When I was pregnant with T man I got lots of advice. Some of it useful, some of it not. And when you're a first time expecting mother you are so completely overwhelmed that you have no idea what advice you should keep and what advice to ignore. That was one of my motivations for doing so much research.
I'll list you some of my favorite "bad habits" that I was warned against and I'll explain why I choose to do these things anyway.
#1 "don't let him use you as a human pacifier"
»» Sounds reasonable doesn't it? Until you actually stop to think about it, that is. If your infant is feeling some sort of discomfort or unease and he needs to be pacified, why WOULDN'T you let him use you? Why should the task, no ... the privilege of calming your baby be given to an artificial device made from plastic, rubber and silicone? If you are distressed and you "just need a hug" (because haven't we all?) Would you want that hug to come from a mannequin or a human? Nursing is SO much more than nutrition. This is your babies version of a nice long hug.
#2 don't pick him up every time he cries. You'll spoil him. It's good for him to cry a little bit.
»» O_O ... oh wow. You already know where I stand on "spoiling" so let's move past that to the crying bit. Where do people get off thinking that crying is "good"? Crying is a babies last defense. After he has used all the body language he knows, the only thing he has left is his tiny voice. Crying is a plea for help. He's saying "something is wrong, I don't know what exactly, but I need you mommy. Please help me" do YOU want to be ignored during your time of need? He has many, many times of need, so yes, he will cry often, but only because he can't communicate any other way.
#3 Sometimes he's not actually hungry. Just give him a bottle of water
»» Okay, there are a few sides to this one. First off, it's an old practice that just isn't medically recommended any longer. Mothers used to give their babies a serving of water between feedings to fill their tummys and keep the baby on his feeding schedule. Nowadays, babies don't follow a feeding schedule. BFing mama's nurse on demand. Baby's hungry? Let him nurse! Just ate 20 minutes ago? That's okay, let him nurse. We don't deny our infants access to the breast.
Is giving your baby water absolutely terrible? No. I mean, come on. They're not gremlins! :-) when the nurses and doctors tell you "don't give your baby water" they are referring the ounces of water our mothers and grandmother's used to give us.
So ... when and why would you give your baby water? Usually I would only give my newborn water if he'd been crying for an extended period of time and refused the breast. During his early colic weeks, T man would get all worked up and agitated to the point that he couldn't stop himself even if he tried. He cried because his throat hurt and his throat hurt because he was crying. It was a vicious cycle that he didn't understand and was helpless to stop on his own. Using a medicine dropper, I would slowly place 3-4 ml water in his mouth to soothe his throat and calm him down. Once calm I was able to get him latched on and nursing. A nap quickly followed.
#4 don't nurse him to sleep. He needs to sleep on his own
»» why? He came from a tiny little world that consisted of just him and his very cramped living quarters. Now he's living in this huge, open, cold place with nothing to snuggle expect artificial objects. Which would you prefer? Going to sleep alone in your great big bed, cold and alone, or snuggling up against a loved one (probably spooning) and falling asleep in their arms, knowing you are safe and loved? I'll take door number 2 please :-) and so will my baby.
There are so many more, but these were my "big ones" Everyone has their opinions, including me. No one is perfect and we all have our own methods, but I feel these ideas need to be packed away and forgotten about. Let's raise our babies to be well loved and never ignore their needs.