I was recently told that I am spoiling my two and half month old baby. I would love to say that I just smiled and nodded, or even that I replied with some gracious statement saying I would consider the idea and work on it, but no, that would be a lie. Instead, I just laughed and said confidently, “that’s ridiculous.”
Somewhere and somehow, someone decided that holding your baby or responding to her needs would create an unhealthy dependency- that giving a baby what she wants creates a spoiled child.
I do believe that it is possible for a child to be spoiled if a parent indulgently gives the child everything she demands throughout her childhood. I can’t say I won’t struggle with this, although I would like to think I won’t. I am not there yet.
My baby is just shy of three months old. I am no expert but I really believe that a newborn’s needs are the same as her wants. To deprive my child of her needs in the name of preventing a spoiled child is nothing short of neglect. My baby wants to be fed, because she needs to be fed. My baby wants to be held because, sometimes, she needs to be held. My baby cries when she is tired and sometimes wants help getting to sleep because she needs help getting to sleep.
She wants to be loved because she needs to feel loved.
My philosophy as a mom is this: the more my child knows that she is loved, valued, cared for, and provided for, the more she will trust me. The more she trusts me, the easier it will become to discipline her and teach her to obey because she will know that I love her, and trust that I care for her.
Don’t get me wrong, I think toddlers will be toddlers and kids will be kids. I don’t think for a second that developing trust will eliminate the possibility of tantrums. I just think that how we work through those will be a lot easier. I won’t know until I get there.
Here is what I do know: I am the only person that has been given the gift of being a mama to my baby. And you, mama, are the only one who has been given the honor of being a mama to your baby. I fully believe that no one else can parent my child better than me, and no one can parent your child better than you. I also believe there is unique direction for each and every child, and we mamas have to trust our instincts for our children. Sometimes those instincts whisper to us, telling us to seek others for advice, and in those times I am seriously grateful and blessed to have some AH-maze-ing mom friends that will share their frustrations, successes, failures, tips, and tools.
But sometimes those instincts don’t whisper- they yell. They yell loudly at us saying “no, you are right on this one. This is your baby and you know best.”
Parenting is so hard, and it’s so easy to spend time worrying about what everyone thinks or whether or not you should take advice from your best friend, your mother, your mother-in-law, your cousin, or the random lady at the grocery store insisting that your baby is freezing when you know she’s not.
But mamas, trust your instinct and do what’s best for your child.
And as for me, I am going to keep “spoiling” my child.
Because a hungry baby should be fed.
Because a tired baby sometimes needs help getting to sleep.
Because a wet diaper should be changed.
Because a baby should be well loved.
And well loved will look different in different seasons, but for now it looks like giving my baby what she wants.
Because what she wants is what she needs.