This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Experiences after taking baby-led approach(12 Posts)
I'm a new mum of a 5 week old son. Before I fell pregnant I felt I'd be all about the sleep training etc but since mid pregnancy and now, I just want to be baby-led in spite of feeling exhausted and like he feeds the whole time. I feel inclined towards this approach to child rearing because I buy that humans are biologically coded to want to be free and he will gradually cut the tie as he feels ready to do that. Even if it is more involved for me in the interim. I pass zero judgement of anyone taking the opposite approach and ask that people do the same for me in responding. What I'd love is to hear from anyone who is now pparentof older kids who took EITHER the Gina forde approach or the polar opposite, how your kiddos are getting on and whether you feel either approach -based on what you know of your child Vs their peers - was the absolute right thing and why. Totally unscientific and maybe a crap question but I guess I'm just wondering if kids really are that affected by either approach later down the line or if we're talking tiny degrees! Part of me wonders whether I could end up with a clingy older child who doesn't socialise as well but my hunch is that he won't as I'm very much all about socialising him as soon as he shows a vague interest. Oh and I don plan to bf beyond a year if that. Any experiences / knowledge would be great to hear. Many thanks :-)
My personal experiences:
It's very different for baby 1 or baby 2+
You can be baby led for your first baby but second one onwards is inevitably affected by sibling routine. For example if the older one attends childcare or school, the baby will need to be up at 7am ish in order to get out the house on time.
Part of it is parental personality. Some people like routine while others don't. For mental health's sake, it's best to do how you feel is right for you so that you don't go too crazy.
I think the most important things to remember are
1. Your baby hasn't read the books so won't necessarily follow what they say.
2. It's ok to change your mind about stuff. For example before having a baby you might be anti-dummy but you might use one to soothe a sucky baby.
3. There's a lot of crap advice out there. It's ok to nod along and ignore unless this person is actively parenting and doing the hard stuff like getting up at night.
4. The crap times will pass. Crying a lot as a baby does not mean they will be crying a lot as an older child.
5. It is hard. People told you it's hard but you now know what they mean. Well done for getting this far.
I was baby led for all of mine who are in secondary school now.
The only regret I had was that I did not have the instincts that people talk about. I don't know where that confidence comes from as I was very nervous with the first but found the third child fine.
I kind of Gina Forded my first, mainly because I knew nothing about babies so it seemed like a nice way to have someone tell me what to do!
I didn’t stick to it rigidly but I did follow the food/nap/play ideas, had naps in a dark room, minimal eye contact (although plenty of cuddles) at night, plus the dream feed etc.
He thrived with a routine (still does at nearly 8 years old), slept through at 3 months, still is an excellent sleeper.
Second baby - he had to go with the flow, naps in the car/pram etc. I was also knackered so let him feed to sleep, co sleep, he had a mild routine but nothing like the first.
He didn’t sleep through for 18 months and still at 5 isn’t such a good sleeper, although miles better. He needed me to stay with him and couldn’t self settle for bloody ages as he got so used to sleeping in a sling or on me.
BUT, they’re both fine, great, lovely boys. The small one still comes in for night snuggles and I LOVE it as he’s a little snuggly sweetie.
@rainingcatsanddog thanks so much for your thoughtful response. Yes, the instincts are key and I'm finding can be knocked off course so easily- what the NCT lot are doing, what the books are saying, what the MIL is saying. So much to consider and doubt yourself on. You must be proud of yourself though - if you made it to number three taking this approach you obviously had some pretty good intuition.😃
@Ozgirl75 thanks for sharing that you've ended up doing both. Love the sound of your little snuggly boy :-) great they're both doing so well. That's the thing - probably half the adult population was raised on Gina forde and there are plenty of normal people out there so it's probably not as bad as some people make out especially when it's probably only a few who end up taking the CIO approach to its boundaries. The routine stuff makes sense. Think my husband would like to try it but I'm just wanting to be responsive... But that's our personalities. My way is definitely chaotic, exhausting, life stopping, but it just feels right... But there's a lot to consider when youre considering at some point you need to get your brain, earning potential and being a partner back to where they were!
I didn’t do CIO in the slightest - I dont recall Gina Ford recommending that (although it was some time ago and I did pick and choose the bits I wanted). If mine cried when they were settling I just went in (in ththe dark) and quietly comforted them. I never thought that you couldn’t be responsive with GF - I just saw it as a way of helping me guess when DS would be tired/hungry etc and being able to anticipate what he wanted before he started screaming about it!
I wasn’t rigid about it at all and I don’t really think you could be, because every baby is different.
Also, I think I’m quite an organised structured person too and I didn’t like the chaos and not knowing what was coming next. I liked to be able to plan a bit and have a routine for me too!
Thanks @Ozgirl75, that's great to know. Think I'm going to have to read her book. I'm pretty undisciplined so routine and planning of my private life (work different) have never really featured but feel it would be good to knock it into me, especially now I'm growing a family! Thank you for sharing
I was very baby led with DS and he is the opposite of clingy (unless poorly).
I do think a lot of it is personality, a rigid routine would have stressed me out....I just kept DS with me all the time/moved the bouncer from room to room, breastfed him whenever he rooted and fed/rocked him to sleep whenever he seemed cranky. He'd also happily sleep in the pram while I went out.
You can pick and mix bits of different approaches...ie DS still cosleeps and breastfeeds at almost 2.5 but I initiated potty training because it was summer, he goes to nursery and I am fairly strict - ie. If I threaten to take him home from the playground I will take him home from the playground.
Thanks for sharing @camomila, great to hear you're raising a secure unclingy little bean. That approach sounds tiring but more stress free to me - I do get so stressed when i sometimes deny him the boob because he's had it repeat (every half hour) and is still rooting (also resisting any further burping very vigorously).. I hate denying him but worry so much about his painful tum. But that's another topic! Do you wear him in a sling? Sometimes he resists so emphatically it can be quite worrying but he has dropped off in it v quickly on other occasions. He's only young so being strict is obviously not a consideration just now but I agree with keeping to your word later down the line. I'm sure you're right about personality types too. I'm starting to feel that he trusts me - he cries and grumbles a lot less at littler things and seems to take in what I'm explaining in his own way. Great to hear your kiddo is developing well, well done
I think I stopped using the sling around his 1st birthday - I am very short and his legs were long and kicky! I mainly used it from around 5/6 months though as he only liked it once he could face out.
I never denied DS breastfeeds as he was jaundiced so was told to flush it out, so instead we used to carry him around in a 'tiger in a tree pose' to settle his tummy.
That's so lovely that he's starting to listen, I think DS was still mainly asleep at 5 weeks!
I don’t think it has to be one or the other. You pick and choose the bits that work for your baby and your life. With both of my girls I wanted to take a baby-led approach, but found they (and I) were happiest with a predictable routine for naps/feeds/bedtime. But I always, always fed/cuddled them to sleep at bedtime and when they woke in the night. I never left them to cry but luckily never had to - if they had been terrible sleepers I’m sure I would have tried everything! Both girls slept through by six months and have continued to do so (age four and 11 months). They’re all different of course, you’ll figure it out as you go along.