Friday, October 15, 2010

Accidental parenting perpetuated

Today my boy is 13-months-old and he has slept through the night exactly twice. Last night it was 1:30am, 2:30am and 5:30am (up for the day, mind you). This is why I require 3 cups of coffee to get me through my day. But this is my own fault.

Maybe it's because he's my last. Maybe it's because he's such a sweet, little cuddler. Maybe it's my paranoia that his crying will wake the girls, so I got in the habit of rushing in too soon. I know exactly what I need to do to fix this, but I have yet to commit to it. I've adjusted to the sleeplessness; Five hours of sleep in a row and I feel amazing. But this is not good for my body and this is not good for baby's growth and development. Or is it?

Here's where that battle of the minds begins. One mind is the student of parenting and child development. The other is mommy. Student mind says, "let him cry longer, he's old enough. He should not be having a bottle in the middle of the night!" Mommy mind says, "But he drinks the whole thing, so he must be hungry. And he cries because he wants me and I don't mind."

So, I argue with myself. Disciplinarian vs softy mommy.

Grr. What to do?


  1. Both minds are right... both choices are fine and do no just have to decide what you can live with.

  2. If he's drinking the entire bottle, then he must be hungry. My three sons always seemed hungry. As Jenn says, there are no strict rules that apply to every child.

  3. I always say follow your heart. Your heart knows your child and you. Maybe he isn't the only one who needs these middle of the night snuggles. Maybe he is going through a growth spurt and actually needs more food.

    Whatever the reason, take your time. Do it when it feels right. If I could go back in time with my kids, that's one thing I would change. I would quit listening to what everyone else says and follow my heart, doing things when they felt right.

  4. Oh, I remember those days! Following you from the blog frog message boards!

  5. Oh what a dilemma! I, thank goodness, have never had to face this issue. Both my girls taught themselves to sleep through the night at a very young age so I didn't have to do anything.
    But I think Jenn is right, you just have to decide what you can live with. If the bonding time with him in the middle of the night is still more important than those extra moments of sleep for you then stick with the way things are. But make sure you are taking care of yourself too!

  6. Battling with myself is a constant here too. There is the intellectual and rational me that has all the educational background behind it, but then there is the Mom side of me laden with all the issues of her own childhood....
    Thank you for stopping by my blog and deciding to follow me :)

  7. I remember having to let my children cry themselves to sleep. It was awful!!!
    It was hardest with my oldest. I remember following some advice that helped. I'd stay in his room for awhile and rub his head. Then I'd move farther away. Then I let him know I'd be right outside the room, and he had to go to sleep. I showed him how to rub his special blanket against his face. The trick was to never give in and go back in his room. I made the mistake once and had to start all over. His crying time got longer than usual. Once he knew I wasn't coming back in, he could fall asleep without me or a bottle. It only took 2 or 3 nights. After that he would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. I could check on him to make sure nothing was wrong. When I left the room he didn't do his screaming and crying, because he knew I wouldn't give in. I remember worrying about my son needing food. My husband said he was sure he wouldn't starve and it's okay for him to be a little uncomfortable. Your other kids might have to put up with crying for a few days too if you decide to follow through with a similar plan to mine.

    I'd explore some expert advice online. Your son may make this a habit for much longer than you can handle. You can get your extra cuddles during the day when you both are well rested.

  8. I guess I'd ask myself if his waking up at nite and your sleep-deprivation is affecting your marriage and your dealings with your other kids. Then, does it affect your relationships with people beyond your family.
    If you feel good after 5 hours of sleep, imagine how good you'd feel after 7-8 hours!


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