Thursday, February 4, 2010

Striking A Balance.

I wish I could tell you that this is a post about how I've found a happy medium when it comes to caring for Ava, but rather it's one asking you, dear readers, how you've found/are finding yours.

You see, I find myself constantly conflicted. Am I holding her enough? Am I holding her too often? If I let her cry for 30 seconds while I finish going to the bathroom, will she feel abandoned and become insecure? Should I allow her to cry just for a moment to make sure she can handle not always experiencing immediate gratification? You would think as a child development major I would know all the answers, and regarding the research, I'm pretty well versed. I actually assisted a very prominent attachment researcher in her lab my senior year, and wrote on some of her papers. BUT, sometimes the practical application of this information oresents a conflict, and leaves me wondering what I should do.

Just this morning, I had her sitting next to me in her favorite pillow while I pumped. She was half dozing/half watching me pump with the same why-is-that-thing-stealing-my-milk look she always gives. When I finished, I faced the same dilemma I do every day. Should I pick her up and hold her, or leave her in the pillow? I wasn't doing anything that would require me to have my arms free, and the way she looked at me with those big blue-brown eyes made me feel like she was wishing to snuggle. But then again, shouldn't I let a calm baby lie?

So I ask - how do you strike a good balance to where you can feel good about what you're doing? Or is part of motherhood never feeling 100% confident?


  1. The last sentence...Marianne is 7 months old, and I STILL worry about those exact things. The first time Joe made me let her cry herself to sleep, I laid in bed and sobbed along with her and begged him to let me get her.

    He didn't, and after an agonizing 10 minutes...she went to sleep.

    I worried for sure that she'd feel abandoned, that she'd wonder where Mommy was and why wasn't Mommy coming to get her. I picked her up ALL the time...or I'd be angry at Joe for NOT picking her up.

    It took me a long time to learn: If she's content, let her be...if she's crying and there's nothing immediately wrong, then it's not selfish to finish using the bathroom, or finish eating dinner, or put one more dish in the dishwasher.

    My rule is I let her cry for 10 minutes. If after the 10 minutes she's not somewhat calmer, I check the diaper, I make sure she's not hungry or bored.

    Most of the time what I find is she's bored versus insecure...I pick her up, she wiggles to get down.

    So, do your best not to worry...she knows she's loved. She knows you'll take care of her...and thus, she'll be secure in that even if she happens to be unhappy at that moment about something else.


  2. Hey! I'm not sure why you thought to invite me to view your blog, but I'm honored that you did.

    I remember those early days of motherhood well. We didn't strike any type of balance until our daughter was about 8 weeks old... and then, it was only a VERY sketchy version of "balance". It took until about 14-16 weeks before there was really any "rhythm" to our days.

    I also worried that I was holding my daughter too much-- and then, at times, not enough. It's tough to know what's right. I have a friend who NEVER holds her child... NEVER. It's absurd. Then there was my husband and I-- we fought to hold G. I don't think there's a right way; there's just YOUR way. You have to trust your instincts. And I promise, those instincts will improve as you gain experience!

    Confessions From A Working Mom

  3. I've read and heard from many sources that you absolutely cannot spoil a newborn. Once a day I make sure to snuggle with Jack and let him sleep on my chest. The others times though, I try to put him down so he gets used to sleeping on his own. I don't like to hear him cry but I can tell if he's hungry or just wanting attention. You've got to take care of yourself and go to the bathroom and eat. I try to make my sandwich for lunch when he's napping or sitting quietly in the bouncer, even if it's only 11. But if I'm not done and he starts to fuss, I finish because I know it's important that I eat. I can eat holding or feeding him, but I have to have the food ready to eat first! I've also worried that if he cries and I don't come right away, will he think I don't care. But I also don't want him to think that I will come running at any little sound. I want him to be able to soothe himself back to sleep, but I also want to be able to soothe him if he needs me. So I guess I'm not really saying anything that will help you, but I understand where you're coming from. Sometimes it's me that needs the comforting and snuggling more than him! But as long as we love them and meet their needs, they will be just fine. And remember, you can't spoil a newborn!

  4. You know, every single kid is different. I am all about CIO because, well, for a mom's sanity sometimes it just has to be done. Now, my daughter is NOT a patient person. From day one she demanded my attention and I couldn't even pee without her screaming bloody murder. She hated being put down but had to be standing at all times, NOT laid back. Connor, on the other hand, will chill and be happy for a time being while laying in my arms however both my kids are just not huge snugglers and well, end up standing and jumping in my lap at some point as a baby.

    With that being said, if you feel the urge to pick that sweet baby girl up, then do it. She will ONLY be this tiny once and this was something I did not care to think about with my first. All I worried about was when the next milestone was and when that first birthday was. Connor is growing up faster than Hannah did it seems and I am trying to hold him, kiss him, snuggle him more...simply because I can. Some days, I don't want to, and some days it's all I can do to put his sweet smelling booty down.

    I don't think there is a right or wrong way to parent a kid and they are all so freaking different that it's hard to tell. I can tell you this though; I am still just as clueless the second time around as I was the first that doesn't get any better unfortunately!

  5. ok, here is the scoop after having 4 of you. EVERY baby is different. hold ava when you want to. if she is calm and fine otherwise and you want to hold your daughter its fine. there are no rules for motherhood, if there was i would write a book and make a million. it is fine to let her cry while you eat the last bites of your dinner or finish pumping or for goodness sake while you pee. that baby knows that you love her and in the next few months will figure out that sometimes she just has to wait a minute. dont feel guilty when you have to do something for you and she isnt happy for five minutes. and certainly trust your instincts. they are only little once so dont worry about spoiling her.


Related Posts with Thumbnails