As a new mom, one thing you’re never short on is advice. If advice and sleep could trade places motherhood would be a breeze. Seriously, I’ve never had so many people tell me how to live my life. Even strangers do it! Yes, thank you, I see our two minute interaction in Target gave you extraordinary insight into my personal life.
One of the biggest criticisms of my parenting is that I hold my baby too much. I am told I’ll spoil her, she’ll never let me put her down, I’ll never get any sleep, I’ll have to carry her to college and so on and so forth. I’ve heard it all. Here’s the thing though. I’ve done my research and you just can’t spoil a baby by holding them too much. It’s not possible.
My daughter spent 9 months in the womb only to be forcefully evicted at 41 weeks and 1 day into this strange world. In the past 7 weeks of her life she’s experienced everything for the first time and she has been adjusting to a world that’s completely foreign to her where no one speaks her language and she doesn’t know anyone.
Her cries are not manipulative gestures designed to steal my life away, but her only method of communication. I know her hunger cries by now, but sometimes I have no idea what her cries are. I only know that they stop when I pick her up and hold her close.
I know that if I was lost and scared I would want someone to hold me. All I can think is that if I do spoil her, I won’t regret it. The same people who tell me not to hold her so much are the same ones who tell me to cherish every moment. They tell me it goes by in the blink of an eye.
The days are long, but the years are short. Before I know it I’m going to have a toddler running around. She’ll want to play and explore and be her own person. I honestly believe that my 13-year-old daughter will not be wanting me to hold her all morning.
I also believe that when people look back on their children as babies they remember the way they felt in their arms, the way they snuggled closer as they fell asleep, the way their babies head smelled, the way their little hand curled around their finger, the way they woke up safe in your arms. You don’t look back and feel nostalgic about listening to your baby cry in their cribs for 45 minutes to teach them how to sleep alone.
One day I am going to blink and she’ll be starting school. So while I can hold her and keep her safe, that’s exactly what I am going to do. You don’t create monsters by loving your baby and meeting their emotional needs. Milk spoils, babies don’t.
Don’t believe me?