Daddy Duty

Sleep, Eat, Diaper Change. Repeat.

Breaking bad habits.

on January 17, 2012

As if new parents didn’t have enough to worry about, every action or inaction you take is an opportunity for the baby to learn how to act or not to act. I’ve felt like a basket case at times debating whether to pick him up, let him sleep, feed him, stimulate him, etc.

Ever hear that you shouldn’t respond to your baby when he’s crying or he’ll get used to it, be spoiled, and expect you all of the time? I have and am continually told this by friends, family, and well meaning outsiders. However, there’s also a school of thought that infants need to be cared and loved all the time, especially when they are young.  As a matter of fact, by calming their fears early on and letting them know you are there for them, they will be less needy in the future as they gain confidence in knowing they are safe to grow and experiment.

In theory, both arguments seem logical to me, however I’m subscribing more to the second for now. As he’s older and has bonded with us more and can self soothe, I anticipate there will be times we will leave him alone to “cry it out,” but not yet.  He’s only an infant now and he needs our love and care. So, if I go to him at almost every cry and whimper, don’t judge me and leave me alone.  
Admittedly, I used to go straight to him at the slightest sound just to see what was going on.  I then read how babies simply make a lot of noises when they sleep and that different cries could literally tell you what was needed.  We’re learning my son’s language and have begun differentiating the sounds and cues to be able to guess when he’s sleepy, hungry, practicing his voice or just wants to be held.

In addition to running to the crib, another common issue is co-sleeping, where the baby sleeps near its parents in the same bed or not.  The fear here is that they will only sleep in your room and won’t go to their own quarters. Although it’s not advised, we’ve had JJ sleep in the bed with us a couple of times.  We were fully aware of the fears of suffocation and rolling on him, however, at the time, it seemed like that was the only way to appease him and ease his crying. There’s almost no worse feeling than the powerlessness you feel as a parent when you don’t know why your newborn is crying. Diaper? Sick? Rash? Hungry? Cold? Hot? Itchy? You’ll go nuts going through the list and still not finding out the cause. 

Knowing we didn’t want him in our bed with us for the rest of our lives, we forced ourselves to put him back in the basket despite his cries and wailing. Knock on wood, we seemed to have broken that habit, but only time will tell.

These are but two of the major choices we have faced. In thinking about our short time parenting, it’s overwhelming to think how many choices you have to make: breastfeed or bottle-feed, name, circumcise or not, etc. Being a parent is tough!

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2 responses to “Breaking bad habits.

  1. Andrea Leu says:

    I truly enjoy reading your thoughts! Before I had my first born, I thought parenting was going to be easy! I had taken care of so many babies over the years that I thought I would know it all! Boy was I wrong! I was so overwhelmed! I never felt like I was doing the right thing. Everyone kept telling me what I should be doing. But, deep down, I knew that if I felt good about what I was doing, then I wasn’t going to let anyone else’s opinion sway me. It took me a long time to feel confident though. I chose to breastfeed exclusively for the first year, co-sleep and respond to all of my baby’s cries immediately. He’s now almost 3, and is totally independent, confident, funny and sleeping all by himself in his own bed! If I had listened to what everyone was telling me during the first few months of his life, he might not be the little boy he is today. I think as parents, we need to give encouragement to one another. Support one another and let each parent make the decisions that work best for their baby/family. It sounds like you are doing a great job! I hope you and your wife stick to what feels right for you!

  2. Proud Daddy says:

    Thanks so much for your comment, encouragement, and advice. My wife and I are sticking to our guns. We’re simultaneously creating a Mama’s and Daddy’s Boy! He’s a ton of fun and a lot of work, but this is life as we know it. Thanks again!

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