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Mama Already Knows

It is always interesting to see something validated in the world of science that is already known in our hearts.  As this article from the University of Notre Dame talks about, research is showing that modern day commonplace baby care practices are proving to be damaging to human emotional and moral development.



“Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,” Narvaez says.


New parents are inundated with advice from “experts”, many of whom advise practices that totally go against the God-given nurturing instinct that mothers have.  Mothers are equipped with all that is needed to nurture, nourish and protect their babies.  The problem is that fallible and imperfect people have written books promoting parenting practices that go against every mothering instinct that God places in us.  Even more alarming is when these books claim to be “God’s way”.



New mothers always want what is best for their babies.  Unfortunately, many have been led astray and have fallen into detrimental, and according to this research cited in this article, even harmful parenting practices.

They have been duped into believing that what they want to do– like hold and comfort their crying babies to sleep, nurse “on cue”, carry baby around in arms rather than in a plastic car seat carrier– is somehow going to turn their baby into a spoiled, demanding terror of a child.



Instead new mamas are told they must let their babies cry themselves to sleep or else they will never learn to sleep on their own.  They are told to put the baby down or else baby will become too needy or dependent.  They are told to not nurse the baby when he wants it, but rather implement a schedule to let baby know right off the bat who is in control.



How many new mothers do you know who have suffered much inner turmoil trying to follow certain guidelines set out by so called parenting experts that she knew deep down were wrong?



How many of you were that mother?



You were led to believe that if you gave in, that you were weak.  You needed to be strong in spirit to triumph over your emotional pull to cater to the demands of baby.  You thought that your heartache over listening to your baby cry and cry was just a show of how feeble-minded you were.




That heartache was a result of your God-given mothering instincts being stuffed down in the name of doing what you were led to believe was best for baby.



Mothers know how to mother.  It is in us.  If we were out in the wilderness all alone with no parenting experts, no baby training books, we would still know what to do.  We are equipped by our loving Heavenly Father who has designed perfectly for the job.  We would know to bring baby to the breast when he cries because He made our post-partum bodies to release milk in response to baby crying.  We would know to keep baby close to our own body for safety, warmth and comfort because that just makes a whole lot more sense than leaving baby exposed and vulnerable.  The knowledge is there, within us all.



That’s where the heartache comes from.  A mother who aches to go to her crying baby is not weak.  She is not feeble minded.  She is a mother who is in conflict because she knows how to take care of her baby and people whom she respects are telling that her that her instincts are wrong.



“Studies show that responding to a baby’s needs (not letting a baby “cry it out”) has been shown to influence the development of conscience; positive touch affects stress reactivity, impulse control and empathy; free play in nature influences social capacities and aggression; and a set of supportive caregivers (beyond the mother alone) predicts IQ and ego resilience as well as empathy.”

Oh, how nice it is to have research to prove what mothers already know.  Not that we need the science to convince us.  But rather it is interesting to see that the mothering instincts that God has instilled in us are being confirmed. Mothers, don’t be afraid to cuddle your babies to sleep or nurse at random times rather than by the clock or carry your babies around in slings. Babies don’t get “spoiled” by love. The nurturing and security you provide will set your baby up to be secure and confident in the future. And according to this current research has many more positive effects as well.

juliette in sling




Any thoughts to share?  I’d love to hear them.






4 Responses to Mama Already Knows

  1. I’ve been that mom…but I’ve also been that mom who could rock and hold and never let the baby cry and drove myself to the point of exhaustion because I was told that that was the only way to parent. Not all babies respond to that sort of approach…mine included. I’d love it if you could read my post about it here: http://beautifulinhistime.com/2013/01/24/my-slow-journey-away-from-attachment-parenting/

    • Aprille, I read your story and I am sorry to hear of your difficult experience. Thank you for sharing.

      I can definitely empathize as I have gone thorough some disappointments as well. After co-sleeping with 3 children, my 4th preferred a crib in her own room…she hated to sleep with me. As a LLL leader and certified lactation counselor, my daughter couldn’t/wouldn’t breastfeed no matter what I tried. She was primarily bottle fed until she was 4 months old and finally started nursing. Because I always brought my babies to my meetings I even had to bottle feed her while hosting LLL meetings and teaching breastfeeding classes. She definitely challenged all of what I thought I knew about parenting from mothering my first 3 children.

      But through it all, I did not feel judged. It was hard to change the way I had done things with my first 3 children, but I knew that I was doing the best for her particular needs. Every child is different and we cannot expect to fit into any one set of ideals or guidelines, no matter which end of the parenting spectrum. We can fall into the temptation of following Man whether we are in the baby training camp or the attachment parenting camp. Personally, I don’t think either end of the spectrum is healthy when done out of the motivation of following a set of guidelines for the sake of meeting some standard.

      This post was not intended to lead mothers to follow ANY set of tenants laid out by people. That approach ALWAYS leads to guilt since not one of us can attain any set of standards perfectly.

      The point was encourage mothers to NOT feel guilty when meeting the needs of their babies. It has gone on for too long that mothers are made to feel “less than” for wanting to do what they instinctively know is right, but everyone else is telling them is wrong base on some “experts” who say otherwise.


  2. I do think the wealth of information that we have now can often paralyze us from making decisions based on prayer and the Lord’s guidance. That’s why I stopped reading parenting books for several months last year! :)

    • I totally agree! There are good resources out there, but I think many times we focus on the resources and forget to rely on God’s word and prayer.

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