Science has always been my wheel house, my comfort zone, my happy place. I thrive off understanding why things work the way they do. There have been a bazillion times when science has contradicted the beliefs I held and I’ve struggled with cognitive dissonance, but at the end of the day science (and instinct and psychology) are what validate and guide my parenting style.
I pride myself in being level-headed and open minded, but I am human and get angry. I can count on one hand how often I share angry rants on Facebook, but this was the most popular one to date so I thought I would give it a more permanent home here.
Human babies are one of the most helpless creatures at birth in the animal kingdom. They are driven by instinct and a staggering amount of neural development happens in the first few months after birth (aka the 4th trimester). And that was the driving force behind my little rant. It was in response to someone who thought her newborn was sinning because his cries were motivated by anger, throwing a tantrum, he was manipulating her and needed to be left alone to cry to be taught a lesson. A newborn. Have you met a newborn? I just can’t.
I need to vent…
Babies do not cry for no reason.
Babies do not manipulate you.
Babies cannot be spoiled.
A crying baby is not sinning.
Babies cry for a reason. Missing YOU is a reason. Missing you is a NEED, not a weakness.
Self-soothing is bullshit. They stop crying because they have given up hope that their caregiver will respond to their only method of communication, crying.
Infants do not throw tantrums.
Parenting does not stop when the sun goes down.
Babies develop critical connections mentally, physically and emotionally when you touch them and respond to them. You are SUPPOSED to hold them and answer their cries.
Please hold your children. Listen to them. Respond to them.
When I share information about these important topics on Attached Parents at Work I am often met with, “I disagree.”, “That’s just your opinion.” “That’s not what it says in the bible.” or (and this is my personal favorite) “Science and research is crap!”
Here’s the truly beautiful thing about science. It’s a truth that always wins out when dueling my cognitive dissonance. A truth that prevents me from taking new
information personally or as a judgment on my past parenting choices. Science is true whether or not you believe in it. Science doesn’t have an agenda. It is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions. It’s a neutral third party. It’s always evolving, moving forward, changing and progressing. We need to set our egos aside so we can grow and learn from it. Our children are worthy of parents who do not allow pride to stand in the way of progress that is in their best interest. That list above, my angry rant, it is research-based information. Frankly, I don’t care if you disagree or can’t find it in the bible, because science.
Look, I know we’ve been conditioned to think babies need to learn independence from the beginning and sleep in their crib in the nursery, but if your gut is screaming at you because that doesn’t feel right, there’s a really good reason for that. Modern parenting isn’t doing our children any favors. It’s certainly more convenient and practical to put them in another room so we can force them to adapt to our adult world as quickly as possible, but babies have a genuine need to be close to their caregivers 24/7. And that need does not end when the sun goes down.
Parenting is hard and there are no vacations. We are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from the minute those babies come earth side. If you are not willing to make the sacrifice(s), perhaps a plant, fish or cat are better options for you.