This post is part of “All About Babywearing” Month on Dirty Diaper Laundry and Mama Needs This.
This morning I had to run to the grocery store. I’m having a guest over and noticed there was a considerable lack of guest friendly foods and drink here. I pretty much only drink water, so there is only water and liquor in the house. The liquor belongs to hubby. I doubt a new mom wants liquor! Or maybe she does…
I typically don’t go to the grocery store alone. I live in an upstairs apartment and carrying my son (or wearing him) while carrying bags of groceries is extremely difficult. I don’t want to leave him in the car while I tote the bags (reusable of course, so they are sturdy enough) or bring him upstairs while I go back down. I decided to only pick up a few things to try and solve that problem.
While shopping and pushing my son in the grocery cart, which he was enjoying, I heard a newborn babe crying. There is no mistaking that sound. It cuts right to your heart, and your breasts if you are still lactating! And the baby was screaming. As I turned the corner I was expecting to see a new mom “shh-ing” her babe, perhaps lifting him out of a car seat to comfort him, or even just rocking the cart back and forth. Instead I saw a mom ignoring the baby while continuing to decide what yogurt would be best for her.
I was also interested in yogurt so I stood back. The baby was thrashing in the car seat and still screaming. The mom hardly even glanced over at the new little baby. Now, if this were me I would have been prepared with a sling of some sort. I could pop the baby in and continue to shop. No doubt the baby would have probably been content being held by mom. This is why I find babywearing to be essential to raising a child. Life must go on. Groceries need to be bought, hair needs to be brushed, and laundry must be done. Babies could care less, but they want to be held close.
When I was checking out so was the mom and screaming baby. The employees asked her how old the baby was. “1.5 weeks.” Wow. I was locked in my home for the first 6 weeks partly out of choice and partly for fear of having to nurse in public. But who am I to judge? Maybe she was a single mother, or her husband was out of town on business. Maybe she was suffering from PPD and really could care less about the crying baby. She was probably up all night with that baby also. I am trying to rack my brain for an explanation as to why she could seem so cold towards that tiny, crying infant. Her own flesh and blood that until 1.5 weeks ago, was still swishing around in her tummy. Now, he is cold and alone and not being cuddled when he needs it.
I cried driving home thinking of that poor baby. I was thinking that he is probably going home to be laid in his crib to cry it out. Even one of the employees noted that “he will just cry himself to sleep.” But that isn’t how it should be! That mom should be comforting him with her arms and her breasts. My son hardly ever cried during those early weeks. I rocked him or nursed him at the slightest whimper. Luckily, boobs solved the crying back then. Still do, really.
I regret not saying anything. I kept thinking I should go over and ask if she had ever heard of a wrap? Maybe it would have been a revelation to her and solve all of her problems. Or, maybe she would have told me to shut my trap. I am not someone to criticize a parent because I assume they are doing the best they can. But, the more I think about it, the more I am not sure that she was.
What would you have done in my situation? Was I wrong not to offer advice?