Better Parenting

by David and Charissa Scotford

Volcanos and Funnels - Part 2

baby photos

Where do babies fit?

Last month we started looking at ‘parenting inside the funnel’. Basically that means only giving our children the physical and verbal freedoms they are developmentally and morally ready for.

Ideally, a baby sits at the bottom of our funnel. This means that we acknowledge that he doesn’t have much life experience, physical capability, morality or wisdom to make the choices that need to be made to ensure he is adequately cared for. As his parents, we need to make most of his decisions for him.

We know that he needs adequate sleep and nutrition to thrive. We also know that he needs his nappy changed and to be dressed and bathed regularly and we have the capability to do those things. He doesn’t. He can certainly let us know that something’s wrong by crying. If we’re attentive, we might quickly work out that he has a different cry for his different needs.

By the time my babies were about 6 weeks old, I’d worked out that they had different cries for hunger, pain and when they were tired. This enabled me to use my wisdom in helping them as they needed it.

Sometimes parents forget, or might not know, that babies cry for reasons other than hunger. This leads to them presuming that every cry is a cry for food so they feed their baby every time he cries. Feeding a baby too regularly leads to parental and child fatigue as well as a lack of adequate nutrition in breast fed babies, as he doesn’t get enough of the mother’s nutrient rich hind milk, rather than ‘snacking’ on the less nutritious foremilk.

Wrongly assuming that ‘baby knows best’ can lead to our funnel being turned upside down and suddenly, we are parenting in a volcano. As parents, we need to trust that we know more than our babies and we can best help them by directing their day, whilst learning to read the signals they are giving us to help care for them.

Giving a baby too many freedoms in the early days leads to poor feeding and sleeping patterns which can negatively affect both parents and baby.

For more information on directing your baby’s day to establish healthy feed and sleep patterns, please see our website

Whether you are expecting your first child or have several children at different stages, 4 The Family is a parenting ministry to help you. Through DVDs, seminars and personalised support, 4 The Family helps parents in Australia and throughout the world as they tackle one of life's toughest jobs - parenthood.

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