AIBU to be having a bit of a wobble about my mothering 'skills'?

(57 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:32:44

I have a 17wo DD, I am by my own admission fairly PFB about her blush but you only get the chance once, right?

I'm not a follower of any child-rearing method (at least not deliberately!) - not to in any way denigrate anyone who is (eg a Gina Ford fan etc) but I'm just sort of muddling my way through and relying on (what I thought was acceptable enough) instinct.

I instinctively feel that, at 17w, I should respond to DD's every need (even if half the time I have no clue what that need actually is...) ie if she cries, which she does quite a lot, I try to solve the problem and cheer her up.

This w/e I've started to worry that I'm doing too much in this regard. I've had comments from in-laws and even (though not as a criticism, just an observation) from my very lovely DH, that I am doing 'too much'. In-laws think I shouldn't hurry to her when she cries etc.

She's only 17w, I thought I was doing the right thing and it certainly felt right. But I am not the most confident and I doubt myself a lot and now I am doing just that.

Can any of you offer reassurance that I'm not screwing everything up? That I am not 'spoiling' DD by trying to meet her every need? I'm assuming that once she's getting older and has words etc, I can ease up on trying to give her everything she needs. eg I don't remotely intend to let her just 'have' things, possessions etc, because as a toddler she suddenly wants them. I don't want to spoil her. I just want her to be secure right now.

I feel as if maybe I am making her more clingy and in need of me? That is what my SIL has said implied this w/e. Is she right? AIBU?

I have definitely thought that maybe I am a bit too full-on sometimes in not wanting DD to be bored etc. I do a LOT of playing, chatting, singing, cuddling. Probably too much; but then I am PFB one of those all-or-nothing people with everything in life. I am aware of this and I am very careful to make sure I do give DD proper down-time, I soothe her to sleep as soon as she looks tired rather than (as my mum does!) constantly jangling toys at her and talking until the very moment she drops off.

I sort of feel as if I am doing it all wrong somehow now sad and achieving quite the opposite of what I wanted, which is to make DD self-confident and at ease in the world.

Of course, there is always the chance that I am over-thinking this too much... blush

I've just had a bit of a rotten w/e with critical in-laws and am having a wobble, I suppose.

nethunsreject Sun 07-Jul-13 22:36:07

My goodness you are doing it all RIGHT! You sound like a fabulous mum. You can't spoil a baby. Responding to her quickly now will make her more secure. Parenting - you're doing it right wink

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jul-13 22:36:21

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

You can't spoil a baby.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jul-13 22:36:55

X-post grin

DearlyDepartedMrsFinch Sun 07-Jul-13 22:37:06

You are NOT doing it wrong. You know her best and it sounds like you are an absolutely great job and perhaps overthinking somewhat smile

mrsjay Sun 07-Jul-13 22:37:16

she is a teeny tiny baby she needs you go to her but try and not panic when you lift her IYSWIM some babies just cry because they can , I am sure she is ok and you are doing a grand job and Id be cranky if somebody was jangling something infront of me when I was trying to sleep

emeraldgirl1 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:39:42

Thank you! I have honestly sat here all afternoon getting myself into a stupid state about DD still yelling for me when she is 18 5 or 6 and me dropping everything to go and get her a favourite toy or a glass of water or whatever... that is what my SIL has made me feel I am setting myself up for!

Hassled Sun 07-Jul-13 22:40:08

You sound like a lovely mother who will end up with a secure, confident child who knows that her needs will be taken seriously and that she is loved. Keep doing what you're doing.

My general rule of parenting is that you're doing the right thing if you're mostly happy and your children are mostly happy. That's all you can hope for, isn't it?

You cannot spoil a baby. You sound lovely. I had the same wobble when DD2 was tiny, shes 8 months and I am still ignoring people telling me about rods for my back.

If she needs you, go to her. Follow your instincts, they are there for a reason!

Wigeon Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:04

Google 'Dr Sears' and 'attachment parenting'. Think that will help you put into words what you are doing. Also has lots of explanation about why your approach isn't 'creating a rod fir your back', spoiling your baby etc etc smile

tobytoes Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:16

My baby is 11 months and I still tend to her every cry and whimper and she is a very happy secure little girl. I wouldnt say she is spoilt or clingy or anything bad because of the way Ive been with her. Enjoy every second and dont listen to anyone telling you your doing wrong,if it feels right and natural then do it.

queenofthepirates Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:20

No such things as too much cuddling and kissing. Any concerns, talk to the HV. You're doing a super job xxx

emeraldgirl1 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:41:53

Yes, rods for backs!!!! That's exactly what I've been told!!!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Sun 07-Jul-13 22:42:01

Ignore, sounds like you are doing really well smile

There will, obviously, be times when you can't go to her right away though and you shouldn't beat yourself up about that either.

emeraldgirl1 Sun 07-Jul-13 22:42:34

Thanks Wigeon will look that up smile

WilsonFrickett Sun 07-Jul-13 22:43:45

You are doing absolutely the right things. The only skill you have yet to master is called 'the smile and ignore'. Use it at will for everyone who tries to tell you what to do!

The only slight note of caution from your post is that DH has some concerns too - be careful your 'all or nothing' approach doesn't freeze him out, and make sure he has enough opportunities to sing and play (and indeed change and burp) the baby too.

TarkaTheOtter Sun 07-Jul-13 22:44:55

Tell them where to stick the rod.

formicadinosaur Sun 07-Jul-13 22:49:52

Can't spoil a baby. They just need love and attention And sleep. She will feel secure and well loved and eventually she will develop her own space away from you quite happily without it being forced and stressful.

ILs sound quite old fashioned 1970's in their approach.

steppemum Sun 07-Jul-13 22:49:54

you can't spoil a baby!

At the moment she needs to learn that she is secure and safe, and responding to her cries does that.

She will turn into a happy secure toddler who is able to be adventurous because she feels secure.

On the other hand, if you are on the loo and she does cry for a minute, it really isn't going to damage her.

I found that there came a time when I knew my babies we more aware of what was going on, and I responded a bit differently, but that evolved as baby grew, and was certainly not at 17 weeks!

GoldiChops Sun 07-Jul-13 22:50:44

Doing it right! Trust me, I know these things. I'm a nanny with many years experience, cared for lots of newborns. Children change, and so does your parenting and how you react to them- one day you'll be deciding whether curfew is 9pm or 10pm, amounts of pocket money etc. All things you wouldn't need to look at now! Worrying that how you react now will not change over the years is unnecessary. When your DD is a toddler she'll behave differently, communicate differently, have different needs- and you will adapt to meet them.

You're raising your baby in a secure, loving environment while at the same time meeting your own need to do what feels right. Ignore the comments and do your own thing, everyone is an 'expert'. Do what feels right, 99% of the time that is right.

littleginger Sun 07-Jul-13 23:00:20

I had the exact same advice and it is all crap. Its very hard to realise this at the time because the people giving the advice seem so much more experienced. I had the same wobble but i couldnt change what i was doing as it just wasnt me. These are babies not dogs.

Youre doing a great job. My dd is 7 months old almost and i still get told to do silly things which i ignore. I know that my ddis likely to want her own independence and lose any clinginess once she is more mobile. If that doesnt happen then ill encourage it when the time is right and in my own way. You just cant spoil a baby so dont worry about it. What a lucky baby x

apatchylass Sun 07-Jul-13 23:02:16

OP, you're doing what comes naturally to you as a parent, so it's right. (IMHO, it's right anyway. You can't spoil a baby. If they cry and you meet their needs then they will trust you and grow contented. It's a natural response from someone with a strong mothering instinct.

Throughout their lives, but especially during the baby and pre-school years, people from everywhere will tell you you're doing it wrong and that they only mean well when they tell you to do everything completely differently from the way that you have discovered works for you and your baby. Ignore, ignore, ignore. You know best. So long as you and your child are happy with the way you are caring for her, then you are 100% on track, whatever anyone else thinks.

mumofweeboys Sun 07-Jul-13 23:08:17

Have a chat with your dh and find out what he means by too much, perhaps he needs to be more involved ect

Drhamsterstortoise Sun 07-Jul-13 23:22:20

You are doing what feels right for you and your baby.I was exactly like this with my first and am the same with my second.The only difference is that this time people know they can keep their advice to themselves.I've heard the rod for your own back thing too and it's a load of bull.My older dd is very secure,happy,confident and independent.I grew up in a family where no affection was shown and am very insecure.You cannot spoil a child with love and affection.It doesn't make sense.Its what comes naturally-why go against it.You sound like a lovely mum.Its not to do with you being a first time mum either although peoples comments may make you feel this way .Enjoy all the cuddles and kisses.Its such a wonderful time!

Lutrine Sun 07-Jul-13 23:35:13

Emeraldgirl, I could have written your post myself about my 9 week old DD, I feel the same, I also constantly get relatives questioning whether I do know what's wrong if she cries ("no, she's not tired, look at her eyes", "oh, I'll rock her for you, I'll get her to sleep, she can't be hungry so soon") and end up really doubting myself. One relative even told us we were spoiling her by letting her sleep on our chests when she was 2 days old!! I know I'm probably being pathetic but I'm in tears reading all the lovely responses on here. Sorry, least helpful post ever!!

MummytoKatie Sun 07-Jul-13 23:37:41

Actually that is an officially parenting method. It is called "The muddling through method". I invented it 3 years ago and would have published a book on it and made millions but I've been a bit busy raising dd. (A problem Gina Ford doesn't have!)

Joking aside I think that most of us are doing this sort of thing.

One book I really liked was called "The No Cry baby sleep solution" (or something like that) by Elizabeth Pantley.

I know you didn't mention sleep stuff but what I liked about the book is that it gave a list of possible things you can do to improve your child's sleep and said you could use as many or few as worked for you. So many of the books imply that if you don't do everything exactly as said in the book then some (unspecified but terrible) thing will happen.

MrsMook Sun 07-Jul-13 23:53:02

Do it the way that suits you and DD. Every parent/ baby combination is unique and instinct is a powerful thing.

DS2 is 12wks I just "know" when to respond to him and how. Sometimes DS1's (2.6) needs will clash at that moment and I need to prioritise which DC to attend to first. There are no rules, just what is right for that moment.

Many mums today place more importance on baby's needs than routines like recent generations. DS2 has been snuggled happily on me and cluster feeding this evening. He won't be ruined, he will sleep on his own happily when I go to bed. Grandmas all over will be tutting needlessly.

fabergeegg Mon 08-Jul-13 00:06:34

You sound like a perfect mum. My little girl is almost two and I've gone through this as well. The one thing I've found really helpful is this. As you watch your DD and get to know her facial expressions, you will be able to tell when she's listening/interested/annoyed or whatever. Try to breathe slowly at those times and really watch her. Imagine she's turning up like a long lost relative coming through the Arrivals door at Heathrow - that moment before the madness, when you make eye contact. They look at you, you look back again. Recognition! I firmly believe it's impossible to get it too wrong if you're doing that bit right - all your relational skills kick in at that moment and genuine smiles/chat/etc are triggered, if only for a moment. If you are watching and listening this carefully, slowing yourself down and 'turning up', I think your DD will have problem eliciting exactly what she needs from you. My rather non-relational DH found this a bit of an epiphany and is nothing short of amazed by the way our DD has always known when he's really taking time to look at her, and when he's just pretending to look (but actually waiting for the moment he can look away again).

In a very short time, you will not get a moment's peace. Pace yourself. Enjoy her. Also enjoy books while you still can.

fabergeegg Mon 08-Jul-13 00:07:32

argh 'have no trouble eliciting what she needs from you'

littleginger Mon 08-Jul-13 00:09:40

But grandma knows best mrsmook! wink Your dc would be better if being starved for 4 hourly intervals and no one attending to her during the screams!

Op and a pp you will be as cynical as me about the old methods once your dc are 6 months. I wish i had a time machine to tell myself to stop worrying when i was at your stages. I hope you can now both just enjoy your dc and being a mum and ignore any naysayers.

BeaWheesht Mon 08-Jul-13 00:24:24


However, with ds I panicked if he had to cry for a second and I felt like a failure if he wouldn't stop crying because I couldn't fix it for him, I was also, in retrospect, guilty of owe stimulating him at times.

With dd I couldn't rush to her every time she whined but always went as quick as possible just not to the detriment of everything else iyswim? Also sometimes she cried and cried and I focused more on just comforting her than tryin to get her to stop if that makes sense?

MammaTJ Mon 08-Jul-13 06:01:42

You are being a perfect parent! Your baby needs you, not wants you at this age. I have three children, all very different but all secure in their mums love and confident in the outside world!

mynameisnotmichaelcaine Mon 08-Jul-13 06:11:17

I was exactly the same and, trust me, both of mine get themselves a glass of water. And often one for me too smile Smile, ignore, carry on smile

neontetra Mon 08-Jul-13 06:20:46

When my mom (and many others like her) had her babies in the mid-late 70s she was explicitly told to feed only every four hours, 20 mins on each side then stop, to move baby out of her room straight away, etc. So she found my demand feeding method incomprehensible, she.can't believe I haven't "sleep trained"dd, etc etc. Because it is hard to abandon everything you were taught. Just as if, in 35 years time, my dd has her own baby and puts it on a strict feeding routine, leaves it to cry etc, as recommendations have changed again, I will find that hard!
OP, I think what you are experiencing is very common. Try to ignore - you sound like a great mum.

exoticfruits Mon 08-Jul-13 06:25:39

Don't let them undermine you- go with your instinct. Why would you not 'meet her needs'?
I am afraid that you will get lots of unwanted advice from now on, although it is definitely worse as babies.
Perfect smiling, nodding and changing the subject.
I would however have a chat to your DH.

Annakin31 Mon 08-Jul-13 06:33:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lavenderloves Mon 08-Jul-13 06:50:32

I was exactly the same with my first. My mil would say "she can wAit, leave her "etc i ignored her.
I was totally in tune with DD and adored her.

She is now five and the most confident, assertive child in her class.

Let you child lead, you might need to worry about clinginess in a few years time. By which time it can easily be ironed out.

My second baby was way more clingy and i still hadn't left her at 2. When i did leave her (2.2m) she was ready. She is confident and happy.

Dozens of people said i should leave them, break them etc, they were wrong. It's crazy that people think a small child or baby should be away from mum for the greater good. Apes keep their young attached for years.

Secure happy children are allowed to set the pace, not left to cry or stressed.

redcaryellowcar Mon 08-Jul-13 06:53:02

Sounds like you are a perfect mum, I think one of the biggest challenges of parenting is politely ignoring other peoples often unsolicited views!

littlestressy Mon 08-Jul-13 06:59:04

One of the best pieces of advice my mum gave me was "babies cry, they don't have any other way to communicate yet, so they cry"
Basically what she meant was crying is normal and it is also normal and important to respond to that cry because your baby wants to tell you something.
You're doing a great job.

merrymouse Mon 08-Jul-13 07:09:30

No, you are doing exactly the right thing.

I do think tension between relatives and parents is at its worst with a PFB baby. Once children start talking they can say what they want, so it isn't so up for discussion, and with later children you will be more confident (ish - nobody is ever completely confident about their parenting...) and there will be less focus on each child.

This really is a case of keep calm and carry on.

Also remember that people often have rather foggy memories of what its like to have a baby. My youngest is 6 and I would be a bit thrown if suddenly put in charge of a baby. Give it another 20-30 years and I will know nothing!

Dorris83 Mon 08-Jul-13 07:27:43

I have a 12 week old baby and I'd he cries, I try to make it better! Why wouldn't you?!

This concept that lavendar talks about from her MIL really baffles me; 'she can wait, leave her'. Fair enough if you can't get to the baby for a valid reason, but if you can, why wouldn't you?!

I'm also subscribing to the 'muddling through' technique and I think I'll stick to it for now.

I'm lucky my DS' grandparents are all supportive but I Di get a little peeves with the 'oh he cant be hungry again' whilst try hold onto him and try to soothe him with other methods. Just hand him to me, I'll feed him and he'll be happy!

But it's hard when you're challenged, I can understand why you're shaken. I suggest that you arm yourself with some responses that reinforce your beliefs when you are challenged: just be prepared to calmly say things like 'We find this works for DD', 'isn't it interesting that all children are different' etc

Chin up! You're doing brilliantly!

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 08:31:14

emerald dd1is 20 she was an unsettled baby always moaning about something so I was always with her she wasn't clingy as she grew up , she is still moany though grin

Dont listen to any rod for your own back comments

Tee2072 Mon 08-Jul-13 08:35:05

emerald my son barely left my side for the first year of his life and I never left him to cry and coslept and did all those sorts of 'rod for your own back' things.

At 4 he is a happy, confident little guy who headed off to his first day of preschool without a backwards glance and then did it again for his settling days for P1 next year. Didn't even wave bye bye!

Keep doing what you're doing!

SummerMyArse Mon 08-Jul-13 08:53:20

I never left my DS to cry as a baby, I just couldn't.

Once he started to move by himself, he'd often come over to me for a cuddle. Lightbulb moment - when he was too little to move sometimes he cried just because he wanted a cuddle.

Even now at 21 months he'll play happily then come over to me to put his head on my knee or stroke my arm then run back to play.

I am so glad I always responded to his cries.

Also, I was always told by women with older children that you can leave them to cry/you don't have to jump up the second they start crying. Well yes, but when they're older. DS has different cries now but it took me many months to distinguish between "I'm hurt and need my mummy NOW" cries and "I'm just whinging 'cos you're in the shower" cries.

monicalewinski Mon 08-Jul-13 08:57:53

emerald you're doing just fine, someone upthread said "babies cry, that's how they communicate" - exactly that. The only concern I would have is that the way you describe yourself as 'all or nothing', are you also one of life's 'copers' (never asking for help and believing you have to perfect all the time, with no-one's help?) - let other people share the responsibility, it's not ALL down to you, you don't have to be your DD's everything. That said, if it is all in your stride then carry on as you are - I'm 98% certain that everyone muddles through, even if they don't come across like that!

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 08:59:25

what summer said really as they grow up you can tell their cries apart and it is ok to leave them if they are having a bit of a whinge and sometimes babies have a whingey moment where there is nothing wrong with them they are just grumpy you cant solve everything,

emeraldgirl1 Mon 08-Jul-13 09:21:54

Thanks so so much everyone for genuinely helpful and encouraging replies!!

Tee2072, I think that is in one sense the thing I am aiming for really - that when DD starts pre-school she'll run off without a backwards glance while I sob uncontrollably in the car later on

I was an anxious child (despite the fact my mum never left me to cry; I'm anxious because she was a stress-head with PND, which thank God I am not - well not as much of a stress-head as she was!!!) so all I really want for DD is to do my best to encourage her to be confident and happy in her own skin.

I just get paranoid when people imply that I am going to have a clingy child!!! It's the last thing I want for her!!

Thanks so much - I must practice that Smile and Ignore technique this week smile

mrsjay Mon 08-Jul-13 09:23:30

as long as you are not anxious when you are with your dd emerald they pick up on it but smile and nod smile

Wishfulmakeupping Mon 08-Jul-13 09:25:04

You're doing a fab job you sound lovely. Any more input from inlaws just repeat 'you can't spoil a baby' and ignore

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 08-Jul-13 09:29:27

At 17 weeks your baby's only method of communication is crying. Your response to her is communicating back.

If she was 5 and able to verbalise what she wanted and you responded accordingly people would probably not say you were responding to her "too much"

I think you're doing great.

ThisWayForCrazy Mon 08-Jul-13 09:31:07

And as for rods and backs, I have three, one of whom is 15 and fairly self sufficient. I love my rods, I made them all myself wink

PlainOldVanilla Mon 08-Jul-13 09:40:59

You are doing everything right! Don't let anyone anyone make you doubt yourself. I've done exactly what your doing. The way I see it is my DD is a little baby and I'm her mummy. It's down to me to provide her with whatever she needs and when she cries she needs something. I've had all the comments of leave her to cry it won't hurt her, she's not going to be scarred for life if you let her cry, don't let that child be dependant on you WTF and the rod for your own back. In the end I got fed up and said well if I make a rod for my own back then it's my back I'm making it for not yours and me and DD are quite happy how were doing things thank you, people soon got the message.

FridaKarlov Mon 08-Jul-13 10:01:40

Ignore the stupid comments and listen to your instincts, it sounds like you're doing great. Enjoy the cuddles smile

Noone ever looks back and says "Oh I wish I had cuddled my baby less". People (me included) do look back and wish we had cuddled our babies more. I did a bit too much of the "not creating a rod for your own back". My DC have not suffered for this - wonderful, confident currently bickering over stickers etc etc. But I do wish I had cuddled them more as babies. Just for selfish reasons really - as am not having anymore and cuddles from a 4yo and 7 yo are lovely - they are just not as snuffly and babyish grin

I agree with the poster up thread, muddling through method of parenting is a good one. go with your instincts. If people start questioning you then shrug - and if necessary come on here for some reassurance.

Enjoy your cuddles!

I'm on DS2 and I felt the same as you with DS1. However since then I have come to realise something important.

Babies have needs. And you will never spoil a baby responding to its needs. When they are older they will still have needs, but they will start to develop wants. This is the time when you can start being more selective in what you respond to and how. Still respond to their needs but maybe be a little more circumspect in how you respond to their wants.

You'll start to see this happening when they approach a year old and start asserting their personalities.

It sounds like you are doing a fab job. Just keep trusting your instincts. Ditch any baby books you have. And learn to ignore anyone that thinks along the lines of 'rod for your own back' smile

badguider Mon 08-Jul-13 10:17:14

Sounds like you're doing everything right (and overthinking smile)

So long as you're giving her time/space to discover the world a little on her own - eg. lying on her playmat fiddling with her own feet without you 'helping' - and that you continue to give her more appropriate space to entertain herself as she gets older, then I'm sure you're doing nothing wrong at all.

With the 'going to her as soon as she cries' - I find people have very different definitions of what 'cries' means... going to her if she's upset or wants something is obviously ideal, though some people do 'tend' to every single vocalisation their child makes when some may not be indicating 'needs' but just vocalising/experimenting... and the LO doesn't need or want a response really.

CecilyP Mon 08-Jul-13 10:23:31

Thank you! I have honestly sat here all afternoon getting myself into a stupid state about DD still yelling for me when she is 18 5 or 6 and me dropping everything to go and get her a favourite toy or a glass of water or whatever... that is what my SIL has made me feel I am setting myself up for!

But that is nonsense, isn't it? At 5 or 6 (and definitely at 18) she will be able to do all these things herself. At 17 weeks, while a bit more lively than a new born, she can't actually do anything for herself, so she is dependent on you coming to her and doing it for her. Ignore these other people - you will notice a lot of people very keen to offer advice but it is rarely backed up by practical help and offers to babysit.

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