being a postpartum doula, i keep myself informed of the many options out there. so far, my favorite has undoubtedly been RIE. RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educarers. and it began with the lead of one woman, magda gerber. magda gerber created RIE the philosophies of dr. pickler in budapest, hungary, who believed that infants who are allowed to move freely and develop at their own pace, learned self-mastery at a young age.
at the heart of RIE is respect. this means accepting and loving your baby from the beginning. accepting a newborn means meeting your baby where she is. for the first three months a baby needs time to adapt from life outside the womb. your baby needs lots of rest and a calm caregiver, who teaches the baby healthy attachment. this means being fully present and relaxed with each activity you engage your newborn in, from feeding to diapering. RIE philosophy also encourages parents to talk with their baby every step of the way.
when i work with infants, i let them know what i am up to. as i put them down, i tell the baby, "okay, now i am going to lie you down to change your diaper". and then guide the infant verbally throughout the changing procedure. as magda points out, your newborn may not understand right away what you are saying, but over time, she will. and with this conversation you are building a strong bond of trust.
so often we force babies to play with toys from a young age. we often sit a newborn up, propped with pillows, or force it to roll over. we hold babies hands and encourage them to walk when they are barely crawling. the RIE philosophy encourages parents to let your baby lead the way. a young baby is learning so much about the world, and to sit back and observe this learning will teach you, the parent, quite a bit about the personality of your child. you will see what excites and frustrates your child. your baby will naturally roll over and naturally sit up and stand.