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Taking one day at a time...

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  • Friday, February 10, 2006

    Getting Things In Perspective...

    I will not and cannot, in good and clear conscience, "Ferberize" my child. I do not believe in making a baby "cry it out." And I wish some people would stop second-guessing me. I have a mothering instinct that tells me what I should do and I rely on that. I believe a baby should sleep in its parents' bed for, at the very least, the first year. I am not opposed to having that timeframe last longer or shorter, given the personality of the child. I never thought that way until I had my son and I used to think people who let their kids sleep with them were crazy. Becoming a mother has taught me a lot. I am, however, facing a dilemma. I am trusting that my instincts will tell me what is the best thing to do. And I'm sick of hearing certain people tell me I'm wrong (e.g. childless people who offer unsolicited advice and those who operate under the old school of thought that says a baby should "cry it out"). Therefore, I will not listen to any words of advice from these people. I have a good method of dealing with these people; if they cannot respect my choices, they and their rotten advice will be ignored. Period. I am my child's mother, not anyone else.

    Baby Jack is now one year old. He will be getting a sibling in a few short months. Therefore, moving him out of the family bed is essential to make room for the new arrival, whose needs will be more urgent. Jack, however, will not sleep longer than two hours at a time in his crib. And Hubby and I are at odds at what to do. We both agree that he needs to get used to his crib...soon; not just for naps, which he handles just fine now. At night, however, the crib becomes Jack's enemy. He wakes up two hours after being put in it and screams and shakes it. He's terrified, it seems. And perhaps he's lonely. Hubby and I had a talk about this last night and have come to a reasonable solution that offers to teach Jack about transitioning into his crib.

    Our solution is to put his crib in our room until he can get used to not sleeping in between us. I would like to try that, since not only am I a working mother, I'm also seven months pregnant. Rest is mandatory. Not only do I work outside of the home, but I'm also working once I get home, chasing a walking/running/jumping one-year-old who's physical activity has become much more demanding lately. My days are long, with few breaks and no time for fucking around.

    I do not want a war with my husband, but I cannot in good faith listen to the "baby trainers" that insist on letting Jack "cry it out." I'm not made that way. I cannot do things the old school way. Even Dr. Ferber recanted his earlier expert advice and has now decided that "crying it out" really isn't best. So, what's a mother with a heart that's larger than her body to do?

    This is the dilemma I'm facing. Sure, I can get up several times a night, but I won't be alert at work, nor will I be able to function at my normal peak levels, in or out of my home. I'm growing a baby and I'm raising a baby, as well. And mothering cannot be what suffers as a result. I am a mother first and a teacher second. My priorities are in order. I just need to figure out the best way to help my son learn how to sleep in his crib well. For being a teacher, this is one thing I thought I could teach him and I seem to be failing. I'm so tired of crying about it and so tired of hearing certain people condemn me for trusting my instincts. What comes to me is natural. I'm no hippie mother, but I'm not a militant mother, either.

    Do tell what worked for you, as I am running out of viable options that will keep my sanity from suffering. I believe firmly in attachment parenting and I'm curious as to what worked and what didn't work for you. Hubby and I are trying to compromise on this issue, but it's difficult. No one said parenting would be easy, we know. No one said just how hard each decision would be, though. I did find, however, three other women at work who had their babies in their beds with them. They are a support team I was clearly in need of having. That's a plus for me because they've helped me gain some perspective on this issue. At least I know of others who faced my similar dilemma, although none of them have children as close together in age as I will. What's great about this group of women is that they, too, don't believe a child should be taught fear and abandonment from its own mother and father at such an early age. Sleep is a good thing; not something that should cause a child fear and anxiety. I am glad I've reached out to these women. They've helped me see that my instincts are not faulty.

    I am a Mother. And I don't want to screw this up. Yeah, I'll make mistakes along the way, but I don't want to teach my baby about abandonment when he's just a little guy. My head and my heart just won't let me do that. I can wait until he's older for when he's an adolescent and he teaches me that he doesn't need me anymore. Hubby isn't arguing with me about this. We don't want a war with each other. He says that I'm going to do what's best and that we just have to help Jack learn the fine art of sleeping in his crib. If we put the crib in our room, we can ease it out of the room, hopefully, by the time the new baby arrives. Both of us are learning as we go. Each day is different and we both love our son very, very much. We want what's best for him and for us. At least Hubby and I aren't killing each other over this. That's a good thing. We have our moments when we disagree about stuff like this, but together we are very strong. Ya gotta love that.

    I'm so drained; emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was able to get a good night's sleep last night because Jack was in bed with us. I have a three-day weekend due to Lincoln's birthday on Monday, so tonight we will try again with the crib. Sunday is Jack's birthday party, so it's going to be a long, long weekend if this child decides he doesn't want to sleep in his crib every other hour of the night. I wish I had an "easy" button, but I know there's no such thing. Gah...


    • At 9:41 AM, February 10, 2006, Blogger sue said…

      Oh, hon... I can see you're really torn on this. I had four children, and we never let them sleep in our bed... having said that, I am not saying you are wrong. Kids don't come with manuals. Every one of them is a unique creature with their own wants and needs and each of us had no instructions on how to meet those wants and needs. Basically, we're flyin' by the seat of our pants. Even tho' I didn't let the kids sleep in our bed, I spent many, many hours holding them and rocking them - either to put them to sleep, put them back to sleep, or comfort them when they were sick. (I don't think my youngest slept for the first year due to so many ear infections!)

      So, I guess I'm not much help. Sounds like you have a plan and it makes logical sense to me... but when it comes down to it YOU have to do what you feel is best for you and Jack. {{{{hugs}}}}}

    • At 11:59 AM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous Mom/Grandma said…

      I agree with the above comment. Every parent is different; every child is different. What works for one may not work for another. It's a "hit or miss" situation raising a child. Some kids love their crib; others feel absndoned. Putting the crib in your room is a good idea. HOpe it works. Love, Mom

    • At 12:28 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous your sister who admires your natural mothering abilities said…

      What a wonderful idea - putting the crib in your room! That way, even if he does get up, you'll only have to pat him on the back before he gets all in a lather (hopefully). That may make the transition easier.

      Also, they make those little bed/platforms that mount to the side of the bed. Maybe that's something to consider for the new little one when he/she comes along.

      Hang in there, Amy! We love you and your family so much! Whatever you're doing, it's the right thing.

    • At 1:07 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger ccw said…

      I, also, do not have any great advice as I have never been able to sleep with a baby/kid and have never considered co-sleeping as an option for me.

      I think the crib in the room or one of those that is on the side of your bed sounds like a great start. If you can get him used to his crib, eventually you will be able to move it into his own room.

      The best thing you can do is whatever you and your family is comfortable with. I'm sure once you try out some options you will find something that works for everyone. Good luck!

    • At 1:46 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger Erin said…

      Aww hon, I know this is hard. I am with you, I refuse to let my children 'cry it out'. I think it is inhumane. Sure, I'll wait a few minutes to see if they can calm themselves (many times within 3-5 minutes they do) but that's my limit.

      I like the crib in the room idea. That may help get him transitioned. What I did with Dough Boy was put him in his room each night at first. When he woke, I would bring him down to our room and then I would co-sleep for the rest of the night. (the kids rooms are upstairs and ours is down).

      Sometimes, when he wakes it is just to play. He has no interest in nursing or sleeping. If that happens, I sit up with him for about 30 minutes and let him play and then I either nurse him or give him a bottle of milk while I rock him back to sleep (we've never done formula with him, although we did with The Princess).

      Typically, once he is back to sleep I put him back into his crib and he sleeps the rest of the night. Although, there have been many a long night here in our house!

      Other things I do for both kids to make the night time easier: Same ritual every night (I'm sure you do the same), soft light in their room, music in the girl's room and Dough Boy has a waves CD (I put these on repeat, so they play throughout the night.)

      Finally, Dough Boy only goes down asleep. I cannot put him into his crib awake EVER, or else he just stays up screaming. I know people say you should 'teach' them to go to sleep on their own, and we were very easily able to do that with The Princess. But not the boy!

      For me, I'll do whatever it takes to get my kids to sleep, comfortably and happily everynight. Sure, our night time rituals take almost 2 hours on bath nights, but it is so worth it.

      Oh, and one more thing: if you end up having to co-sleep with both for a short period of time, you should invest in one of those edge protectors you see for kids beds. That way, the baby can sleep next to you on the edge, Jack can stay in between. Just be sure never to put Jack and the baby next to each other. Co-sleeping guru types say that toddlers and preschoolers don't wake as easily as the parents if they accidentally roll over on top of their siblings.

      Hope that helps. Sorry for the novel comment!

    • At 3:27 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger cubmommy said…

      What can I say that everyone else hasn't? Nothing. I agreee with everyone above. All kids are different and you have to adjust accordingly. I think do whatever makes you feel comfortable and that is the right answer.

    • At 8:27 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger Blog This! said…

      I read your post, and while I understand that you are against the cry it out method, I just wanted to share my story with you. Every child is different. What works for some doesn't work for others. Im not saying this will work for your son, but, Im just suggesting it as a something to try, should you get desperate enough for some sleep.

      My son never, ever slept well. From newborn until 2 years old he was a terrible sleeper. The boy who did not need sleep. The boy who rather cry or play or do anything but sleep. Or so I thought... In desperation I read a book on sleep issues in children and it suggested the cry it out method, combined with establishing healthy sleeping patterns for your child. In the book it says that children are not born "sleepers" despite what many parents want you to believe. We as parents owe it to our children to teach them to become good sleepers by providing them with a proper sleep environment. As I read on I realized that everything my husband and I were doing was setting him up to have unsuccessful and interrupted sleep at night. As soon as we changed things and established a healthy sleep environment for our son, we began the cry it out method. He cried for one week straight. The first couple nights it was three to four hours total on and off of crying. It broke our hearts but we kept up with it. The next few nights it was a half hour of crying here and there. By the 6th night or so he didnt even cry! He established a healthy sleep pattern and has slept through the night (barring teething and sickness) every night since. It was an eye opener to say the least!

      I think in your situation, the sleep environment that you setup for your son worked for you at the time - nestled cozy in your bed. But, now that you are having another, that sleep environment has to be changed. So, its going to take a bit of crying on his part (and heartbreak on yours) in order to establish a new environment and healthy sleep patterns. If you tough it out, I promise you that it will work! And although putting him in a crib in your room sounds good, its just another sleep environment that will eventually have to be changed, so might as well go all out and just put him in his own room.

      Good luck!

    • At 8:58 PM, February 10, 2006, Blogger mamalife said…

      Well, I think everyone above (except "blog this") has great advice...AND you are so right to, in the end, listen to your own instincts. Every parent and every baby is different, so what works for one will not work for another. My baby slept only in my arms or my bed until she was 8 months old. Then I decided she needed to at least nap in her crib for my sanity, so I had a few minutes each day to myself. With much protest and agony on both our parts, we finally got there. When I then decided to move her into her crib at night, I'd put her down after she fell asleep (at almost 22 months old, other than naps on days I work she has only ever fallen asleep in my arms and at my breast)- then the first time she awoke, I'd bring her into our bed for the rest of the night (ok, and secretly I did not sleep well until she woke up and joined us - I missed her!) ... finally it got to a point near a year that she was up every hour for a week and driving me crazy with no sleep - so in desperation one night about 3am I told my hubby to go put her in her crib, certain I'd hear loud crying protests from her - much to my surprise, she went right to sleep and after spent all night every night in her crib (though most nights she still gets up once to nurse) ... I guess she finally decided she needed some space of her own to sleep. I do like your idea of the crib in your room at first. I also like the other commenters idea of allowing him to stay in between you and your hubby and getting a co-sleeper for your new little guy. Good luck!


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