I am now starting on the stack of baby books which have been sitting on my night stand. I know that some of the books have very different philosophies than others but I am hoping to better understand some of the methods I have been hearing about (positive and negative). I will try to pull out the things I like or agree with as I am reading. I hope that by the time our little boy arrives we will have some thoughts and plans about how we want to care for him, especially in the early months. Of course, even our most solid ideals are only theoretical. Once he gets here I am sure, because he will no doubt take after us, that he will have his own ideas about what he likes and dislikes and we are open to being flexible as necessary!
I would say that 'Happiest baby' makes a lot of sense to me. It is a book with strategy for the first few months of your baby's life. The philosophy being that infants need time to adjust from the comfort and security of the womb to life in the outside world. This book encourages carrying your baby more often than other philosophies would recommend but it makes sense that that is a comfort to a baby that has been carried around 24/7 for 9 months. It also promotes feeding on demand for those first few months. Basically it recognises that it is impossible to spoil an infant and that at first the most important role that parents have is to be a source of comfort and that discipline can wait until they are at least a few months old!
"As the bible says, "To everything there is a season." I believe disciplining is a very important parental task - but not with young infants. The beginning of the fourth month is the earliest time concerns about accidentally spoiling your baby becomes an issue. However, before four months you have a job that is one hundred times more important than preventing spoiling: your job is nurturing your baby's confidence in you and the world." (Karp 70)
I loved that concept. I have spent a lot of time with little children, and I know that a lot of times parents can underestimate their children's understanding. If this underestimation continues into toddler-hood children can become 'spoiled' but that doesn't happen by offering comfort to a newborn in the first weeks of life. I see that by around four months babies are more capable of soothing themselves to sleep without lots of involvement from adults, and they need to be taught those skills but only when they are old enough to learn them. This seems to line up with Karp's findings.
I have also read some other research about how more strict schedules from birth (not baby initiated) can lead to problems with attachment later in life. The Happiest Baby philosophy seems to provide opportunity to nurture and make a baby's adjustment from womb to world as un-traumatic as possible while promoting healthy attachment. I also enjoyed the chapters at the end of the book describing how to wean infants from this method when they are older.
I recognize each parent makes their own choices regarding what they believe is the best parenting philosophy for their baby. By no means are any posts about the parenting books I am reading meant to be a criticism of any choice a parent has made. This is only my/our personal opinions, but hey, it's my blog so that's what you get. Clearly, this will be our first time at this particular rodeo so we are very open to learning; from books and mostly from people who have been there before us.