I sleep train my babies. I put them on a schedule. I allow them to cry a little.
Now that I have said that, I can hear all of the Attachment Parents screaming, “Child abuser!”
And then I am supposed to respond with some equally inane and overused accusation like, “Baby spoiler!”
After that it will all dissolve into name calling, anecdotal “facts”, questionable studies, and vitriol.
But I don’t like to ride that train. I don’t think it benefits anyone. I have never met a mother that switched from one method to the other because of an accusatory facebook meme or the rantings of someone on the other side of the fence. That isn’t what this post is about, anyway. This blog is about The Blessing, and how her extra chromosome has impacted our lives.
Now that I have that out of the way, this is what I wanted to say:
I sleep train my babies and they have all slept through the night at between 2 and 8 weeks. I did this “by the book” with my first (and by “the book”, yes, I mean Baby Wise). But as each new kid came along and my confidence in my mothering skills grew, I began tailoring my methods to fit each baby individually. Each baby needed a different version of the sleep training – some cried more, some less. With the sixth baby I learned about listening to your babies cries (a very interesting idea – learn more here), and that was an amazing skill for me to learn. All of this to say that I have tailored my methods to each baby with great results, to wit, contented, happy, babies; cheerful, secure children; and a healthy, well-rested mama.
Then along came The Blessing, and with her a traumatic hospital stay, a shocking diagnosis, and all of the uncertainty of a first time mom. Out the window my ideals flew, and with it my confidence and peace. Could I sleep train this new little one? Should I? My gut reaction to the hospital stay, in which I was unable to hold her for days, was to hold her all of the time. Out came the sling as a daily part of my wardrobe, and I held her almost constantly for about a week. The Man jokingly asked me, “are we attachment parenters, now?” and I shrugged my shoulders with a shy grin. Maybe.
In spite of this mostly emotion-fueled way that I was doing things, I knew that it was short lived. Six children I have been raising, six plants in my fertile garden, all six thriving under my careful hand. How could these six successes not spur me to do the same same for my seventh as well. She needed sleep as much as, or even more than, her siblings did. Besides, I was tired. Dog tired.
And so, in the third week of her life, I began sleep training with The Blessing, albeit in an extremely gentle and slow manner. She was already on a fairly strict feeding schedule because of her weight gain and nursing issues, and she had been sleeping in her Moses basket at night all along, so it was not a big deal to begin putting her in her basket for naps, letting her fuss hersof to sleep here and there, and setting a more deliberate rhythm to her days and nights.
This child, being the easiest baby that I ever had the pleasure of knowing, took right to it and was sleeping 6-8 hours a night at 7 weeks old.
The reason that I am writing about this now, when she is at the ripe old age of four and a half months is that she is now not able to take naps in her bed. I have researched sleep for people with T21, and it seems to be a common thing for them to have troubles sleeping. While The Blessing still sleeps 8 hours at night (and longer if I’d let her, which I don’t because I am still trying to pack the pounds on her), her sleep during the day is restless, broken up with fits of crying, and overall not good. She wakes up puffy eyed and dazed. I know she needs more rest.
And so, we decided to start wearing her in the sling for a nap or two each day. She sleeps better there and that is what is important.
Attachment parenter I am not. Baby Wise parenter I am not.
I am a balancer of extremes.
I am a tailor of parenting methods – stitching together the best of both philosophies to make the perfect fit for each of my children.
And while the extra chromosome may have challenged my ability to do that, it also made that tailoring even more necessary.