Nourishing body, mind, & soul.

RIE: Treating Your Baby With Respect

on February 26, 2014

I have always spoken to Luna and explained most everything that was occurring or what was about to occur, whether it be going in the car or changing a diaper or getting the bath ready.  I have done this since she was a little peanut.  Infants are not blobs and have an amazing, developing brain that is taking everything in.  They think for themselves and have their own persona and will, so to restrict them is almost to disrespect them.  What I did not know, until a client pointed out to me, is that I was following a certain methodology already in place.

This brings me to an innovate school of thought for raising a child called RIE, Resources for Infant Educarers.  Founded in 1970 by Magda Gerber, who was a world-renowned child therapist and infant specialist.  Magda Gerber developed a philosophy of infant care based on treating infants with respect and trust in their abilities to develop naturally at their own pace.  A basic principle of RIE is respect and trust a baby’s inborn capacities. Practice telling the baby what you’re going to do before you do it, so it’s not a surprise.  Talking calmly to the baby, especially when crying.  Do not force a baby to sit up, rollover, have “tummy time”, because they will do all these things when they are ready – on their own time.   Create an environment in which the child is allowed to move freely and without interference – they learn to move gracefully and securely.  Trust the babies’ natural instincts and find a way to work with them by interpreting their cries and not becoming alarmed by them; making a safe, quiet environment filled with simple toys that promote imagination and by taking a back seat instead of steering the baby toward a place or goal.  

The program believes we should celebrate babies’ immaturity, their hyper-awareness, and their lack of control and inhibition because that’s what makes them imaginative and so quick to learn.  It discourages “junk” from the $16 billion toy industry and $49 billion baby industry, instead use whats in your cupboard, make a box, use tins.  This holds true for me, Luna always preferred pots and pans over toys.  Even to this day, she focuses on her creativity using blankets and boxes rather than toys.

There are some rules with RIE that may seem outlandish to some, but keep in mind you can use what you like and leave the rest.  For example, no rattles because they are made by adults, no mobiles because the baby has no choice but to look at it, no pacifiers because it is a plug restricting the babies’ cries or voice, no baby carriers because they are “mobile prisons”,  no sippy cups or high chairs because they are disrespectful,  no bouncer because they are made to have them zone out or stop annoying you, and the list goes on…  

In my experience, Luna has always preferred to sit in a normal chair, use a normal fork or spoon, use a normal glass, use a normal plate… Mind you, I did not raise my baby knowing this method even existed.  I never used those plastic baby plates, cups, forks, spoons and I simply used what I had in my home.  She likes having the same plate and utensils that Mommy has, it makes her happy and feel confident.  I let her roam, move, jump, run as she pleases and you know what?!  She is has amazing coordination, movement and balance from way before age 2!  So, there is something to this RIE.  We all have to do what works for each of us and what makes our lives the best it can be.

Be mindful, be respectful, no matter the age.

Ps. Luna really doesn’t need toys… Look!


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