This is great for when you’re feeling low, and maybe not enjoying your baby much. Perhaps they are teething, or have a cold and are wakeful with the snuffles. This is a good way to cheer you both up.
Dress up your baby in beautiful and special clothes, choosing the ones you most like to see them in. Apart from being warm and convenient, children’s clothes are made to please the eye of mothers and other admirers. Gazing at them in their Sunday best may make you like them again.
Mothers often do this before visiting town, the child-health clinic, or relatives or friends. Babies attract lots of attention and friendliness, for themselves and their parents, wherever they go. Total strangers will comment: ‘What a beautiful baby’ and you will glow with pride as you head down the street. Grandparents and other relatives will be adoring fans, too, and all this can magnify your enthusiasm for parenting.
Anna 20 ‘As the mother of a three-month-old baby, I was very distraught. The baby was hard to comfort, everyone seemed good at it except me and I was feeling so tired and. I was horrified. I heard myself say: “You’re a real little bitch, aren’t you?” when she spat out some food. “You know I’m a hopeless mother, don’t you?” “Nothing I do makes you happy, does it?” Stuff like that. I resolved there and then to change what came out of my mouth. I’ll never know if she changed first or it was a change in me, but Angie became easier to handle almost from that day onwards. I think the change was in me, as well, and she was getting a nicer feeling from me that made the difference. I wasn’t talking to her like she was an enemy.’
Sally, 31 ‘My baby didn’t smile much. One of my friends would tell me how her son always smiled when he was put down to sleep or when he woke and was happy to see her. I was so jealous! I j ust started saying to my daughter (of three months): “Who’s a smiley girl, then” and: “You’re a happy baby” over and over, while I smiled at her, and before long I had a happy child, too.’
Since we don’t really know what a baby is thinking, we may as well have positive fantasies. When our son was two months old and continuallyand colicky, I said as a joke: ‘He’s really saying, “Thank you for putting up with me, I’ll be eternally grateful to you.” This cry-interpretation became a joke with my husband. Woken in the early hours, we would translate full-voiced bawling into: “I don’t mean to upset you. Thanks for giving up your sleep to show me how important I am to you. I think you’re a beautiful mother, Mum. I just want to check that you are still there.’”