With Squishels so young, protection is a big part of how we parent. Various aspects of protecting her include using knowledge and experience when respecting and empowering her choices, being wise when using social media regarding her and being available when she doesn't feel safe.
A lot of the time, Squishels is wanting to get into everything: food, clothes, toys, random things. Being a parent, and protecting Squishels, means knowing what is safe for her to explore, and when. For example, whilst baby-led weaning is something we are aiming to do with our baby, we know that these first signs of interest and intrigue in food doesn't make her 'ready' for eating just yet. So, a big part of our protecting Squishels is putting in the boundaries that will keep her safe, even if that means not respecting or empowering her other desires.
Social media, and even just photography, is another huge part of how we protect Squishels. Every image put onto Facebook, or Squishels and Me, or emailed to family, is discussed between Daddy J and I about what the image could be portrayed as. For facebook, or email, no bare chest or nappy only shots are allowed. For Squishels and Me, any photo indicating Squishels' identity is also not included. Going to the swimming pool, or the beach, where strangers can see my baby, Squishels wears a one-piece bathing suit and care is taken with nappy changes and nappy-free time that only trusted people are around.
Another big part of protecting Squishels is being available for her through big emotions, such as fear, distrust and pain. For a big emotion like distrust, there is an easy fix- take Squishels out of the environment or from the person causing her these issues (so, cuddles with Mummy or Daddy). However, fear and pain are often emotions where we have to be the adult in the situation and be with our baby whilst she learns the emotion, that the emotion will go away and that her caregivers are O.K. with her feeling these emotions. However, we can't necessarily take away the pain- teething will hurt, and getting stabbed with needles to be vaccinated will hurt. Nightmares will scare, as will big loud noises. We can't take these things away for our little girl, but we can be with her during the emotions.
So, through a very strict set of boundaries and freedom, we attempt to protect our child as we follow her lead. Every parent will do this differently, and this is just a snapshot of how we do it in our household.