Friday, November 20, 2009

The Independent Baby

This has been on my mind a lot lately, as Joseph gets older and still needs us so much at night, and we get more and more "side eyes" about how much and where he wakes/eats/sleeps. This isn't about any single person's opinion, so just in advance - this post is not about some conversation I had with you, reader (unless you are the girl at LLL described below)!

I had a good discussion on Wednesday about sleep at my La Leche League meeting. One woman said something that hit home with me. There is this push to have "independent babies" in our culture, and parents get pressure from friends, family, even colleagues, about nighttime parenting.

This woman discussed with her husband and decided to give their daughter permission to need them at any time. So interesting. It seems so obvious, but often times we're pressured by society to think that at night a baby shouldn't (or doesn't) need you; it should sleep and wake up in the morning to be tended to. But it's generally just not true! Sure, there are some babies who sleep from 7pm to 7am without a squeak. But that's not most people's normal. And even if it was, why wouldn't I just accept that Joseph is different than other kids. I already accept that he is more brilliant than those other babies (I kid, I kid!)

Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there. I'm giving Joseph permission to need me, too.

Joseph still needs me at night, and that's OK with me.


Leslie November 20, 2009 at 4:51 PM  

I tend to agree with you. I was pretty set on not letting my son CIO. My husband and I attended to all his needs all night long. Around the time he was three months old, he began waking up frequently throughout the night. (From the time he was six weeks old, he only woke up twice - to eat and that was it.) We dealt with it. He is five months old and last night we just tried Ferber for the first time. We only did it as a last resort and because none of us were sleeping at night, not even my son. It was very hard, but it worked. I don't know if it will continue to work, but something had to give. Especially because my son is not a good napper, either.

My philosophy is that I am always there if my son needs me. But it had gotten to the point where I was in his way of learning how to sleep on his own. We were all miserable. I hate that he had to cry for an hour last night. I hate, hate, hate it. But we had tried every other sleep solution out there. And we checked in often to make sure he knew we weren't abandoning him.

I know I sound defensive, but it is possible to sleep train and still give your child permission to need you at night.

cjeanette November 20, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

Now if I could revoke the permission from my four year old :-). He needs me more now that as an infant!

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