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My Child is Normal–Whew!

Allison, one of my readers, recommended Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  I recently got this book in the mail (since it was backordered with the rest of my stuff for 4 weeks with Amazon’s super saver shipping . . . argh!)  I’ve already read through most of it, and the most encouraging thing is that my child’s sleep habits are totally healthy and normal for his age.  Whew!  I was beginning to worry.

I have friends who co-sleep and share the family bed with their children who are pushing 3-,4-, 6-years old.  And, I have friends who put their babies in cribs in other rooms and let them cry it out while doing the meticulous by-the Babywise-book sleep/feed/wake schedule.   We’ve been somewhere in the middle. . . combining several parenting philosophies and responding to the uniqueness of our son.  While I love recounting the wisdom of multiple philosophies with parenting, I’ve also found myself treading unknown waters in numerous occasions which has left me feeling less than adequate as a mommy.

There is no perfect method that works across the board for every child.  Well, I’d say the Bible’s method of parenting is perfect, but there aren’t a lot of details on parenting specifics like when to breastfeed, start solids, wean, sleep habits, teething, and potty training.  The Bible is pretty much silent on those specifics for babies.   So, at least the Good LORD gave moms other moms and women to learn from.  Without them, life would be pretty rough as a new mom.

I’ve posted before on the sleep concerns I’ve had about Calvin.  We’ve set up a regular bedtime routine and fairly consistent naptimes and bedtimes when Calvin was much younger, but so many other factors seemed to just jack things up.

Some books say, wake up the baby after you nurse them so they don’t learn to rely on milk to fall asleep.  Of course that rule violates the, “never wake a sleeping baby” rule.  Gosh!  What’s a parent to do in light of so many opposing philosophies?

Something I’ve learned from other moms who fretted about the nursing to sleep thing . . . babies WILL outgrow it.  Some sooner than others.  When they’re newborns, they nurse for food and for comfort, and often they fall asleep.  By the time they’re 4- or 5-months old (some sooner, some later), they’ll learn to stay awake after they eat.

I have TONS of mom friends whose babies sleep through the night.  By that, I mean they put ’em to bed at bedtime (7 PM or so) and then they sleep through 10 to 12 hours before waking.  Wow. If your child does that, you are a blessed parent.  Sleep is a blessing.  Precious, precious blessing.

But guess what?  If your child does night waking because he’s hungry once or twice at night before he’s 9-months old, THAT’S NORMAL!  Yay!  Calvin’s normal.  Yes, his frequency of night waking decreased once we put him on solids, now, he only wakes once or twice at night to eat.

At first, I try the soothe/suck method with the pacifier (the Gerber NUK is chiropractic pediatrician-endorsed for cranial bone development!).  Sometimes we try water because the poor dear really is parched.  When letting him be fails and his cries escalate to ear-piercing madness and none of the soothing methods work. . . then I go to work.  After a good ol’ 10-20 minutes of nursing, he drifts off to sleep, and life is good.

Sure, I’d love a good 10-hour stretch of sleeping baby bliss.  Yet, I think if that happened, I’d feel over-rested and not know what to do with myself–plus I’d rush over to the crib wondering what the heck’s going on with Calvin!  I must mention that I do ask Steve to go to the crib more frequently lately.  Because it’s a simple fact: mom = milk.  If Calvin sees me, and I give him the sippy cup, all hell breaks loose.  However, if Steve goes to him and offers him water and that’s truly all he needed, then we’re all back to sleeping within minutes.

I thought I was having a rough time with the sleep thing . . . there have definitely been days/nights when all 3 of us were just plump tuckered out . . . but I read some of the horror stories in Dr. Weissbluth’s book  (which already told me Calvin’s habits were healthy and normal) and I realized that screaming 3-year-olds who would not nap, and couldn’t fall asleep on their own. . . now, THAT was a problem.  We definitely went through varied stages of that at different times, but as he grows older, and things get easier.

Sometimes your child doesn’t respond like other people’s kids.  Sometimes your child isn’t going along with what “the books” say.  But, as long as your baby is healthy, generally in a happy temperament (colic’s a whole other ballgame), then your parenting style is working for your family.  It’s just nice when you happen to find at least one other family on the planet that’s going through the same things as you. . . and it doesn’t hurt to find a book, authored by a doctor, no less, who assures you about the normalcy of what you’re experiencing.  Because, let’s face it, parenting with your first baby is the most (fill in your adjective here) difficult and incredibly rewarding experience of a lifetime.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything else!

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3 Responses

  1. Glad the book was helpful! And glad it’s only once or twice a night now. Blessings.

  2. I liked thispost! I could have written it myself because I have felt and experienced the same thigs! I’m glad Carter seems “normal” too although I do hope to get his patterns a little more structured soon! I’ll have to get that book and read it!

  3. Amen! You need to find what works for your baby and your family – which is really hard when you’re not sure what is healthy and right! But you’re doing a great job, and you have a sweet, precious little man, and one day you’ll look back at all this and wish your biggest challenge was getting him to sleep through the night! (I often tell myself that when overwhelmed!). So enjoy him while he’s little and desperately wants you! It passes too soon . . .

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