I have been thinking a lot recently about my way of bringing up Matilda. Perhaps it’s a delayed reaction to the fact that she is not a baby anymore. I have been asking myself if I had done things the “right way”or if I could have done them differently. To some extend I feel I could have waited with going back to work (she was only 7 months when I returned to the office, fulltime) or could have been more patient with giving her bottle (I’m still breastfeeding, which is part of the plan, but having Kuba feeding her with my expressed milk would have given me more freedom).
Overall, however, I came to the conclusion that no, I wouldn’t have done anything differently because then it wouldn’t be me. I just need to remember to always trust my gut and instinct because no one knows better what my daughter needs than her mama.
I thought I share some of my parenting wisdom with you loves, in case you are having similar thoughts.
Ever since Matilda was born she was quite an unusual baby. She didn’t eat every 2 hours, she slept for 5-6 hours without waking up to be fed. I was worried in the beginning, even went to one of the breastfeeding support groups but then…I let it go. She was having wet and dirty nappies and was putting on weight so I let her regulate her feeding times. I trusted her and I still do. I don’t put food in her mouth if she doesn’t want it. I learnt to read her queues, I know that she will let me know if she is hungry or thirsty.
Tillie slept in her crib for the first three months of her life. But after this magical milestone, we started co-sleeping. I don’t regret this decision, not only because it’s easier for me to breastfeed her at night (yes, she still wakes up at night to be fed) but because I need to be close to her after all day at work. I love waking up to her little smiley face, even if it’s 6am and I have puffy bags under my eyes.
Not letting her cry it out
Not once in the past 14 months, I let Matilda cry it out. From day one I had her in my arms the moment she needed me. It just never felt natural to act differently. Over this last year, I learnt that she cries when she is hungry, thirsty, when she pooped, when she is scared, cold or too hot…She never cries just for the sake of crying. There is always a good reason for it and I believe my job as a parent is to solve those big little problems of hers.
Going back to Matilda being quite an unusual baby. Well, she never enjoyed being in a pram so for the first 7 months I carried her in a sling. Then she started tolerating (sort of!) sitting in her Uppababy but even now, she much more prefers to walk than being driven in a stroller. If you ask me if I regret carrying her around that much I’ll say categorically no. I believe in attachment parenting and all the goodness it can bring to her life in the future.
Spoiling a baby
I don’t believe you can spoil a baby. Period. I genuinely think that meeting Matilda’s need to be comforted or held only helps her feel secure and builds a loving relationship between her and I. How can this lead to spoiling? Also, and let me quote Dr Peter Gorski, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School here “A child will be more willing to explore boundaries and explore his world if he knows he can depend on his parents”. I’m all for responding to my daughter and fostering her independence!
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I let Matilda play with pasta or with my books, guilty as charged. I was criticised for it on a couple of occasions, but I always have the same answer: how else is she going to learn what is what, what is it for, how does it feel etc. I guess like any other one year old, she prefers playing with every day objects more than with her toys. And I believe that it’s totally natural and only shows how curious and adventurous little human being she is.
You may say that I’m following my baby rather than parenting her in a more conventional way but I think as long as I feel good about it and she is a happy little girl, there’s nothing wrong with this approach to bring her up.
Can you relate to any of the above? What is your “parenting style”? (gosh, I hate that word!)