Baby Wise Parenting: Wise parents who know their babies

At 1 A.M. last night Gideon woke up crying inconsolably. I tried to feed him, but he was not interested. He went back to sleep and repeated the same pattern twice before the thought came to me that maybe Gideon was not hungry. I’m slow, I know. He did not want to be held, he did not want to be in his crib. Gideon did not know what on earth he wanted, all he could express was that he was not content. The poor little guy was so sleepy, and could not be comforted. Finally, in a desperate attempt to calm him down I got him out of his crib for a snuggle in the rocking chair. As soon as I lifted him, I knew it. His body was radiating dry heat and his little head was hot against my cheek. Gideon was also limp with exhaustion from lack of sleep, and just wanted to lay his head on my shoulder and pass out. He had a little fever of 100.9. Nothing to call the doctor about, but I just felt so guilty for  not noticing sooner.

I decided to let his smart little body do its job, and at about 4 A.M. I chucked all the sleep training no-no’s out the window, and brought my sweet little baby to bed with me. Gideon instantly relaxed, loosened his grip on the pacifier letting it dangle from his lips, and collapsed into a deep sleep. I just lay there staring at him. We both slept peacefully until 8 A.M.

All he wanted was to be in bed with me.

I’ll be the first to admit that as a new – oftentimes insecure – mother, and in an attempt to do what’s best for Gideon, I’ve ended up following some theory or belief to the T only to discover over and over that my instinctual reactions to Gideon’s cries or behaviors will not quiet down. Even if a desired action or behavior is achieved through some approach, I still only feel successful or like I’ve done my motherly duty if I do what feels right over what the experts tell me to do.

In most aspects of life “it just felt right” would be considered pretty insubstantial proof that whatever you said or did was indeed right. And of all things to justify, parenting and child rearing are two things that you’d think would require practices that are evidence-based or backed by some pretty meaty quantitative research. But God made the parent-child connection to be a relationship where patterns and statistics cannot apply.

It has taken me almost 7 months of loving Gideon and feeling connected to him in a way that I can’t describe, to realize that we really need each other. He needs me to be there for him, and to teach him that his cries and needs matter. I need him to know that they do.

So take what you read, what you’re told, whatever methods you decide to stand for, and see them for what they are: things that there are a time and place for, interesting, at times groundbreaking and useful when you’re at your wits end … but more often than not, completely irrelevant. Because nothing and no one can read or interpret your baby like you can. And your baby can’t be comforted by anything or anyone like you do.

Here’s to your mad innate parenting skills!


6 thoughts on “Baby Wise Parenting: Wise parents who know their babies

  1. Connie October 7, 2013 / 9:03 AM

    This is so true, Elina. No one knows a little baby better than the caring parents. When I taught childbirth classes years ago, I always encouraged parents to follow their instincts. As a nurse working with parents, I am now on the listening side and again stress to parents to listen to what their baby is telling them, that their communication with their child is far superior to anything we can see. Subtle changes may be overlooked by medical personnel, but parents like you know their babies better than anyone else. I have seen parents catch things early, serious things, because they listened to their baby and their gut. I believe you are right, it is all part of God’s plan…this is far beyond science. God tunes us in to our babies…that is one of the strongest connections of love in this world. Gideon is blessed having you and Daniel.
    Love these other posts…they understand.
    Hope I did not post this multiple times…kept losing my note!

    • imelina October 20, 2013 / 8:47 PM

      Connie, knowing you, you’d be a blessing, comforting and encouraging nurse for any laboring parents. I’m sure you’ve impacted so many of them!

  2. Marlene Copeland October 7, 2013 / 12:58 AM

    It seems like there aren’t many subjects that bring more diverse opinions from experts and lay people alike than parenting. Parenting a newborn in the first year may just top that list.

    As a person who believes very strongly in instincts, that they are God-given, I have never listened to all the researchers findings as gospel. I may consider what they say, but never displace my own intuition with their findings. I am more interested in knowing what other moms have done, gathering info/options and making my own decisions.

    I learned early on to shield myself from well-meaning friends and family members who offered abundant opinions. I stood my ground and never looked back. I surrounded myself with others who felt the same. We had a bond, and it made it easier.

    When you reach the stage where your kids are adults and on their own it is easy to look back and know things you could have done differently. That is inevitablly human. I can say this. I never regret all the nights our kids slept with us, all the hours I held them, all the days together as they were growing up. I like who they are today. I like their hearts. I don’t miss the career I gave up. In the end, it is family and relationships that matter the most to me.

    On a side note: in looking back I wish I had had this:

    • imelina October 20, 2013 / 8:45 PM

      I’m so glad that you figured out early on to follow your God-given instinct to parent your kids! You know how much I love Andrea especially 🙂 Thanks for raising her to be as wonderful as she is!

  3. amyrob October 7, 2013 / 12:12 AM

    Have you heard of the book Spirit-Led Parenting: From fear to freedom in baby’s first year? This is the basic premise of the book. It’s an incredibly empowering read especially when you’ve reaching that point of realizing that YOU know your sweet baby better than anyone. Love this post ❤

    • imelina October 20, 2013 / 8:43 PM

      Thanks for the book recommendation amyrob! I will definitely be checking out your blog. Sorry for the late response.


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