Erin - posted on 02/11/2011 ( 98 moms have responded )
I came across this article about how a mother followed her instincts and rejected 'advice' as she cared for her baby.
The article is long so here are a few excerpts :)
Luckily, for my son's sake, I trusted those darn instincts I didn't think I had, and I let him just nurse and nap in my arms whenever he wanted to by day, and nurse and sleep beside me whenever he wanted to at night. Those instincts, however, were not easy to distinguish from messages I had carried since childhood. These were ingrained so deeply that they felt like instincts, yet they were really more like old tapes running over and over, criticizing, judging, and blaming at every provocation. My instincts told me to keep my thoughts to myself. And I learned to do just that, and to let my instincts guide me.
Relieved to find expert opinions that validated my instincts, (15) I concluded that my son was dependent on me because he was supposed to be. Only a caring, predictable environment could help him experience the world as a warm, loving place. The notion of pushing children into independence, I found, stemmed from an age-old belief that babies are born wicked and a parent's job is to break their will and turn them into well-behaved children. I, on the other hand, believe that babies are born precious and learn to behave by the ways in which they are treated.
I felt much less stress as soon as I realized that it was OK for him to be needy, and OK for me to be responsive. If anything was making me anxious and nervous, it was their words. Being responsive felt right--more right than anything I had ever done in my life.
In due course, I realized that if I did not respond immediately to my son's cries for my attention, he would not cry his little head off forever. No, he would eventually give up, convinced that communication is not effective. He would sense that he has no rights, and no idea of what is good for him. He would conclude that he should not be hungry when his body tells him he is, and that he is wrong to feel what he feels.
I also realized that our society has little understanding of newborns, and does not sanction compassion for their needs or feelings. Demand nursing, as I saw it, was no different from caring for a family member who has been rendered powerless. Would we refuse an incapacitated father a meal because it was "not time"? Or leave a paralyzed spouse alone in a room to "cry it out"--checking in every 10 minutes to say, "It's Ok"--without trying to find out what is wrong and doing something about it? If he or she only wanted to be held, would we refuse, for fear of spoiling someone we love? How can anyone claim that legal or religious tenets require us to deny babies sustenance and comfort "in their best interests"?