Saturday, May 8, 2010

To Have But Not To Hold?

Made up in my head studies show that first time parents (ie: moms) will hold their child more than not, will allow co-sleeping longer, will pick up their child if he/she makes any sort of whimper, causing the child to be more dependent on being held during the day and needing more affection in the early years. This can cause some waves on the marital sea as well as keep mom from sleeping, cleaning, or just taking time for herself.

So where is the line? It's hard to tell when you first bring your baby home, not knowing the personality of the child, as well as not knowing the cues he/she gives you for what he/she needs. Some children only cry when hungry. Others cry for a wet diaper, gas, hunger, and affection. You can also subconsciously condition your child to cry for these things, not knowing his/her cues for each need and in turn the child going so long with the need not met that he/she cries for it. This would not be a positive thing to do for you or your child.

Dads seem to be more in tune to when to pick the baby up, ie: when he/she has been crying for 10 minutes. Don't get me wrong, if it weren't for my husband, my 2 year old daughter would still need someone to rock her to sleep and hold her while she slept. But when my 3 day old son was whimpering and I picked him up, my husband looked at me with raised eyebrows, chin down and said, "Are you going to pick him up every time he cries?" to which my response was, "He's 3 days old. You can't spoil a 3 day old" But what happens when he's 6 months old and I'm still picking him up? When will I know to make the transition from every-noise-means-he-needs-me to let-him-wait-and-he'll-learn?

And how will having a 2 year old affect this? Just this morning I let my husband sleep in and therefore had baby Glenn and Genny to care for at the same time. It wasn't that bad, but it was only a few hours and she had a melt down when I changed his diaper because for some reason she thinks it's only her changing table instead of every ones.

I already find myself interacting with Genny at times when Glenn is fussing; trying to hold his pacie in his mouth to keep him pacified while I respond to Genny or read her a book. Does this mean that I'll bypass the mistakes I made with Genny where she was so dependent on me that even my husband couldn't satisfy most of her needs? Or will I make an even bigger mistake by pacifying him in order to do other things only to make him more dependent and me less likely to know what it is he wants, just what will make him happy?

Comments welcomed...

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