A mummy who conscientiously supported her baby to sleep did so like this:
She put baby in bed. When baby cried, she picked her up and soothed her and put her down again. On occasions, she picked her up 20-30 times before baby finally slept. Once she did sleep, mummy did not disturb her even when she sniffled or whined. Baby slept through the night from about 4-5 months.
At 7 months, baby is trying to stand. She does not sit up or crawl. When placed on her tummy, she cries quickly and mummy rolls her to her back and tells me, ‘she doesn’t like it.’
I found it very interesting that mummy did not employ the same conscientious attitude towards helping baby develop strong neck and back muscles for crawling and sitting as she did with baby learning to sleep. For a lack of better words, I think, it is very tiring to be so conscientious about everything.
My special needs background makes me highly ‘sensitive’ to early childhood development.-Movement, attention and language primarily. Every aspect of a child’s development from 0-6 is so equally important that I am horrified by the prospect of not being able to bring myself to return to work for an extensive period of time. I’m very aware how simply exhausting it is to be a 100% parent a 100% of the time. No one expects mummy to be perfect but very often she is expected to be the parent 80% of the time. (I have, and I’m sure you have, observed the opposite as well.)
That is why it is vital that both parents are encouraged to be as involved as possible. If one or the other is the primary income- provider and as a result has less time and experience with the child, then all the more when there is time, they must be encouraged to become involved. Are you the primary care-provider for your young child and would like to empower your partner in being comfortable and confident with providing equal care when you are both around? Consider:
- at a meal with friends, hand the baby to your partner and engage deeply in conversation with the other people or volunteer to do the physical things like getting the high chair or finding the waitress etc. If your child seems unhappy, do not respond until a significant amount of time has passed.- your partner needs the opportunity to feel nervous and then overcome challenges independently with the child as well. This will do amazing things for his/her confidence, and also discourages you becoming the default child-problem-fixer.
- empowering your partner with your children. If your child appears unhappy and cries when in your partner’s care, and that makes you uncomfortable, know that your feelings influence your child’s as well. Giving your child the impression that you trust this other place or person will aid your child to feel equally safe and secure.- This should also be the case when your child first joins a nursery. (Aside: don’t hang around at drop-off. It is very difficult for the child. Talk all you like when you come back to collect him/her.)
- encouraging your partner to self-educate. Perhaps like me, you have a tendency to tell your partner about something you read about babies/ children or say, ‘you should read this,’ attempt looking very serious and like you discovered something, ‘Hey have you got a minute, could you read this and tell me what you think?’ – it works about 50% of the time. I’ve tried it. -several times.
Equal parenting is not only beneficial to the child but also very important to the well-being of a couples’ long-term relationship.