Let Babies Be Babies
I had coffee with some mom friends the other day. We were chatting, and one mom confessed that she still swaddled her 4-month-old daughter. A bit later in the conversation, and another mom said she felt really bad that her one-year-old still needed her to put him to bed.
Woah, hold on a minute. Swaddling a 4-month-old? Gee, next thing you know you’ll be swaddling her as a teenager. And needing to put a one-year-old to bed? You are going down a very slippery slope, he’ll be calling you when he’s 30 to sing a lullaby every night.
Sorry for the sarcasm, and I do know that adults in this world don’t get very far unless they can brush their own teeth and feed themselves and manage to get their own pajamas on, but babies are babies. Please, moms, let them be babies.
I’m emotional today because my son just turned two and other than still being in diapers, there’s barely a trace of babyhood about him. He’s becoming a little boy and oh boy, did it go fast.
Becoming independent is so important, but there really is so much time for them to learn it. Babies are babies for about three nanoseconds so don’t rush them through it. Going to sleep seems to be the stick that baby “experts” like to bash parents with most, there’s so many baby books on the market exhorting parents to get baby in her own crib and her own room and fall asleep by herself as soon as possible.
There’s no need to rush a one-year-old to be able to put themselves to bed. Some babies can fall asleep by themselves quite happily. Most can’t, and most really, truly want mom or dad there as they fall asleep. And if you can let go of what the baby manuals are telling you (Dr. Ferber, I Mean You) then if you have the luxury of being able to be there, then you really, truly do want to be there with your baby as she/he falls asleep.It’s one of the most treasured part of my day, holding my son as he falls asleep, and I don’t feel a shred of guilt that I’m putting him to bed.
I know that one day he’ll tell me he’s a big boy, and he doesn’t need me there. I don’t think it will be long before that day will come. And I’ll be so proud, and my heart will break too. So until that day, every night I get to watch him fall asleep is unbelievably precious.
So listen to your heart, and your baby. If it’s clashing with what the baby books tell you, don’t do it. Listen to your wonderful mother’s instinct, and love and adore your amazing, precious baby for what she is – an amazing, precious baby.