I recently received an anonymous comment on my last post that I would like to address. First of all, I brought this on myself by inviting any tips or advice, so if I blame anyone, I blame myself. But I do feel that I need to respond to this comment.
I respect your opinion and thank you for your input. I have read all the attachment parenting literature, as I attended Bradley classes in preparation for my natural childbirth. I have also read countless other sources on parenting theories and ideologies. I respect women’s choice to co-sleep, breastfeed for as long as they feel is right for all involved, etc., etc. I also feel that this is not feasible or desirable for every family or every situation.
To respond to your claims regarding nutrition, my son is 6 months old and weighs 20 pounds. He is not lacking nutrition, and is not constantly hungry like a newborn anymore. In fact, he is much happier and throws up a lot less often if his meals are spaced out a bit.
In response to my baby being “all alone in a cold dark room” screaming, I’ll inform you that Milo sleeps in a crib right next to our bed, and has done so since he was born. I assure you that the temperature in our room is just right, and darkness is the “NATURAL” way that we sleep in our house at nighttime, as the sun has gone down.
As for our country having one of the highest infant mortality rates of other developed countries, I am aware. It is a shame and needs to change. I do not see the connection between infant mortality and crying at night, but perhaps I missed that study. What I do see is a country with a huge variation between the highest socioeconomic status and the lowest (unlike, say, Sweden). We are a developed nation that varies in this sense more than most other developed countries. Also, I see a nation that is able to intervene in premature births, save drug-addicted infants, and be a part of cases in which infants would not otherwise survive. What I am trying to say is there are many factors that could contribute to a comparatively high infant mortality rate, and I would be careful in trying to attribute sleeping in a crib instead of a bed with mom and dad to a substantial portion of those infants who die every year.
In response to “turning off [my] internal cues” regarding my baby, I am doing no such thing. I respond to my baby’s cries with empathy, by letting him know I am there, by touching him or using my voice. Oftentimes that is enough for him to go back to sleep. Other times, he will cry out once, and go right back to sleep on his own. Last night was a rough night, but even in all my venting, I feel that Milo is making progress.
One thing you failed to address in your comment was how I am sleeping. If you had, you would know the following: I do not sleep when my baby is in bed with me. He sleeps great! My husband and our dog sleep great too! But guess who takes care of Milo during the daytime hours? I do, and those days after a literally sleepless night worrying that one of us might roll over onto our baby, or awakening to every little tiny sound that he makes when he is asleep, I am not a good parent. I am exhausted, cranky, and nasty. I get migraines and argue with my husband. On no sleep, I am a less stimulating parent. I don’t feel like dancing around the house with Milo on my hip, singing to him and making him giggle. I don’t think I am as vigilant of a parent when I am that exhausted, either, which is just downright dangerous. For those parents who can sleep well with their babies in bed with them, kudos. I am not one of them, and I don’t think that makes me a bad parent.
I just put Milo down for a nap upstairs in his crib. He had been rubbing his eyes and looking pretty sleepy. I pulled a blanket up to his waist, tucked him in nice and tight, and gave him a kiss on his forehead. I then walked out of the room and came downstairs to write this post. Milo happily put himself to sleep in a couple of minutes (he babbled himself to sleep rather than crying, because we are teaching him that when he is in his crib, he is supposed to go to sleep, but we are nearby if he needs us). As a parent, I believe that as our babies get older, it is our responsibility to teach them many skills, including how to soothe themselves to sleep.
As for being thankful that my baby is healthy and happy, I am. And he may prove me wrong someday, but I have a pretty good feeling that my “backwards parenting” is helping Milo become the happy, smiley, social baby that he is. I believe in balance, not extremes, and I believe that each family should decide what is right for their family.