Care and Feeding of Babies

I was a young teen when my mom asked me to help her in the nursery. My assignment was to hold a baby girl while she slept with a pacifier in her mouth. As a teenage boy, I had little experience with handling infants. All I remembered was being told many times to be very gentle around them. I assumed they must be easily breakable, and so I sat very still as she slept in my arms.

After about fifteen minutes, she stirred and the pacifier popped out of her lips. I knew that pacifiers kept babies asleep, so I reached up and pushed it back into her mouth. A moment later she spat up all over herself and the pacifier. I was horrified. I explained my predicament to my mother and the baby was sent back to her mother, but that was enough to convince myself that I would never be able to manage a baby. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong. Did the pacifier make her spit up? Had I made her sick somehow? Babies were simply too complicated.

The experience has been brought back to my memory as I hold a different infant girl in my arm, and as she spits up at least a few times every day when I’m holding her. Yet, she doesn’t appear to be broken. In fact, her normal reaction is just to smile and continue sleeping. Maybe I can manage a baby.