While discussing newborn babies, my sister reminded me of my first (and overwhelming) days with my firstborn. As I had no experience with babies, I relied on books and other experienced moms to tell me what to do. My memory is dim of those days, but I do remember hearing a newborn should be kept on a schedule. If it’s time to sleep, then put them down and let them sleep.

My newborn (and three weeks early) daughter wasn’t so big on the whole schedule idea. One of our first days home from the hospital, I remember sitting in my room with tears running down my cheeks and arms wrapped around my torso while she screamed. My mother and sister wanted to pick her up, as did I, but I’d read that this was the way to get them on a schedule. After a few more minutes, my sister grabbed my shoulders. “That baby has been held by you for the last nine months. She misses you. You can pick her up. It won’t ruin her for life.”

In that conversation, my sister gave me permission to go with my gut. Being a new mother was overwhelming, and bringing that first baby home from the hospital was one of the scariest things I’ve done. I couldn’t believe the nurses were going to trust me to take care of an infant!

After that mess of a day, I found a book (now also a website) called Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. Second to constant prayer for guidance, the author’s moderate, loving approach filled with charts detailing differing types of infant cries and a general schedule model helped me through many long days and longer nights.

My firstborn and I survived my mothering skills, and I went on to do it again when our next daughter arrived less than two years later. So, hang in there new moms, and enjoy holding that sweet baby. For the times when I did have to let my babies cry, I found running the vacuum helped drown out the sound and gave me a sense of accomplishment at the same time.