There are a lot of ways to gauge how well a parent is doing. There are signs that a baby will exhibit that lead a person to know if what they are doing is correct for the child's development. The hard part is deciphering these signs in a way that allows a parent to make the appropriate updates to their tactics and to make changes beneficial to the baby in the long term. The thing that is often focused on in areas of giving a baby attention is whether or not they can be spoiled. Whether or not they should be allowed to cry. If the whole household is arranged around the baby or if the baby is able to adapt to a schedule.
The problem in generalizations is that there are special circumstances everywhere. If the baby is nontraditional in their needs, these are obviously not recommendations that are going to give a parent the hard fast truth on how their household is being run. The nontraditional baby may require "too much" attention at this point in their life.
These are only meant to try to help a parent compare to how far they have come in working things out, but they may not be doctor recommended for the special needs of every baby. Keep that in mind.
15 Too Much By Not Allowing Failure
This isn't as evident in the early stages of baby development, but as they start to learn more skills it will show up. You need to make sure you are allowing them to struggle a little bit. If you jump in to give them everything that they want, they will not learn to do it for themselves. Make sure that you are balancing a nurturing teaching environment with sitting back to let them fail a little bit.
In the baby stage allow them a little time to experiment, but there is nothing gained once they become overly frustrated. Trial and error is one of the more important tools that we have in our parenting toolbox for growing little humans (other tools including wine and chocolate). Clearly, this is so much easier said than done. There is an ocean of possibilities between allowing space and neglectfulness. Find the sweet spot for your family needs and watch them blossom.
14 Too Much If Your Sense Of Accomplishment Stems From Baby's Actions
We all know moms' that rush through the baby stages trying to tick off all the boxes on their babies accomplishments. Trying to "win" at the baby race to milestones. When a mother is taking too much stock in these accomplishments that could be a sign that they are paying too much attention to what the baby is doing and not enough focus on themselves. This is not a putdown. There is certainly no harm in celebrating all the wonderful thing that your baby is doing as they embark on life. When friends start to avoid you because they don't want to hear about your baby talking in full sentences at 6 weeks, you may want to see if you are doing enough personal development. It's so hard in the beginning years, but don't lose yourself. You are more than a wonderful mother. Don't forget to foster that.
13 Too Much If You're Encouraging Baby To "Perform"
When first reading this one, I thought how awful is that to do to a baby and child? Then I remembered trips to show off my daughters at work and family reunions. At these places, I tried to get them to smile. I tried to get them to show how they could walk or clap. Are you also doing this and not aware? Sure, it's not the end of the world. This is normal to an extent. When you expect the baby to carry the rooms attention to take the pressure off of you. When the baby or child gets used to the spotlight it could encourage them to behavior that keeps the light on them. that isn't always a positive. They may not know the difference between seeking "good" attention or "bad" attention. This sets them up for a future of disappointment when no one else is as interested in what they are doing as their mom seemed to be.
12 Too Much If You're Not Spending Alone Time With Spouse
This doesn't mean that you have to run off to Maui to have vacations in the sun every 2 weeks (wouldn't that be nice though?) This alone time may simply be maintaining a set bedtime or routine to get the baby to bed. This will allow sometimes with your spouse to catch up and recharge. These types of catch up sessions are very important to initiate and keep as they can prevent the parents from feeling disconnected from each other. The growing apart doesn't happen overnight. It happens little by little as months of putting the baby first and not setting aside moments of togetherness outside the baby. There is no doubt that this is hard in the infant phase as they can be little buggers about allowing you to be away for long. As they grow it's important that they get used to their parents being able to do things outside of the family. This will signal a healthy relationship for them to look for when they become adults.
11 Too Much If You're Constantly Buying Stuff
With everything that is available for baby care these days, it's hard to keep in mind that they really don't "need" all that much. If you to make due, you could with a lot less. This isn't to say that getting the gadgets that make your life easier is a bad thing. However, do not get started down the path of over buying toys and objects for your child. As they grow, this habit becomes harder and harder to break. Trying to top last birthday or Christmas becomes a constant sort of "high." A child begins to associate material goods with being loved or with having attention. That is never a good thing to link together. The worthiness of attention shouldn't have to do with things that are received. I type this knowing that I have a trunk full of items to donate. I know the struggle is real.
10 Too Much If You're Anticipating And Preventing Discomfort
Somethings we just need to learn by doing. Preferably in a safe environment. For example when a toddler is learning how to get around their environment. There are many dangers. The door can shut on their fingers, the drawer can slam on them, and then there are the stairs. You can talk until you are blue in the face about the dangers, but some point they have to experience discomfort to learn to avoid it. It will be a rough day when they finally get those tiny fingers hurt. You will be there to kiss them better and hold them through it. There are going to be some hard lessons, but life is like that. Do your best to mitigate serious injury. Again we find ourselves in the wide range of neglect and overdoing. Find the place your family fits and make it work.
9 Too Much If You're Feeling Angry Or Helpless
If you are feeling irrationally angry there could be a couple things going on here. The first thing to check is if you are suffering from Postpartum depression. This can cause a change in moods and feelings. If you find that is not the cause, then examine if you are giving too much to your child and not practicing self-care. This is when you may have to take some action to maybe get a couple hours help from a friend to get a break. There is no shame in asking grandma to come take on the baby to get an extra nap in. Go get your nails done for a second, run to play a round of golf, or go to Starbucks. Or best idea of all, wander the aisles of Target and look around. It's a beautiful thing. Recharge yourself. Parenthood is not a sprint it's a marathon.
8 Too Much If Child's Sleep Schedule Has Gone Haywire
We won't go into the practice of sleep training here. One thing to keep in mind is though is that if you never lay a baby down, they may have a hard time of doing any sleeping without being in your arms. Thus it might be good to practice a little bit in laying them down. If they or you suddenly start to see a sleep pattern disruption, there may be more to it. They could be showing that they have gotten used to being held a certain kind of way when they sleep. Or your body may be telling you that you are too worried about the babies needs and thus can't sleep. Of course there a million options for this change in behavior, but anytime there are changes is a good opportunity to do a check on how the household is operating. Is this a baby lead house or a family lead house?
7 Too Much If You're Trying To Shield Them From Hard Emotions
There is a reason that the Disney movies deal with joy as well as some sadness. This is the life experience that humans have. If a child is exposed to many of the emotions around them as they grow, they will be accustomed to how to deal with them as they age too. This again goes back to teaching by example the ways that we deal with the world around us. A world that doesn't change for us, but that we adapt to in some ways. There is nothing wrong with a child seeing you cry or seeing a little bit of anger. Obviously, you should not be an emotional wrecking ball that travels around your house. You must also show them joy. Again this is understandable that a baby will not have as big of a need for this strategy, but starting young ensures that the path is started and will be established by the time it is needed.
6 Too Much If You're More Emotionally Connected With Child Then Other Adults
When you are telling your baby all your secrets and have little time for expressing yourself to your friends or spouse, that is not a good thing. You are in deep, girlfriend. It's time to take a moment and realize that you need adults. You can't make a baby your best friend, though it is tempting when they start to smile. They can sure make you feel like the weight of the world is not so bad. This is important to remember as they age too. They are not meant to be your best friend. They are not meant to fill a hole. Never let your baby be born into a job. In this case, the job of your companion. You need to put that attention into the relationships you have outside of motherhood too. It's ok to do so.
5 Not Enough When They're Sick
Your child knows when they are being looked after by their parents. You are able to give them the best care. If you see them starting to get sick a little more than is normal for them, try slowing down for a bit. Give them a little more attention and TLC. We all get busy from time to time and the extra week of sickness could be a reminder to slow it down and get some cuddles in. Now that we are coming up on the Christmas season this is probably a good thing to remember. Don't lose sight of the important things while you struggle to meet the holiday expectations. A family that rests together stays together. That isn't a real saying, but it maybe should be. This is not to say that you cause sickness in your child, only that it might be their way of trying to get some time with you.
4 Not Enough If They Are Being Clingy, Irritable, And Aggressive
If your baby all of the sudden exhibits clingy behavior. If they seem to be acting out aggressively and they are beyond irritable, there may be something more to it then just tummy troubles. They might be telling you that they need a little more "you" time. This is, of course, a theory. Since babies can't talk, their only way to complain to you about their treatment is to cry and get mad. It also creates quite a puzzle for the parents at this point since there everyone is just getting used to each other. This means trying to figure out exactly the amount of time everyone needs for sanity is still being worked on. Make sure that if you have a supportive partner they are helping with the making the baby feel that they are getting enough of the household attention allowance.
3 Not Enough If There's A Loss Of Appetite
Who wants to sit down for a meal when they don't have the company that they want with them? Ok, I do. Besides me, though? Baby's and children may lack appetite in times when they are in need of psychological comfort too. Eating together on a schedule may help to get this under control. If they are able to count on you to be there while they are eating it may ease their anxiety. Some can find themselves unable to eat due to something like a separation anxiety. Do the best you can. Don't beat yourself up for and try to stick with it. Again it bears repeating that we all go through spurts where we have less time with our kids than we'd like. Find things to enjoy as a family. It's had to fill the moments with wonder in a baby's life, but it will get easier.
2 Not Enough If There's A Lack Of Sleep
Your little son or daughter may start to figure out that the one time they are able to get your attention is in the middle of the night. This is especially difficult to deal with. Sleep is important for all. It's important to try to deal with this calmly in the next day. You are not going to have your best thought processes firing through your brain in the middle of the night. Rest assured (see what I did there) that even if your baby is getting all the attention in the world there will be off nights. I would be remiss if I didn't point out that you shouldn't look at redoing the whole schedule after just a few sleepless nights. You want to make sure you look at the total picture to figure out what the baby needs.
1 Not Enough If Showing Signs Of Depression
This is very difficult to judge. It would likely be for a much older child than a baby. Depression would most likely be found by looking at the signs above with one addition: a little withdrawn. The child may seem to care less about what the family is doing or where they are going. They don't seem to want to go anywhere with the family preferring to spend time alone and away from the family dynamic. If this starts to happen don't be afraid to ask a professional their thoughts. In addition, pay attention to your mood. If you start to feel your mood decreasing and feelings of guilt creeping in, you may want to spend more time with your child to boost your mood too. Depression can be such a blanket statement for feelings. Try to do your best to gauge how the family is doing and make small adjustments. Every family is unique so time spent is going to vary significantly.