I think every other mom has to hear something similar from her family, friends or neighbors several times during her journey of mommyhood. The general belief seems to be:
"If you keep picking up your baby every time she cries you will end up raising an ill-behaved kid."
Everyone loves a happy baby and loves to play with the baby. But as soon as the baby starts crying its mama's property and responsibility. Trust me, no one helps or cares to calm down the baby. The mom, who may be busy in her household chores or attending to her older child instantly leaves everything and attends to her baby's needs, as soon as she sees her baby crying.
I used to do exactly this. And my family always had a problem. They kept telling me I will spoil my newborn if I keep attending to her whenever she cries. Many times I was even advised to let her cry for sometime and not pay much attention to her! As a mom, I find this very disturbing. It is a mother's natural instinct to pick her baby up and comfort him. A mother loves her baby more than anyone else and will go any length to keep him happy. Why would she want to spoil him or do anything that would harm him?!
From my experience, I am sharing some very common but distressing statements my family made whenever they saw me picking up my crying baby.
You are spoiling him with over pampering
Let me make this very clear: you cannot spoil a baby at all. A mother must attend to her baby because your baby is dependent on you. Even experts believe that child-centric parenting is the best approach, rather than following any specific thumb rule or tradition. I had to confront many people and a lot of criticism for my parenting habits. But I responded as per my instinct and my baby's need.
Why do you feed him every time he cries?
A baby is new to this world and he is trying to adjust and understand the surroundings. I am a new mother and I am trying to help my baby feel calm and secure. My baby needs me and stays close to me because of the bond we have developed over 9 months. Babies feel secure if they latch on to the breast. If feeding helps my baby feel secure and calm, why shouldn't I do it?
Plus, babies do not have well regulated feeding cycles like we do. To be honest, as an adult, even I sometimes don’t understand if my stomach is full or empty!
Your baby is going to become ill-behaved in the future
What? He is just a baby! At this age the baby cannot even move to fulfill his own needs. He is too young to understand how to communicate, how to express, how to tell others that - I am hungry, my diaper is soggy, I need attention, I am afraid, etc. His main mode of communication is via crying, and as a mom it's my duty to attend to his needs and soothe him.
When I see my baby crying, I don’t care about the next 10 yrs. I only wish him to be happy and feel safe at this very moment.
You are raising a dependent kid
I can't leave my baby crying and imagine that he will be independent one day! The baby cannot walk for the first year of birth, they are to be carried and that’s why slings and baby carriers are in the market! I do not wish my baby to feel alone in this strange new world and feel himself unsafe. Plus, even research shows that the babies who feel safe during infancy grow up with independent and strong personalities.
How I Deal With The Situation
"Yes, I will attend to my baby first if he is crying. Picking up my baby when he is in need does not mean I am spoiling him or making him dependent on me. This act is just to make him feel safe, secure and loved.
And yes, I will keep doing it."
That's my only answer to all the raised eyes. With all due respect, I try and pay as little attention as possible to these "pieces of advice" so as to not fall prey to perplexing parenting decisions.
Spoiling means teaching bad habits. We as parents always wish our child to be a good boy or good girl. But this will happen once you understand your baby and your baby understands you. Babies learn from set patterns we follow with them - for example, making them sleep on time in the night, or good feeding habits. But all of this comes with time.
Right now, my baby is new to the world. He is afraid of sounds, light, different faces, and many such things. He needs my love and affection to feel safe and secure. I will do whatever it takes to give him all my love.
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