It’s the strangest but most common question I get asked:
“Is he a good baby?”
Um, yeah. How do I answer that? “Nah, he’s got flaws but Mater don’t offer refunds?”
I do what most parents do: smile and nod.
“So he sleeps through the whole night, then?”
No. Is he supposed to? Is this what makes a good child, one that doesn’t still need the 3am feed? OMG, I have a dud baby because at 6 weeks, 3 months, and now 6 months my child still wakes up through the night.
I have had many people tell me I have to train Ethan how to sleep through the night. I have to use the cry-it-out method. I need to teach him to work to my schedule not have me work to his. A few months, weeks ago I would have looked at the ground in shame and went off to try these things I apparently have to do. I am a new mum, I’ve only got 6 months under my belt. And, these were midwives and child health nurses giving me this information. I have attempted CIO (Cry it out) twice and both times ended with Ethan and I being more distressed. I get distressed and he picks up on that when I go in after the allotted 2-5 min. The combined distressed was just too much for my little man and he threw up…and this was after I had told him I didn’t want to continue with it and was holding him.
Do I think it’s important that Ethan develop a healthy sleep hygiene routine? Do I want my child to develop a healthy sense of independence? Of course!
I just don’t think CIO is the technique for me.
[While I don't feel I can use the CIO method, I hold no judgement to parents who do. We do what works. I'm not one for competitive parenting ;)]
Ethan and I have developed our own little routine. For now I still rock, sway and cuddle him to sleep if he needs it. I also give him the opportunity to try going off to sleep without my help. Sometimes he can, sometimes he needs his mummy. We’ve got our own little bedtime wind down time. At 4 pm he has some solids, then a bath (which can hype him a little), a quick tummy/arms/leg massage before I put on his jammies, then we hang out on our bed, read stories and cuddle. Lately, he will have a 1-2 minute grizzle in my arms before falling asleep. I held him as he cried so I could compose myself without having his distress escalate but after a minute or two he just smiled at me. If it had gone on for much longer I would have gone through the mental list of things that upset Ethan (wet nappy, hunger, too hot/cold etc)
He still wakes a few times through the night. Usually because Tim and I go to bed right when he’s in between deep sleep cycles and we accidentally wake him. All he needs is a gentle back rub and he will calm down and go back to sleep on his own.
We are in the middle of a fussy period, (Wonder Weeks if you are interested in the 10 fussy periods of babies and what they mean) so he needs more cuddles, and is getting a little frustrated at times because he can’t quite do things: crawling is his mission at the moment. So, there is more night time wakings and he was “fighting” sleep out of fear of missing out or something. I have him in our room in low light with two books and a blanket so there isn’t anything too interesting to trigger the urge to stay awake. Daddy is one of those triggers. Tim gets a massive reception each time he comes home or even re-enters a room. That’s why it’s Ethan and I doing the sleep stuff.
Anyway, Ethan is a good baby because he just is. And I am a good mummy because I am doing the best for my son and listening to my mother’s intuition with confidence (not saying those who don’t aren’t good parents…)
I have a happy, thriving, intuitive, and silly little boy and I wouldn’t change a thing…except maybe the hair pulling, that kinda sucks.