I realize the title of this post is a little misleading, allow me to clarify...I am very lucky to have the child I do, I am blessed beyond belief. But when it comes to his behavior and happiness, Luck has very little to do with it. I know alot of first time moms get bombarded with both useful and useless advice, from both people we know and strangers... everyone thinks they automatically know more because they've already had children. I've been having a real problem with this, almost every time I am around someone from an older generation I usually am firstly told 'what a happy and calm baby you have, you're so lucky." then not a few minutes later when I immediately respond when he's hungry, tired, etc "He's fine, wait till he's crying." "you are spoiling him" "You're not sleeping? Oh you need to let that baby cry it out"
And it never matters what research I throw at them, how many times I explain my method, how I practice peaceful parenting. They tell me I'm wrong, laugh at me, and quite frankly, I'm fed up.
can I just say:THE REASON MY BABY IS SO HAPPY AND CALM IS BECAUSE I DON'T DO THE THINGS EVERYONE TELLS ME TO DO.
Because, get this, YOU ACTUALLY CANNOT SPOIL YOUR BABY at this age, they simply do not have the mental compacity to manipulate you yet. Not only that, but the sooner you respond to thier cues, the more they trust you and the better your bond is. It also helps build thier confidence, because they feel they are communicating well and are understood. If instead I waited until he cried every time he was hungry, needs a change, is tired etc, I am letting him know that he needs to cry to get my attention. Suddenly all his cues would be replaced with the one: crying. And obviously, no one wants a baby who cries all the time. It's bad for baby and mom.
One method that really breaks my heart is the "cry it out" method, and I'm finding the reason this practice is still used is because many of us new parents simply do what our own parents did rather than look at research that is now out that our parents didn't have, so they didn't know better. NOW YOU DO.The CIO method is a dangerous and outdated practice that has been scientifically proven to cause brain damage that affects the child all throughout their life. When infants are left to cry alone, their body releases high levels of cortisol that start destroying neurons in the baby's brain. This continues HOURS after the crying has stopped. And they don't learn to self-soothe this way. They learn that no matter how much they cry or need you, that you WILL NOT be there for them or take care of them. You are breaking that trust and cutting off a deep bond permanently when you do this to them. Babies DO NOT cry for no reason. Ever. Like I said, Babies do not understand the concept of manipulation, nor are they aware of it. The first several years of a babies life are crucial. Thier environment sets them up for the rest of their life. It's in our biology: babies need to be held, they need alot of love and attention and skin on skin. It's survival instinct to push that bond. In nature, mother's will abandon their children sometimes. Baby's survival is to ensure they make a bond with their mother. Clingyness is their way of doing that.
There's more to it though...if you have kids then you know these methods are simply the in-between stuff. That between the times he is hungry and sleeping there is a whole lot of time to fill. So will fill that time with positivity!
When we wake up, he spend the first half hour of the day having happy chats and making him smile. I feel it's important to begin each day like this to set a positive tone for the remainder of it. Whether we're up at 4, 5 or 6, we begin each morning on a good note!
I keep him with me all the time throughout the day (other than when he naps sometimes), we play, we sing and dance...when I need to get chores done, I let him watch me and have screaming matches with him and explain what I'm doing.
We also spend alot of time outside! Everyone feels there best outdoors, getting alot of fresh air and being around trees and nature, maybe even doing some grounding/earthing in the summer time, is a great way to spend some happy time with your baby and put them in a good mood.
Sometimes when Forest is very fussy because of teething or something else out of my control, I take him for a walk and it usually does the trick!
I know every baby is different and every parent is different, and I'm not saying I'm the perfect parent and have it all figured out. Trust me, I cry alot, I'm tired ALWAYS but I don't let it affect the way I interact with my son. I never sigh out of frustration to him or speak in negative tones. Gavin and I keep happy tones when speaking to eachother as well (we always have). We are also very selective with who is aloud to hold/spend time with our son. If someone is constantly negative, nagging, putting down our parenting, I take Forest away immediately to another room and consider whether we will be spending time with said person again. Same with if I'm crying, Gavin will take over so I have a minute to collect myself.
All these things might not work for you and your baby, because you are different. All I'm saying is, it's always possible to pay attention to cues, to find what makes your child happy and do it!
Now maybe you are rolling your eyes and coming to the conclusion that I actually DO have it easier than everyone out of luck. Now, let me tell you how I know that isn't true. Recently I became overcome with my anxiety (this is the first time I publicly state this, I'm also not yet comfortable going into detail so we will keep it at that) I didn't give myself the time to really deal with it, so for two weeks I cried everyday, almost all day...I was up all night with a baby who wouldn't sleep and was fussier than usual during the day. This is partly because he is teething, but partly because MY energy was bringing him down. I finally asked for help...I was still trying to be Super Mom and do everything on my own, even in my state. I realised that was affecting my child negatively and opened up to Gavin, and told him I needed a little extra help and love and time to heal. Almost like magic, I was sleeping more, eating better (cut out junk and juice and sugary stuff basically) and give myself the time to deal with my anxiety in healthy ways apart from Forest. Now we are back where we left off. Happy baby and happy mommy sleeping good and having a good old time during the day. Everything we do, everything about our environment affects us and our adult behaviors.
At the end of the day, when I put Forest to sleep, I think of two things "did I do enough to make him happy?" and "did I love him enough today?" I should confidently be able to answer with an enthousiastic YES to both of those. There will always be bad days, but better ones are always ahead. We just like to help the better days along with alot of positive energy!
This isn't a "don't judge my parenting" post. I am not harming my child, in fact I spend all day loving him...so in that regard, I don't care if you think I'm a bad parent becuase I know I'm not. All I'm saying is, if there's something specific I want advice on... I will ask, trust me. There have been many istances that I have reached out for a good piece of advice...but if I don't ask, please don't push your perception on me. You see me with my child for five minutes and immediately come to the conclusion that I'm spoiling him and basically doing everything wrong. As you can see, I didn't jump into motherhood blindly...I research STILL every single day...about environments, about products, everything to ensure I'm doing the very best to my ability to raise him the best way that I can. You forget, I'm not trying to raise him to fit in well to this world...I'm raising him to be better than it, so that he can contribute love and positivity to make it a better place.