Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doing It All Wrong

My six-month-old son is currently napping in his swing. This will likely be the only nap he takes on his own all day. For all other naps today, he will either sleep while I hold him or on the Boppy on my lap as I work (and possibly in the car if we go somewhere).

At some point today, my child will watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” while  playing in his exersaucer so that I can finish up some work before it is time for a feeding. He might also watch whatever happens to be on Disney Jr. from his high chair after eating so I can do some cleaning in the kitchen and/or start dinner.

Tonight, I will nurse my son to sleep. More than once, if he wakes up and doesn’t go right back to sleep with just some comforting.

After we finish nursing for the night, my baby will spend at least a couple of hours sleeping on Daddy’s chest or on the boppy on the couch until I have finished up everything I need to do before going to bed.

On Saturday night, there is the very real possibility that we will all spend the entire night on the couch because we’ve fallen asleep and never made it to bed.

Did I mention that he still sleeps in the bassinet of his play yard right next to my bed when it would literally take maybe 10 steps to get from my bed to his crib?

He probably uses his pacifier more now than he did when he was even younger.

He may go to sleep at 8:00, it might be 9:00. He might get up at 5:00, it might be 6:00 – or later. I have no idea when his next nap will be. If he has one at all.

Like most moms, especially first time, new moms, I worry all the time about doing everything wrong. In the beginning, you tell yourself you are just doing what you have to survive – like when we let him sleep in the Rock and Play from about six weeks to over four months, just so he would stay asleep at night for longer than 10 minute stretches. But, as he gets older, the more I worry that I am doing things to permanently scar him, hurt his development, or just generally turn him into a co-dependent monster child.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other moms/babies/families. And everybody has an opinion or a suggestion or horror story or a success story.

And the internet. Oh, the internet with its message boards and search engines and advice.

You shouldn’t hold your baby all the time. Nursing to sleep creates bad habits. He needs to learn to fall asleep on his own and self soothe. It’s okay if he cries. Don’t let him cry, he’ll feel like you’ve abandoned him. Sleep train, sleep train, sleep train! He should be sleeping in his own room. He shouldn’t still need/want his pacifier. All babies should have a schedule; they like schedules, thrive on schedules. Television is horrible! Don’t use TV as a babysitter!

It’s enough to make to make you wish you had a do-over.

Except that I have a perfectly wonderful, thriving baby boy.

He has been sleeping through the night (mostly) since six weeks old. He’s always been a good napper. He made his own schedule while not needing to be tied to it. He really only needs his pacifier when he’s sleepy and so I don’t have to nurse him comfort. We interact and sing with his TV shows and he barely even looks at the TV.

And he’s the happiest baby. Everybody tells us that.

He’s so laid back. He plays and laughs. He “talks” constantly. He loves to give hugs and kisses. He’s never met a stranger.

So, I may be doing it all wrong, but if my kid is happy and healthy, all it right in my world.

Did you/do you ever feel like you’re doing it all wrong? What did you do that went against the “norms”?

Ashley Bearden is a full-time working Mommy to six-month-old son Will after two and a half years of trying to get pregnant.

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