COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR BABY
BW starts by reminding parents that the baby, even not very interactive for first few months, is not a part of you, not a mini-you or a material object but is a completely different person of his/her own. One might ask, “yeah, of course! what kind of an ignorant statement is this?”. However especially during those first months when the only thing the babies do is sleep, wake up, drink milk, vomit and go back to sleep, parents tend to ignore that each little ones has their own little personalities from birth. We might think the communication is a one way. However, from day one it is reciprocal. In fact, it is very important to communicate to our babies verbally what we do, where we are to our babies to get them ready.
For example, when we are getting ready to put on clothes, even when they are newborn it is very important to tell them what we are going to do next, just like “I am going to put this arm through first”, “and next we will take off your pants and change your diaper” etc. You have to consider, you would feel, if, while you are sitting and resting contently, someone came without saying a word, picked you up, took you to another room, pull our arms and legs, change our clothes.
I had mentioned in my earlier post that you should not make negative comments about your baby, when you are with your baby, based on my understanding and belief that no matter how little your baby might be, (s)he hears you and understands you. Regardles of your child’s age, thinking that (s)he does not hear you or understand what you are saying, making such comments as, “my baby is very gassy”, “my baby doesn’t have appetite at all”, “he or she does not listen to me”, “my little owl does not sleep at all” as if you are gossiping behind him/her, will reinforce these traits in his/her mind as well as yours.
BW also recommends that from the point your baby is born, you have to regard him/her as a completely different person whom you need to observe and listen to. The first weeks, sleepish, behind a heavy mist, I tried to get better at this. Obviously, I didn’t magically become a baby whisperer myself, but it helped. Even though all books and TV programs mentioned that once you start listening to your baby, you will identify different tones of crying depending on what they need, I did not notice any difference whatsoever for a long time. On the other hand, trying to create a routine upon BW’s recommendation helped me identify what my son might need at the time he cried (see Cry 1,2 and 3 below). I learned not to pick up the baby to breastfeed every time he cried.
My observation began with logging breastfeeding, sleeping times, changing diaper times. I walked around with log sheets created in excel. Using this, we established a routine in the first month or month and a half.
We started with a cycle of 3 hours in the first 3 months and then 4 hours in the 4th month. (See explanations below) At 9-10 months, we stopped feeding at night. I don’t even remember when he dropped to 2 naps and then a single nap a day. Without waiting for a certain date or month based on a book rule, I waited for my baby’s signs.
KEY WORD: DAILY ROUTINE
BW states that though every baby is different from another, we can group baby personalities (or types) under 5 main categories. My son fell under the “spirited” category – even son I read “Raising Your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka which was extremely helpful. BW explains how to adapt methods according to these personalities.
The biggest gift BW gives is “EASY METHOD“ (Eating, Activity, Sleeping and Your Time). It is a cycle of eating, playtime, sleeping and time we need for our selves. With this method, I WAS ABLE TO PLAN FOR:
1- Eating / Breastfeeding time (Cry 1) : Figure out roughly when my son would be hungry and how much breastfeeding he would need and whether he is full once this is over.
2- Activity time: (Cry 2) To find how long to keep him up, how long to play, when my son loses interest, when to reduce activities, calm him down and get him ready to go into sleep mode, when to come back home if we were out.
3- Sleeping times: (Cry 3) How he is going to fall asleep, how long he would sleep and guess when he would wake up.
4- My time: Once my baby is asleep, how much time I had, if I had time to go out, if I had time to do things in the house, or I would take a nap with him.
This was the best gift. Planning my baby’s daily routine and as well as mine and what we could do every day. This resulted in a peace of mind. Not having to constantly worry whether my baby is hungry or full, or being able to take a shower without worrying whether my son would wake up in the middle of it was a bliss. From here on, it was an easy ride.