From the moment people learn that you’re pregnant, unsolicited advice is inevitable and it doesn’t get any better once the baby is born.
People, most often women funnily enough, of all generations and many of which are mothers themselves (which makes it all the more baffling) are always very ready to practically impose their opinions on you, telling you what you should or shouldn’t do, feel, say, think… It never ends.
One of the most frustrating things I’ve been told repeatedly since having my son, mostly by older generation women, while I’m lovingly cradling my son, is the term : “ħa ddarrih fl-idejn”*. And I’m here to express how angry that makes me, and why.
*For my English speaking followers, this translates loosely to ‘you’re going to get the baby used to being in your arms’ – with negative connotations of course.
For starters, my baby lived inside me for 9 months. All he knew was the sound of my voice, my heart, and the swooshing of everything that surrounded him. When babies are born into this world, they are shocked and have to adapt to this new life outside the womb. Surprise surprise, being comforted by the one person they know best will obviously help them through all of that.
Now while some babies might gain some sort of independence a little faster, there are others that require a little more comfort – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Either way, a baby’s only way of communicating, especially in those first few months, is by crying. And what’s a mother’s job? To tend to those cues, find out what’s causing distress in her child, and provide the comfort they need. Be it a feed, a nappy change, or indeed, a cuddle.
There are particular instances (which in my opinion take up pretty much the entirety of a baby’s day) where holding your baby or tending to their needs seems to be frowned upon, for some reason I cannot begin to fathom.
Rocking them to sleep or holding them as they do, picking them up when they cry, holding them while they’re awake… None of these things spoil a baby. Because – newsflash – it’s impossible to spoil a baby. What is possible, however, is triggering somewhat unresolvable emotional and developmental damage in a baby by not responding to their cues.
I spend literally 24 hours a day with my son. It’s a choice I was happy and blessed to make, and it also allows me to be the one who’s most likely to know what he needs and when he needs it. So not only am I his preferred person for comfort, but I’m also the one who can provide it fastest, in most cases.
Aside from that, there is also much evidence-based research that proves all of this, and I personally have taken a course to learn about the effects that the relationship between parent and child and the responsiveness to the baby’s cues have on their development in the first months and years of life.
Now I don’t judge any other parents and their ways (or at least I try not to but hey I’m human) but I trust that I am raising and responding to my son in the best way I possibly can, following not only the ample research I’ve done, but also my own instincts, which I tend to give precedence over anything else most times.
So if you ever feel the need to tell a parent what to do and how to do it, even if with the best of intentions, perhaps just don’t say anything. 🙂
Babies need to be held, cradled, moved around with, comforted – this literally affects their brain development and sets them up for success. How providing them that can be considered a bad thing goes beyond me.
And to all the parents out there holding and comforting their little ones – you’re doing a great job. Don’t let anyone steal the joy of the special bond you have with your baby. No one can take that away from you.
It may be tiring, inconvenient, and frustrating at times, and sure, I might have to eat late, reheat my coffee, change plans around, and sacrifice my back – but it’s part of the beautiful parcel that comes with motherhood. And I know I’ll sure as hell miss holding him for comfort when he no longer needs me to. So damn right, I’m going to hold my baby. ❤️
That’s all from me for now. I’m off to give my son a cuddle.
Until next time,