I parent by instinct. So far so good, I’ve not really read all the guides or books (‘Your Baby Week by Week’ was the only book I read.. and I read it week by week as a feeding guide!) because if I’m honest I’d rather read a good fiction, there is only so much baby reading I can take from so called ‘professionals!’
But one thing that seems to crop up every now and then is to ‘make sure you don’t spoil your baby.’
Now correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t consider tending to my child’s needs as spoiling. Buying presents when he’s older every time he demands it and stamps his feet is what I consider spoiling.
He is not able to communicate with me, so how can I expect him to understand that Mummy is leaving him to cry and wail his heart out because I’m scared of ‘spoiling’ him. Why would I even consider that an option?!
At night-time he struggles to sleep. Like I said previously in another post he finds going to sleep harder now because his instinct is to get up and crawl when I put him down. He doesn’t understand that it’s bed time. He gets over tired and cries. Not a little sob but a really upset wail with tears pouring down his little chubby cheeks, stuck usually sitting upright.
Leaving him in that situation as is the ‘advice’ by some would not make it any better. He still won’t put his head down and realise it’s bed time. He just gets more and more upset until he’s half hyperventilating, but doesn’t know how to get himself back down to a sleeping position.
Instead I try to get him to a really sleepy state in my bed where I can hold him in place and then transfer him to his cot just before he actually nods off, in time he’ll understand the concept of sleeping- but why expect him to know everything now?
He’s also at the age where separation anxiety exists. He doesn’t cry if I leave the room as long as someone else is with him (even just the dog), so his anxiety isn’t solely about me, but instead when he is left alone. Surely that’s just a natural evolutionary instinct. His survival depends on other human beings. Sometimes he won’t cry when left alone but at other times he gets upset. When he does get upset it ranges from a little whinge (which I ignore) to full-out upset baby, which I won’t ignore! Again he doesn’t understand why everyone has left him, why should I expect him to understand that right now?
Now before you do think I’m spoiling him (which maybe I am), I don’t always run to his side. Now he’s crawling and standing he frequently falls over. If he lands somewhere soft and cries I don’t run over to him, I tell him to get up with a smile on my face- I try not to encourage him being upset by looking overly concerned. He now knows that when he falls over and it doesn’t hurt to just roll over and continue. If he does hit his head or other body part hard then of course I go over and give him a cuddle, after assessing whether or not he really needs me. A real cry usually means ‘Mummy I need you.’ Before he learnt to crawl he had no issue going to sleep which is why I know it’s not because he’s being a difficult baby. Plus at the moment he’s teething, and we all know how uncomfortable that must be, I just won’t let him suffer alone.
The idea of letting ‘them’ cry just infuriates me. For goodness sake he’s a baby. A baby that hasn’t grasped language yet. When he’s older and understands the concept of bedtime my approach will obviously be different. He can tell me what’s wrong or at least understand what Mummy is doing and why.
While he’s a baby I reserve the right to make sure my baby is not upset to the best of my abilities. I don’t call that spoiling, I call that parenting.