“Is there an app you’re using for baby’s milestones and daily development activities?”
“What is a good app to help me track feeding and sleeping”
“My app says that baby should be sleeping at 9am, for an hour, and then again at 12pm, but what if he doesn’t sleep for the full hour?”
The amount of times I hear mamas either asking each other, or even asking me for my recommendations in terms of which apps to use to track various things like sleep patterns, feeding schedules, amount of wet/dirty diapers and even developmental activities for their babies is getting to be more and more each week!
Mama, I hear you, I see you!
You are tired!
You prepared for birth, but not necessarily for life with baby.
You want the best for your baby!
You are reading all the books and listening to all the people around you - from your mother in law, to your doctor, and they all seem to say something different
You are worried that if you do ABC, you’ll be creating bad habits
And you’re also worried if you don’t do XYZ, then your baby will not grow up to be an independent and successful member of society.
If you are nodding your head yes, then let me tell you, you are not alone!
We, as a Western culture and society, have set unrealistic expectations about raising a baby in the first year of life, and really beyond, but particularly in that first year.
Unrealistic expectations of sleep, independence, what we will accomplish on mat leave or even in a day with baby, and even how often babies need to eat, pee, and poo.
We have become more controlling, anxious, stressed and busy as mamas in this Western culture as well.
To be honest, as convenient as it is to have ‘an app for that’, all these apps, with the convenience of our smartphones that are attached to our hips and hands, just ‘fuel the fire’ so to speak.
All these apps that are used to track baby’s feeds - how long each feed lasts, which side, how frequently they eat, along with their sleep patterns - when did they nap, for how long, when should they nap next….
And then the apps that show us what toys to use and how to play with our baby every day to maximize development…..
All these apps just feed our need to control and micro-manage our lives….and our children.
They have essentially made us reliant on external information and devices to tell us how to raise our babies and children. They have made us forget that we have all the knowledge inside of us already. That if we just took the time to slow down, unplug, watch and learn about our baby and their unique cues, we would know what to do.
That actually we don’t need an app to raise our babies.
What if I told you that if we just trusted ourselves, and our babies, and gave them the right environment and opportunities to explore, that they would learn and develop just fine.
That if we just learned their unique cues we would know if they were hungry, tired, or fussing because they needed a hug.
The reality is, babies wake up….a lot...especially in the first 9-ish months of their life. They wake up to eat, and to remember that actually they are safe, their primary caregiver is there to support them and keep them safe, to help them survive.
Given the right environment (ie. the floor is the best place for baby to develop in that first year) and opportunities (unrestricted with very simple toys - like a ball, a ring, a rattle/shaker, a little blanket, etc) babies can and will develop just as they are meant to.
Development is not a race, it is not something we can rush, or teach.
Development happens in a sequence of events, one milestone enabling the next, and babies will reach those milestones when given the right environments and opportunities to experience them on their own!!
The baby market is a multi-billion dollar industry and they want you to think that you need the Baby Einstein videos, all the latest and greatest swings, light up or talking toys, etc, but in reality what baby cares about is YOU!
They care about YOU as their playmate.
They also learn best with the regular sensory experiences in your day to day life and through movement. Heck, the first 7 years of life is called the sensorimotor stage.
So put the phones down.
Stop buying all the toys.
Stop logging everything into the apps.
Just play (ideally on the floor) with your baby.
Sit down and just watch them as they move and explore their environment.
Watch the magic happen with the simple things.
Take a breath and relax!
Trust yourself and trust your baby!
You’ve got this mama!