"Teaching" a 6-month-old?

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Kittie1234
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:05 am 
Post subject: "Teaching" a 6-month-old?
Hi. This question is not about myself, but about my boyfriend's nephew. Since the day he was born, I have not observed any kind of "connection" between mom and baby. The first week he was born, she was talking about having her sister-in-law babysit for her while she went to some event. She goes out with friends pretty much every weekend, letting someone else babysit him while she's away.

I have a niece and cousin who are the same age, and their mothers are extremely attentive and close to their babies. They are their world. This is what mothering should be like. You can feel the connection between them. You just don't sense that with my boyfriend's sister-in-law. She seems to care more for herself than for her beautiful son.

Anyway, my bf's SIL said the other day that she's trying to "teach" her baby to not be "clingy" by not attending to him when he's crying. I'm not just talking about sleep training, she just lets him cry. She said that she doesn't want him to end up being 'that kid who grabs onto his mother's legs all the time.' I do not agree with this. I do not believe that you can "teach" a 6-month-old to not be clingy by ignoring him. Babies need to know they're loved. All she's "teaching" him is that he isn't special enough to be loved by his mother. It makes me really sad. He is the most beautiful little boy ever.

So, what do you think? Am I wrong about this?

I should probably add that this is not her first baby. She had a baby a few years ago when she was in college, had grandma raise her for the first two years, but eventually gave up custody. She said she was too selfish back then, but I haven't really observed a difference.
dellabobella
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:20 am 
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I think you can teach a baby to self settle at 6 months (and I don't mean in the night, I mean in the day also when they are crying for no real reason) which is really what the lady in your post seems to be doing. I have four children and my youngest is almost 8 months now and I don't have the time to pick her up every time she cries. I'm sure my daughter doesn't feel unloved but she is a good baby and she generally only ever cries because she's hungry, tired or needs a nappy change. So my answer is yes I do think you can help a child to not be too clingy by leaving them to their own devices a bit. Obviously children have to have some attention and cuddles but I don't think leaving them to cry is damaging. Maybe you should have a word with the mother since you seem to be very concerned x
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Kittie1234
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:43 pm 
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Dellabobella,

What did you do with your first child, when he/she was the only one? Having three other kids seems like a viable reason for not attending to your crying baby. This "lady" doesn't work and is at home all day with her ONE baby, so in my eyes there isn't really an excuse.

I think what I'm trying to say is that, by what I've observed, she is very selfish and is STILL in the "party" mindset. She's too concerned about herself to devote all her time and attention to her baby. I don't understand this, not only because she's 25 now, but because her son is the most beautiful baby ever. Everybody loves him except her. Honestly, I think she made up that story about "teaching" her baby to mask the fact that she just can't be bothered to hold him.
dellabobella
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:22 pm 
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Honestly I did the same when I had one child too. I can't stand a clingy baby who you can't put down for five minutes. I found a rocking swing to be the saviour of my sanity where that was concerned. It doesn't mean I didn't or don't love my child though. I also didn't work at the time and was home with my baby all day. I too also liked to go out at the weekends and my parents would have my daughter so I could have a break which I think in turn made me a better parent as I'd have gone insane without some time away from my daughter. I think if you have a concern that the child isn't getting what it needs you should probably have a quiet word with the lady in question or your brother as that is what I'd do if I had a genuine concern a child wasn't getting it's requirements met. Best of luck x
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dellabobella
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:43 pm 
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Also I don't think anybody really needs an excuse or made up reason for what they do with their kids. If they're clean, fed and not in danger I think it's absolutely 100% the parents choice how they raise them.
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MrsOz
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:15 pm 
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I have to say I am also a mother who am keen on developing independence; Evie was a whingy baby, Poppy shouts... both are fine and just expressing themselves. Crying for food / pain / etc I always respond to as soon as possible (and like dellabobella said, with more kids it is harder).

Having said that, just because someone has physically had children it doesn't make them a mummy with the ability to show them the 'conventional' mummy love, cuddles and ways. Depends on her own upbringing, what has maybe happened to her in her life, depression (such as PND) or, maybe she just isn't maternal in any sense

xx
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Kittie1234
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Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:48 pm 
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MrsOz, I think you are right about that. I think what makes me mad is her attitude of indifference towards him. It just seems phony to me when she is holding him. I feel like she is putting on a front so that people will think she likes to be with him. You are right, she did (with her first child) and is doing with her son the exact same thing that her mom did towards her. Mom first, friends/partying second, baby third.
DL05
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Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:47 am 
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Its sad if she feels indifferent but there's not much you can do Question
I don't think you can train a young baby not to be clingy at some point , all of mine were fine as small babies and I would often put them on a play mat with their toys while I got the jobs done and they'd be happy but then about 9-10 months they become more aware of whats round them and suddenly you can't leave the room or even their line of sight without them crying Shocked
That will normally happen no matter what they were like before Question , at that stage I would reassure by talking to them but not always go and pick them up as around then I think it can make them worse, but at a few months old I don't think they have the capacity to think well if I whinge then I'll get picked up Question , so if they're crying then its for a reason even if it seems like nothing to you , so i wouldn't just completely ignore a baby of that age, just a few words (even if its talking to them from the next room so they know you're there)or trying to distract them with a toy or something can do wonders , I don't think you have to permanently have them on your hip mind you , its hard to say though without knowing someone if she is just ignoring the worst of his whingy moments and I think all mums do that sometimes when you know there's nothing wrong and you just need to get something finished or if she's not bonding with him at all , do you think there's a family member she might listen to if you had a word and explained your concerns Question
Its hard though as Mrs Oz said not everyone is maternal and if her mum was the same then being this way could be all she knows Question xx
dellabobella
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Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:10 pm 
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With my kids I found I have felt more for them as they've got older. I don't know if that sounds awful or not but I know I had a hard time in particular with Kieran as basically as soon as I gave birth I had visitors pushing their way into my delivery room and then stayed at my house for over a week so I only remember having about an hour to myself with him in that time.
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