31 Days of Parenting Littles: Leave
When I saw today's word I was a bit stumped. I already explained how we don't often leave our children in a previous blog post, and that was the most obvious thing to blog about. I realised there are ways that we do "leave" them though.
We leave them to create their own schedules as babies- I breastfeed on demand, often wear them for naps (especially in the early days), and they go to bed at night when they're tired for the most part. Zak now has a bedtime, but it was formed because that's the time he started asking to go to bed regularly. And yes, he truly was asking. After years of only going to sleep at around 10-11 at night (and waking up between 9 and 11 in the morning), he started asking to go to bed at 8. Even if we had company over, he'd say, "I'm tired- can I go to bed now?" Why certainly you can!
We also leave them to feed themselves. When introducing solids we use baby-led weaning, which involves giving the baby whole table foods (as in, whole steamed broccoli florets, a whole banana, fingers of steak, a chicken drumstick, etc). We let them experiment with the food- mash it, bite it, chew it, spit it out, and maybe actually consume a bit. Many parents are scared of this approach because they fear choking, but when you introduce solids this way FIRST (without ever spoon feeding), they're unlikely to choke because their natural reflexes will prevent it- their gag reflex starts out about halfway down their tongue, so if a chunk of food that's too big to swallow gets that far, they just gag a bit, lean forward, and let the food drop out.
So far leaving our babies and toddlers to sleep when they're tired and eat when they're hungry has worked well for us and for them- much less fighting, tantrums, and work involved!