It might surprise Nurshable readers to know that I have a pretty strict “no rescuing the baby” policy in place with my partner. (We don’t rescue the baby, we don’t refuse the baby if the baby wants/needs the other parent, and we don’t grab the baby if the baby is rejecting us. Unless one of the things is really really necessary for some reason.) If the baby is shrieking her head off in his arms I do not swoop in to rescue the baby. I do not grab the baby out of his arms. I may walk over and just gently put my hand on his shoulder as a reminder of all the things that we talk about in-between. Or he might walk over and place his hand on my shoulder as the same reminder.
We agreed that if she continues to cry with either one of us that we will bring her to the other parent and say “Let’s see if daddy/mommy can figure out what you’re asking for.” or “I think you’re saying you want to go to daddy” or “do you need to nurse? Let’s go find mommy.” This allows our daughter to hear that we are trying to find out what she needs, we respect that if we can’t meet that need the other parent might be able to figure it out.
We believe that a baby’s cries are communication. Babies can communicate many things. “I need a diaper change” (either one of us can do this.) “I am having a hard time falling asleep.” (either one of us can possibly help with this) and also “I need to nurse”, “I want mommy” or “I want daddy”.
When you swoop in and “rescue” a baby from the other parent you’re sending a message to the baby that you don’t trust dad, dad’s not a capable caregiver, and that you’re the only one who can meet baby’s needs.
On the other hand if dad refuses to bring baby to mom when baby needs or wants to nurse, baby learns that she doesn’t want to be held by dad because once daddy’s holding her she WON’T BE ALLOWED TO NURSE and if she CRIES AND LEANS TOWARDS MOMMY daddy won’t let her go to mom.
It also creates a much more relaxed state in all of us. Dad doesn’t feel like he HAS TO FIX THE THING BECAUSE I NEED HIM TO FIX THE THING AND HE IS TRAPPED WITH SCREAMINGBABY. I don’t feel like I HAVE TO FIX THE THING BECAUSE WHOEVER IS HOLDING THE BABY HAS TO FIX THE THING. It’s flexible. It flows. If one us can’t help the baby then the other parent gets to try. If baby’s having a really hard time then we pass the baby and she is surrounded by love from both of us, and we both get to breathe before we jump in again.
When you rescue, refuse, or grab it doesn’t create an environment of trust where your child feels respected and safe.
Through respecting our daughter’s autonomy and preferences and needs and wants and feelings, my partner has formed an amazing bond with our daughter.
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