There is a mother’s story here on the Christopherus website’s “Waldorf Baby” section that may interest those of you thinking about how to bring rhythm to your baby (and my personal caveat is that this is one mother’s story and does not necessarily reflect my own personal opinion! But good ideas for thought! And please note the number of times this mother says the establishment of rhythm must be done over time, and gently!)
As a lay breastfeeding counselor, I have to say here the idea is NOT scheduled feedings; scheduled feedings in breastfeeding mother/infant dyads can lead to failure to thrive! Please remember this rule: RHYTHM is TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN A SET SCHEDULE! That being said, however, it is about being able to see as your infant grows and gently OVER TIME what sort of rhythm to the day you are setting in order to protect the infant’s 12 senses (if you need help remembering which of the 12 senses is affected by rhythm, try this post here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/06/22/the-twelve-senses/)
It is also interesting to me that many parents comment how their second, third and subsequent children fall more easily into a rhythmical pattern than their first…I feel this is probably because a more set flow to the day is already in place and you are not re-creating the rhythmical wheel.
It is also remembering that from a Waldorf point of view, you are not “squishing” your infant’s individual temperament or anything else by providing a flow to things. In my personal experience, children who are “high-needs” are by definition VERY irrhythmic, irregular and need your gentle help to move them towards rhythmical patterns….This can be very difficult for parents to accept and work with! Re-frame your thoughts in this way: you are providing a rhythm that not only uplifts and enfolds your infant and their personal traits and their health but also provides peace and harmony for the whole family as well. This is setting the tone in your own home, and your rhythm is just what your family does. Again, rhythm is just about life within your family; we rest and we play, we go outside and are active, we are inside and we listen and are quieter. There should be an ease and a flow to it, not a “military” sense of punctuality!
Within Waldorf parenting and Waldorf parenting, sleep and rest are very important cornerstones, one that rhythm is very important in promoting and preserving and I am going to address this important topic in another post. Get your cup of tea ready, because the way Steiner and Waldorf Education views sleep may be different than what you have ever heard of before!
Blessings on this day,