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Baby Philosophies

baby philsopiesI write this as a mother in process. I have not learned or experienced it all. I have only experienced my 2 boys (ages: 2.75 years and 4.5 months) and a few dozen more as a nanny. There are many “right” ways to raise your babies and I respect a mom’s (and dad’s) choice to do what they feel passionate about. And, I hope they respect mine. So this list is compilation of things we’ve discovered and done in this family. It is a hodge podge of learned methods, books read, conference lectures, spiritual practices, observing families, and gut feelings.

I write this not to say my ways are best, but to remember what I believed at this stage in my life. I might look back and say “oh, you were so naive” or “yeah, you got that right.” But either way, these have been floating around in my head for months and it’s about time to set them down here. I write as I would write to myself…to the me before I had my babies. So in no particular order, here are my Baby Philosophies.

  • The first 2 weeks are the hardest. Power through. You will sleep again.
  • It’s OK to stare. That baby is perfection.
  • Receive meals, receive help.
  • Make time to shower and brush your teeth… and sleep. (And do it every day.)
  • Babies don’t understand our world. We get to teach them.
  • That man you have loved all this time just got 10 times hotter holding your baby.
  • E.A.S.Y.! Eat, Sleep, Play, & You. A great method without being hyper-scheduled.
  • Leave your baby and the house in the first month.
  • Babies can soothe themselves to sleep. (Mine did at 5 and 6 weeks) 
  • Babies can sleep through the night. (Mine did a 8 and 10 weeks)
  • Be thankful and joyful everyday.
  • Establish a start time to the day. Wake the baby at the same time and feed (7:00 a.m. for me) then note his cues and rhythms for eating and sleeping.
  • You don’t have to follow “baby-led” or “parent-led” techniques you can be a fusion of both.
  • Work towards a 12 hour night of sleep and age appropriate naps through the day.
  • Keep learning. Listen to moms. Read books and blogs.
  • Babies are communicating to us, and it is our job to be flexible to them.
  • Baby gas is painful… for both of you. Learn methods to relieve that gas. Massage, movements, diet change, etc.
  • Don’t let them rely to heavily on “props” – whatever they need to sleep, calm, etc. they will need every single time.
  • Let that baby sleep on your chest. In a rainstorm. Close your eyes and enjoy.
  • Routines promote predictability and trust. It is a gift I can kids.
  • Breastfeed as long as you can to a year.
  • Breastfeeding is hard, great, a sacrifice, a gift, work, time…. and it is only a short season.
  • It’s OK to feel sad when you lose your milk supply, but you are not a failure.
  • Bins and labels and drawer organizers will calm the toy and clothing chaos.
  • Buy gender neutral when possible: toys, blankets, cups, etc.
  • Sleep sacs are genius. Zip down blanket and hinders climbing? Uh huh.
  • Wubbanubs, also genius. Baby can find and place paci. Cut off the paci and baby still has stuffed animal.
  • Video monitors are the most genius. Worth every penny.
  • Start solids when baby can sit up on their own, around 6 months. No need to force feed early.
  • Keep a simple log for the first year.
  • Note milestones, cute phrases, and stories. Compile them for a memory book.
  • You will not regret taking pictures.
  • Make time for fun as a family.
  • Make time for yourself: the occasional haircut, massage or pedicure will energize you!
  • Kiss, hug, snuggle, wrestle, hold hands, high five. Affectionately touch your kids.
  • Treasure grandparent time. Start it young.
  • Praise them. Encourage. Tell them what they are good at.
  • A small house has it’s benefits. We all know what’s happening all the time.
  • Maintain and add healthy habits. Be active. Have a hobby.
  • Teach your kids to transition well, early on. Leave them with family and friends.
  • Choose toys that promote imagination. Limit noisy toys and screen time.
  • Take your kids to a quality church. (Make sure they screen their volunteers!)
  • Encourage your kids to play with friends, play outside, play with siblings.
  • Read all the time. Find books your kid loves. Put them all over the house.
  • Spend time in community with other families.
  • Discipline early. Use a strong serious firm voice as to not confuse them.
  • When possible tell kids what TO do rather than what NOT to do.
  • Pray, sing, and share your God from the start.
  • Teach them to be helpers. Teach them to serve God and people.
  • Teach them to play independently.
  • Don’t undermine your spouse. Even when they are too lenient or too harsh. They are learning too. Give grace.
  • Bring kids along with you on errands and chores. There is much to learn in daily life.
  • Let your kids choose sometimes. Don’t let your kids choose all the time.
  • Protect your marriage as you would protect your kids. It is a treasure. Shut the bedroom door and hold onto your covenant.
  • Hide toys in pretty baskets. 
  • Let your toddler tell you when he’s ready to potty train. Seize the day and start 3 day bootcamp.
  • Promote sleep. Keep a bedtime routine.
  • Family dinners are valuable.
  • Share your clothes. Bargain shop. But, buy new shoes.
  • Kids do not have to have everything or every thing new.
  • Listen to that voice inside and learn what God would teach your through your kids.
  • Understand God’s love for you as his child. A whole new meaning when you have kids of your own.
  • Start each morning with coffee and prayer, your kids will wake with more energy than you.

I am only 3 years in as a mom. So much more to learn. So much more to experience. I am thankful to be on this journey. My boys are gifts that bring me joy each day.