If I were to base the way we 'parent', I would say we let our baby choose his desires. Some may call this "attachment parenting", others may call it "spoiling our baby", but I consider us letting Ethan guide his own life and making his own choices. But wait, he's only 16 weeks old! It is amazing how much a baby can tell you if you just pay attention.... for instance:
Even though we followed a routine, I always put Ethan down when he wanted to go down. I watched for signs. If it got to the point of him screaming, then I knew we weren't 'listening' to him. Now, I watch for the signs. When he is rubbing his eyes, yawning, whining a little, nuzzling into my neck (greatest feeling ever!), I know he needs a nap. In the early weeks, we couldn't understand why he cried so much...well I believe all along he just wanted to sleep. Babies really do sleep a ton! I try not to look at the clock, even though he is pretty much up for one hour between naps, but lately it's gradually getting longer. Now, we don't have to rock him to sleep (although sometimes I'd like to I know he doesn't want this.... it's forcing him to fall asleep). Now I lay him down in his crib or playpen, or simply lay him in my arms if I want to hold him, and he falls asleep on his own.
In the morning, because mom wants a bit extra sleep, and Ethan isn't really ready to start the day, I bring him into bed with us (around 7 or 8am) and he sleeps with us, and nurses at his own free will on a constant basis....I listen to his signs, and whatever he needs, I can provide it for him, either comfort or milk.
We had a rough start with breastfeeding, and I never really "gave up", but sometimes I would just take a break and start again. It took a solid 12 weeks to get him to nurse exclusively. Because of this, he follows a routine more than "on demand" during the day....but in the same sense, I am nursing him after his naps, which is when he wants to eat. Ethan is a very "routine oriented" baby and this is how he wants his day to go. I will always offer a feed when he seems hungry - sometimes he takes it sometimes he doesn't - it's HIS choice.
Throughout the night, he does feed more often now - anywhere from one to three feedings. I don't try to offer just a pacifier or ignore his cries....I offer a breast. He may only take for a couple minutes, or simply fall asleep on my lap and that's ok. I will never put cereal in his bottle to "fill him up" or give him formula before bed to "keep him full". (However, I do not judge people that would do this, because maybe this does work for them, and that is fine with me! Happy babies = happy parents!)
In the morning, as I mentioned above, he comes into our bed where we snuggle and nurse as often as he likes. It's a special time for us and it's not going to last for very long so I want as much of it as possible.
When he is 6 months (or older - when he is ready), we are going to take the "Baby-Led Weaning" approach. This means no spoon feeding, no cereals, no specific order of foods to give baby. He eats what we eat, when we eat. There are some guidelines, but not too many, and a very good book I am reading is "Baby Led Weaning: The Essential Guide" which is posted a few posts below with a link to Amazon. Essentially, baby will eat what he wants and isn't being forced fed purees. I won't get into detail because I'm not advocating this, it's just something we want to do. Thankfully I got the Baby Brezza at our shower, and it will be great for steaming different vegetables so he can "gum" them up in his mouth. When we get closer to when he is ready for solids, I will post more on it and what it's about.
Ethan is held....a lot. We have many options....arms, Moby Wrap (although he is getting a bit old for that), a woven wrap (great for forward facing), a ring sling and a carrier. Now here is the catch: people tell us we are spoiling our baby and he will never want to be put down. This is so not true. Sometimes he cries when we are holding him, and guess what, he wants to be put down! If I have something that needs to get done, and it's not safe for him to be in my arms (like cooking), I can put him down and he plays by himself, sometimes up to 25 minutes or so. So spoiled, I think not.
So here is a bit of a glimps of what we do and how we do it. We have a very happy baby and I only think it will get better. There is ONE thing Ethan has no choice over....and that is his photography sessions :) As a photographer I just can't help myself and one day his wife will greatly appreciate it. Here is a look at what was done a few days ago with a fellow photographer. She did a great job posing him and getting him to smile while I took a million shots!