One popular author admired by many Christian readers instructs mothers to pick their babies up before they cry. On the surface, that might seem to be good advice. This advice is intended to prevent a baby from becoming demanding to be held 24/7. The implication is that a mother should be wary of picking up her baby when he is crying, particularly when he’s been fed and changed (his “needs” been met).
But I don’t have any problem with picking up baby when she cries. That’s how she communicates. There are enough times when I cannot pick her up right away, and when I must put her down before she’s ready. I don’t take baby out of the carseat while we’re driving (dangerous and against the law), so a number of times I’ve been in near agony driving home while the baby is crying. But if I can pick her up, then I do.
So when baby cries, I try to figure out why. First, I consider whether she’s been fed recently (I don’t keep a strict schedule. Yep, my babies are demand fed. 🙂 ). If she’s been recently fed, and she’s not dirty (she cares more than the other kids did), then I figure she’s bored or lonely. I consider these legitimate needs to meet, so I don’t see her crying in these cases to be any more problematic than crying for food or to be changed.
I move her from room to room, depending on where I am. If I’m giving the kids a bath, then I’ll put her in the Johnny-Jump-Up (bumper jumper for the young moms) over the bathroom door. When she gets tired of that, she’s recently been very excited to sit up at a toy basket and grab toys out of it. When she gets bored of that, I might move her outside in the exersaucer. We’re always moving, probably every 5-15 minutes.
If changing her location or mode of sitting doesn’t help, and she cries even when I give her 100% attention by talking or singing to her, then I’ll either carry her around with me, or just put her to sleep.
Yes, I pick her up when she cries. And most of the time, I don’t feel guilty at all.
P.S. Some have the other problem, feeling guilty when baby cries at all. So they carry the baby with them at all hours. If you like that idea, go for it. But I believe the guilt is false guilt.