Family Magazine

Attachment Parenting and Belief in Your Baby's Cries

By Craftycrunchymama
Before I start, I would like to reference you to my first post that explains Attachment Parenting as well as the fact that I certainly do not judge others who don't parent this way. Please keep this in mind while reading. Take what you can use use to help your attachment with your little one to grow daily. Thanks for reading!
Attachment Parenting and Belief in Your Baby's CriesSo far we have talked about the birth bonding aspect of Attachment Parenting as discussed in Dr. Sears' book, The Baby Book . Now we are going to move on to the next topic: belief in your baby's cries.
It takes some work on the part of the caregiver to figure out what baby's cries mean. Subtle tones, a look in the eye, and body language can all play a part in helping to figure out the "what's wrong?" puzzle. It could be something as simple as, "I'm hungry!" or, "I need my diaper changed!". It can also be something more complicated such as: "I am scared because I just heard a noise that was unfamiliar, please hold me so I can feel comforted."
Babies send out what Dr. Sears calls "attachment-promoting behaviors" or "APB's".  These can be the "I'm content and happy" signals: smiles, laughter, a glimmer in the eye, as well as the "I'm unhappy" signals: crying, sucking, rubbing of the eyes, etc. These behaviors draw caregivers to the baby. We are wired that way, especially us mothers. Something chemical happens to us when we hear and see our baby's unhappy (or happy) behavior that pulls us toward them - like a magnet.
We are supposed to go to them and tend to their needs. We are supposed to pick them up and make them feel comforted. This shows them that we are there for them and that we are trying to figure out what they are communicating to us. This is a huge part of attachment in the early months.
It has been said that babies can be spoiled by picking them up when they cry. This is simply untrue. A baby this young cannot manipulate, they are simply using the lungs God gave them to tell you what's on their mind and to get some help!
If you pick your baby up when he cries, you will be amazed how much less stress there is in the home as well as how much you and your baby learn about each other and what each of you need. There will be a mutual respect that happens. Your baby will know that you are responsive and thus will not be quick to scream his little lungs out because he knows you will be there.
How Belief in Your Baby's Cries Works for Us
There is much conflicting information out there regarding what to do when a baby cries. Shortly before I gave birth to Baby J, I read this quote from the Peaceful Parenting article entitled, "Peaceful Parenting: Follow Your Instincts" that forever changed the way I looked at parenting and helped me come to the conclusion that I would pick Baby J up whenever he cried. It said:
"In all my time and effort spent researching the best ways to mother, I have come full circle to realize that in almost all cases, the best choices for the health of children and mothers are the ones you would make if stranded on a deserted island and forced to follow your instincts." ~ Jennifer Coias
Sometimes I don't parent like I am stranded on a deserted island and those are the times I wish I could take back. Being a mother is such a raw experience, I do a lot of research but I ultimately want to end up with a baby that trusts me and is in-tune with me. I want to shut out all of the noise and just "be".
So I pick him up when he cries. I fix it and feel proud. I never let him cry it out and I don't want to.
As he is getting older, I let him try to fix things on his own. If he is in the "whine" stage, I leave him. He sometimes whines for a few seconds - gets distracted - then goes on playing. That also makes me proud!When he was first born, however, I picked him up constantly. It was good for us.
I'm not going to lie and say this is easy. It is sometimes hard and can drive a person crazy. Some days I am holding him ALL DAY and by the time Daddy J gets home, I just need a break. That's normal and that's OK.
I just hope that my baby knows that I have tried my best to decipher his "APB's". I try to fix things when I can and I want him to know that he can trust me. It is a lot of work at the beginning, but I hope to see it pay off in the future with a trusting, mother-son relationship. I hope this lasts through the teen (and adult) years, so that when the really big problems come along, he knows that I will do everything in my power to help him find a solution.

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