at home, and I had let her become ‘hypothermic’! How awful! 🙁 I immediately put extra blankets on her, and added a hot water bottle in her bed too, so that she would have a normal temperature again as soon as possible. I now know that Liv, just like me, gets cold easily, and does not overheat quickly. Since then the window is not always open, unless it’s like an oven outside! 🙂

The next unfortunate incident happened with the TummyTub. Apart from one bath during the first week of her life, Liv usually showers with us. One morning we didn’t get around to it, so in the evening I suggested to Denny that we put her in the TummyTub. She was 4 weeks old. During my training as a midwife I often bathed babies, and a TummyTub didn’t look all that different to me. I looked up a video on YouTube, just to be sure, but it all looked pretty easy.

I filled the TummyTub, added a little bit of oil (knowing that this would make everything a bit slippery, but I figured there wasn’t room for her to slide anywhere anyway), and put Liv in the water. I knew she needed to fold her legs under her. As soon as babies start to stand, they cannot safely be put in a TummyTub, and it soon became clear why… She was just ‘sitting’, when suddenly she stretched her legs. Thanks to the oil, I didn’t have a secure grip on her, and she ‘fell’ forward, with her face in the water. She swallowed a huge amount of water (or maybe it was just a drop, but it felt like she swallowed all the water in the tub), and started screaming, of course. I started crying too, I felt so clumsy, and so awful for Liv. 🙁 That was our first and last experience with the TummyTub – since then she showers with Denny. Much safer!

Long nails – mine and Liv’s – are also an issue. In the first week my nails were (coincidentally) pretty long, and sometimes Liv would move in a way I didn’t expect, and twice this resulted in a scratch from my nails. After the second time I cut my nails as short as they could go. Such a pathetic sight – that tiny little face with a big scratch on it! She also scratched her own face a lot. Her naisl grow like weeds, and I was constantly filing them. The filing just was not working for us, so one day I decided to be brave and cut her nails with a baby nail clipper. 9 nails went perfectly, and then I came to number 10, her thumb. I accidentally cut a little fold of skin along with the nail. Screaming baby, of course. 🙁 I still cut her nails (every 4 days!), and it’s still scary every time. But luckily I’ve not cut her again since then.

And to round it off, we have Denny’s incident… but he only has one incident to mention, as opposed to my list! Two weeks ago he was dressing Liv, and he pulled her romper over her head, and she started screaming like a mad thing, which she never normally does! At first we thought she was angry because she was being dressed, but then I looked on her head. The popper on the romper had scratched her head, and it wasn’t a small scratch. It was a deep, red scratch which was still visible the next day. Denny felt so guilty, and since then he’s more hesitant about dressing her. He has his own little emotional scar apparently. 😉

Have you had similar things happen with your baby? Of course never intentionally, (and the guilt afterwards is crippling), but accidents do happen..

It’s all gone well for a while now *(touch wood)* so let’s hope there will be no more stupid mistakes happening in our house…