Responsive parenting

Baby wearing advantages (plus my favorite carriers!)

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter in 2013, I had rarely seen baby wearing (beyond romanticized yet racist pictures of mothers from other cultures). But when I read about all the benefits of baby wearing, I knew I wanted to try it!

I bought a few different types of carriers, and I’ll be honest, baby wearing didn’t really work for me at first. But with a little practice, I got better at it, and three children in, I absolutely love baby wearing for all its cuddling opportunities (and convenience)!


Sleep regressions (what I wish I’d known sooner)

sleeping toddler

Perhaps you’ve heard of the dreaded sleep regression. Or maybe you’ve heard, “the 4 month sleep regression is a myth!” and you want to punch that person in the face because your experience says otherwise and you are TIRED.

Note: The Evidence-Based Mommy’s official stance is against punching people in the face. Even when you really want to.

Regardless, something like this has happened to you: You and your child had gotten into a predictable sleep routine. Maybe he was sleeping all night, maybe he wasn’t (and that’s okay! No, really.), but you at least knew what to expect.

Then all of the sudden, his sleep drastically changes for the worse.

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Bed sharing with baby: How to do so safely

Like many first-time parents, I was totally clueless when I came home with my first baby. I had at least done enough research expect to not get a lot of sleep, but I had no idea what reality would be like. Little did I know our baby would be co sleeping with us!

My husband and I had made a beautiful nursery for our little girl, but we also had a bassinet in our room. We figured she would stay in that little crib for a few weeks and then we’d get her used to sleeping in her own room. Ha!

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Purple crying: when you can’t make your baby stop crying

baby won't stop crying

Congratulations on your new baby! You’ve been home with him or her for a month or two now, and everything has been a huge adjustment. You might feel sometimes that your heart could explode right out of your chest with the love you have for this new little creature. But right when you start to think you’re getting the hang of life with a baby, something changes. Every evening, your baby won’t stop crying. Like, for hours. You feed her, you change her, you try to get her to sleep but no dice. You try singing, you try bouncing, you try freaking everything, all to no avail. It’s awful.

And let’s be honest, there’s a good chance that your hormones have not shifted back to normal yet, and your emotions are still all over the map. So having a baby cry and scream at you for hours on end can make you frazzled and send you totally over the edge!

I remember this stage with all three of my babies, but I especially remember it with my oldest. My husband and I had no idea what to do. Was this colic? Were we doing something wrong? Were we bad parents?

It turns out, the answer to all three of these questions was a resounding “no.” And by the third child, I had a huge realization that completely changed my outlook on this stage and made it SO much easier! Of course, I’ll share some tips with you on how you might be able to comfort your baby during this stage, but ultimately I want to tell you the perspective shift I had so that it can hopefully help you the way it did me.

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Why is positive parenting so much more effective than spanking?

If you’re a a late Gen X or Millennial parent, you’ve probably noticed that parenting advice and styles seem a lot different from when we were kids. Or perhaps it’s just that parenting advice is a lot more available now than it was when our parents had us (thank you, interwebs!).

Either way, times have changed, and there’s a lot of emphasis on positive parenting, gentle parenting, responsive parenting, or whatever you want to call it (and yes, there are subtle differences among these, but I’m just putting them together for now).

My experience growing up, at least, is that kids were expected to be kept “in line.” After all, the world works on the premise that there is always someone who has authority over you, and you need to obey that authority. One day we would be all sent out as adults, and we needed to know how the world works.

If you show up late, you’d get written up.

If you don’t perform at your job, you’d be fired.

If you break the law, you’d get arrested.

Therefore, it was imperative that we learned that misbehavior led to punishment, so we wouldn’t screw up too badly later once the stakes were too high.

Of course, this is only my experience, and it’s influenced by the cultural, social, and religious atmosphere I was brought up in, but I’m sure there are more of us who were exposed to these ideas. But wow, what a dismal view of the world… there’s not a lot of grace in this scenario!

While of course I want my children to accept responsibility for their actions and to respect others, I don’t want every choice they make to stem from a place of fear! So that’s why I’ve started looking into more positive parenting styles. I want my children’s actions to flow from a heart that is secure in love.

I want my children's actions to flow from a heart that is secure in love.

And as it turns out, science has shown that the way many of us were raised actually isn’t even effective! So let’s look at one of the most contested old-school styles of discipline, corporal punishment, and why positive parenting (or responsive parenting) is so much better.

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How mindfulness can make you a better parent

mindful parenting

Mindfulness can make or break a whole afternoon with your child! How can this concept teach you to use responsive parenting instead of reactive parenting?

Case in point: A week or so ago, I unexpectedly ended up being the one to pick up General Leia from school. When she saw me, the first words out of her mouth were, “Can we go over to Nana’s and Poppa’s to do my art project?”

I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping for a “Hooray! I’m so happy to see you, Mother dearest!”

But I told her cheerfully, “Sorry, we can’t play go to Nanna’s and Poppa’s house tonight. We have to go get your brother and sister and then go home.” This started a whole dramatic ordeal in which Leia’s world was ended and she cried as I walked past the other moms picking up their own cherubs from school. Awesome.

My instincts in that moment were not MOTY material. Ungrateful little kid, you could at least pretend you liked me. Honestly, I wanted to be snarky with her, because my feelings were hurt.

But I thought about where she was coming from, how I wasn’t who she expected that afternoon. Perhaps she had been thinking about doing that art project all day, and then there I was instead, blocking her from painting and creating. So I tried to stay positive, and after a bit we somehow made going to the pharmacy to pick up a neti-pot into a little adventure (you get adventure where you can!).

Of course, I don’t always do that well when my kids are in a bad mood. It’s hard to do!

But what if, instead of reacting according to our instinctive, negative emotions, we stopped and evaluated our thoughts first?