Being a new parent is tough. You have a long list of things to learn quite fast, ranging from decoding your baby’s cries to understanding their sleeping, eating, and even toilet patterns. Parenting advice from those who have been there before can, therefore, be godsend.
From our baby’s early days, we are showered with parenting advice from friends, relatives and health professionals. One common (and perhaps controversial) parenting advice out there is to carry newborns less so that they are less spoiled and more independence. The belief here is that the baby will somehow learn to fend for themselves, and in the long run the mother will have more freedom to do things like house chores. Ultimately, the mother will find it easier to go back to work.
This parenting tip sounds more like taught detachment rather than independence. As parents, our duties are to care for, protect, and bond with our children. If we spend less time carrying and cuddling our babies, like this parenting advice suggests, we will certainly struggle to achieve these duties. Thankfully, many new parents refuse to distance themselves from their babies for the sake of independence and freedom.
The concepts of “parents’ freedom” and “baby’s independence” are alien for two reasons. First, most parents know that they will lose some freedom when they have children. Second, baby’s independence is redundant as a concept because babies are by nature dependent on us! So, you should not jeopardise your mental health or your child’s well-being to seek “baby independence” and an elusive freedom. If anything, these two concepts reinforce and ingrain individualism in our society.
Another thing we should always remember is that we can have a very different mindset from those who give us parenting tips. And that’s OK. Some people, for instance, believe that “babies are manipulative from the moment they are born”. So, they advocate for “paying less attention to babies”. This is frankly ambiguous and infuriating, and it has no scientific ground!
The first months of a baby’s life are very important as they learn about our ways. Parental input is therefore crucial to ensure that these months are enjoyable and successful for all. In the grand scheme of things, we should all remember that we have only got a short time to carry our little babies as much as we like. So, why not make the most of it instead of worrying about what others may say or think. Every parent should really enjoy the earliest and most precious times with their baby.
What’s certain is that children truly start their journey towards independence when they can talk and understand us as well as the world around them. To all parents out there, stick to your guts and do what’s best for your baby.